Bernie Sanders’ spirituality is resonating with young religious ‘None’s

US Politics
on 103 Comments

Last night, Bernie Sanders was asked about his religious practice, and he told a town hall in Derry, N.H., that he is a very religious person.

Everybody practices religion in a different way. To me I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings. I believe as a human being that the pain one person feels– if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs– you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me, and I worry very much about a society where  some people spiritually say, It doesnt matter to me, I got it, I don’t care about other people.  So my spirituality is that we are all in this together. And that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, that impacts me. That’s my very strong spiritual feeling.

It was a sincere humanist answer that got big applause. Sanders did not reference organized religion: not his own Jewish background, or his respect for Pope Francis, which surely stems in part from his wife Jane’s Catholic faith. By contrast, Hillary Clinton later spoke of a minister and rabbis from whom she draws inspiration.

Sanders’s unaffiliated-but-spiritual answer also reflects a key part of his appeal. He is winning young people by an overwhelming margin (84 percent of those under 30). And young people are the ones driving the fastest-growing religious group in America: religious “nones.” People who may well be religious but don’t go in for traditional religious organizations. Last year the Pew Research Center came out with the stunning news that while mainline religious identification was dropping, people who said they were Unaffiliated– religious “nones”– made up nearly a quarter of the population, up from one in six in 2007.

And the trend was most pronounced among the young:

Fully 36% of young Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33).

Last week Pew came out with another study saying that Religious Nones are playing a surprising role in the election campaign. They are helping to drive the Trump phenomenon, inasmuch as Republicans don’t see his lack of religion as a bar, and they are also helping out Bernie Sanders. Look at this:

Pew survey of support by religious unaffiliated for Bernie Sanders

Pew survey of support by religious unaffiliated for Bernie Sanders

The fact that Sanders is Jewish wouldn’t be a hindrance, according to that survey. This question shows that 10 percent of people would be less likely to vote for a candidate who is Jewish; far more would be concerned about an evangelical Christian candidate (20 percent) or a Muslim (42 percent).

Pew on objections to a Jewish president

Pew on objections to a Jewish president

Other survey results suggest that religious None’s have more and more influence on American political life. If you look at that chart above, religious None’s are not nearly as concerned about a Muslim candidate as American Christians are. And the number of Americans who would object to an atheist being president is crashing.

My point is simple: Bernie Sanders is winning adherents among the young because he shares their religious values. He doesn’t talk about priests and rabbis. He talks about spiritual moral questions in a language that anybody can understand. Just because they’re religiously unaffiliated doesn’t mean that the None’s aren’t spiritual. A lot of us are like Sanders himself, trying to find moral guides to navigate a complex and unfair American landscape.

Sander is also intermarried; and Pew says that the young are intermarrying like crazy:

Religious intermarriage also appears to be on the rise: Among Americans who have gotten married since 2010, nearly four-in-ten (39%) report that they are in religiously mixed marriages, compared with 19% among those who got married before 1960.

There are two lessons to me from this data.

One is parochial and Jewish. The most plausible Jewish presidential candidate in history — according to Chris Hayes, the first Jew to win delegates to a national convention — is an assimilated Jew who speaks in universalist terms. (I pray to the great spirit that Sanders gets rid of his vestigial Zionism, but in the meantime he is a rebuke to the Jewish community’s effort to stop intermarriage and assimilation by raising the walls on their community.)

The second lesson is that the mainstream media should stop trashing Sanders as an oddball and just watch the deep connection he is making with a little more respect. Chris Matthews keeps putting Sanders down as a 60s relic who’s pie-in-the-sky (as opposed to a disciplined principled man). A young writer (impersonating an old person) in the New Yorker the other day said he’s intemperate and nutty.

A fist-shaker and haranguer who makes the “Yakety Yak” dad look chill, the nutty great-uncle at the Seder table who insists on debating the morality of the Ten Plagues while everyone else is dying to just eat already.

