Monday, November 21, 2011

Henry Porter on Global Protest Movements: Shattering of Mythomaniac Religion Allied with Greed

At Common Dreams, Henry Porter offers an interesting take on the growing worldwide protests, which are, he thinks, uniting many younger citizens of the globe in shared aspiration for "freedom, self-determination, fairness, justice, access to education and jobs as well as [in critiquing] the corruption, mismanagement and greed of their elders."  At the heart of the global protest movement is, he maintains, a rejection of "mythomaniac religion" allied with greed, which has such fatal attraction for right-wing movements:

Reason has not won the battle against mythomaniac religions and greedy interests, particularly with the right of American politics, which embraces both these menaces as an article of national pride. Yet something deep and impressive is going on in the new generation, who have come of age. it seems. with an almost innate understanding of justice and fairness, and are – significantly – managing their religious convictions in the context of wanting improved societies.

Indignados Protesting in Madrid, May 2011
The worldwide demonstrations manifest a hunger for spirituality allied to the aspiration for a more humane world, along with a rejection of the mythomaniac religion allied with greed that dominates the thinking of elites of power and death, and which they use to try to manipulate the people "beneath" them.  I'm intrigued by Porter's analysis, since he thinks a shift may be underway worldwide towards a retrieval of the roots of religious traditions which, authentically understood, point to human rights, justice, and the shared struggle to build a better world for everyone.

If Porter is right, we may be moving, haltingly and painfully, toward one of those periods of global history in which there is religious and social revival that shatters the mythomaniac paradigms used by the greedy to force religious traditions and their adherents to misapply their traditions to serve the needs of the greedy.  Contrary to what the Vatican and the bishops of the Catholic church keep wanting to argue--that many societies are abandoning religion for godless secularism--what may be happening today is an abandonment of a worn-out, very confining shell of a belief system that doesn't in any adequate sense at all represent what is at the heart of Christian faith.

We may, in short, see a new sense of spirituality birthing now in the Occupy movement.

The top and bottom graphic are posters carried by protesters in the movement of the Indignados in Spain this spring, from Peter Feldman's Peter's Views blog.  On the connections between the American Occupy movement and the Spanish movement, see Luis Moreno-Cabbalud and Marina Sitrin, "Your Camp Is the World."

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