This is just a smear, a portrayal of Sanders as a “nudnik,” Yiddish for a tedious pest. The man we saw on the stage in Derry last night is a solemn and serious person who is politically astute: he knows how to listen to ordinary people. Young people see their values reflected by him for good reason. And many are making a spiritual connection to him.

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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103 Responses

  1. hophmi
    February 4, 2016, 12:46 pm

    “in the meantime he is a rebuke to the Jewish community’s effort to stop intermarriage and assimilation by raising the walls on their community”

    What walls are you talking about? Intermarried couples are welcomed in most shuls these days. There are quite a number of Jewish organizations dedicated to bringing intermarried couples closer to the faith.

    Can you just for one second acknowledge that assimilation is a completely different issue for a faith community of a few million people than it is for a faith community of a billion people? I don’t understand why you have so much trouble simply acknowledging that point.

    • joemowrey
      February 4, 2016, 3:45 pm

      So ethno-religious discrimination in the interest of maintaining purity within a particular ethnic community is okay for small communities but not for large communities. In other words, a little bit of racism and ethnic exceptionalism is acceptable. Especially if it’s a group you happen to be a member of.

      Interesting standard. How large does the community need to be before we decry such practices. Was the Arian race too large? The Nazis didn’t seem to think so.

      • genesto
        February 5, 2016, 12:13 pm

        Perfect answer! This reminds me of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s recent remark that intermarriage is a problem for the Jewish people. Well hear this, Debbie et al, I’m an Arab American who is married to a Jewish American woman. We’ve been together for 16 years now. This is her third marriage (first 2 were to Jewish men) and my second (my first was to a Thai woman) and I would say that our relationship is excellent, and far better than our previous ones.

        It’s well past time to put aside all of our arbitrary, tribal differences and, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, judge people, “not for the color of their skin but for the content of their character”.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        February 5, 2016, 12:46 pm

        1,000.

    • RoHa
      February 4, 2016, 5:36 pm

      “I don’t understand why you have so much trouble simply acknowledging that point. ”

      I actually can see that point. The point I can’t see is the point of trying to maintain a faith community if a large portion of that community is content for it to fade away.

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2016, 2:56 pm

        “The point I can’t see is the point of trying to maintain a faith community if a large portion of that community is content for it to fade away.”

        Yes, and in spite of the fact that denominations like Reform have removed a lot of the dietary restrictions, myriad other religious and ritual obligations, and rendered almost all (except a pleasurable amount, everybody likes some chargle-bagle) the service into English. And no gender-segregation. (Nod-nod, wink-wink)
        So it’s not the difficulty and obscurantism which is driving people away.

    • Emory Riddle
      February 5, 2016, 11:07 am

      “Can you just for one second acknowledge that assimilation is a completely different issue for a faith community of a few million people than it is for a faith community of a billion people? –

      Can you explain why you think this is the case? And why assimilation is, in your view, a bad thing?

      Thanks

    • Mooser
      February 6, 2016, 3:23 pm

      “Can you just for one second acknowledge that assimilation…”

      As usual, you are deliberately conflating “assimilation” with “acculturation”, “Hophmi”.

      We are all “assimilated”. All Jews born in America are American citizens. There is no “assimilation” process. which affects religious Jews differently than anybody else. There is no compromise they must make to be “assimilated” as Americans. That’s a very dishonest thing to say, and insulting, too. For a long time “assimilation” with full legal rights and opportunities was very difficult if not impossible for Jews in Europe. And religious compromises were often demanded.

      And if you want to claim, at this point, that there is any “acculturation” Jews need to do, or haven’t done, in the US, c’mon, don’t make me laugh. Yes, some Jews like certain customs and ways of dress? There’s all kinds of people like that in the US. It’s their right.

  2. Philip Weiss
    February 4, 2016, 1:44 pm

    Of course I acknowledge that. PS My wife doesnt care if Protestantism comes to an end, assuming better norms emerge. Why shouldnt all communities adopt such a view?

    • jon s
      February 4, 2016, 2:02 pm

      Bernie Sanders as a Rabbi:

      • YoniFalic
        February 4, 2016, 2:37 pm

        Best wedding drashah that I have ever heard.

    • YoniFalic
      February 4, 2016, 2:52 pm

      I believe Bernie Sanders expresses the ideals of the Ethical Movement founded by Felix Adler even if Sanders is not conscious of this connection.

      I could argue that the overwhelming secularism of the vast majority of “Jews” today is for the most part an implicit acknowledgement that traditional Judaism should end because better norms have emerged.

      Unfortunately far too many ethnic E. Europeans, whose ancestors practiced Judaism, cling to a fake secular/ethnic Jewish identity that does nothing but evil in the world today.

      As far as I can tell, most “Jews” just want to assume that the historical non-Jewish critique of Judaism and Jewish behavior resulted from unreasoning gentile hatred of Jews or Judaism.

      After spending 4 years as a history major and looking in detail at the history of Jewish-non-Jewish interaction in Europe, I have concluded that the non-Jewish critique was probably 90% correct (and that Netanyahu is living proof of the correctness of that critique).

      I don’t understand why anyone secular clings to bogus “Jewish” identity. It is time to get over it and move on.

      • Shmuel
        February 4, 2016, 3:47 pm

        I don’t understand why anyone secular clings to bogus “Jewish” identity.

        Different strokes.

        It is time to get over it and move on.

        Sounds like good advice.

      • Mooser
        February 5, 2016, 2:26 pm

        “I don’t understand why anyone secular clings to bogus “Jewish” identity.”

        Maybe it doesn’t seem so bad outside of Israel and Zionists?

        Besides, my secular bogus “Jewish” identity is like a suit of the finest new clothes. Fit for an Emperor! You wouldn’t want me to appear in public naked, would you?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 5, 2016, 3:01 pm

        I don’t understand why yoni cares if someone identifies as Jewish. all these obsessions over jewish identities seem stupid. people should be able to identify however they are comfortable unless they are lying. “jewish”, not being a political statement, is not anybody else’s business. it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t necessarily celebrate when people change their self identities because it’s a good thing when people recognize their own transformations in life by new self identities. but it’s not something we should nag or guilt trip people to doing.

      • Mooser
        February 5, 2016, 3:12 pm

        “I don’t understand why yoni cares if someone identifies as Jewish.”

        I figure Yoni knows a lot more about it than I do, and has strong reasons for thinking it necessary. I’ve never been involved with Zionism, nor grown up in Israel. I think my, or our Jewish identity is whatever we make it, but that may be no more than a pleasant delusion.

      • echinococcus
        February 6, 2016, 1:40 am

        I don’t understand why yoni cares if someone identifies as Jewish

        Maybe because for a non-religious person it is at the very least a political statement supporting the fake nationalism that merges many communities with nothing in common, outside nominal religion in the past of some ancestors, into a non-existing unit. No difference in principle from being, say, Lenin, and identifying oneself primarily as Orthodox Christian. Or a non-religious Bostonian with some Irish in the family declaring that heshe belongs to the Roman Catholic ethnicity, just invented “pour les besoins de la cause”.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 6, 2016, 12:00 pm

        it sounds to me like you are describing zionists echin

      • echinococcus
        February 6, 2016, 1:40 pm

        Annie, you hit the head on the nail, or vice-versa.
        You are right: people without religion who use the designation “Jewish” instead of any real ethnic characterization (or absence of ethnic marker) are making a political statement, consciously or unconsciously, that is the same as that of the Zionists. Of course Zionists predictably make up the majority of people who practice that.

        Using the “Jewish” marker with populations surrounding communities of ethnically homogeneous historically “Jewish” people, as in say Middle West towns where the only Jewish are ex-Yiddish speakers is no problem, as that is the only kind of Jewish anyone there would know. But that’s just informal, careless, “street” usage.

        The precision by Yoni Falic was necessary. He does characterize himself as being of Yiddish-speaking East European descent, by way of Palestine, just as I am from French parents of Spanish-speaking Middle Eastern descent. We both keep our distinctive languages and knowledge of the culture, but none of us practices the Jewish religion and there is absolutely no need to call ourselves Jewish –in fact I would be offended.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 6, 2016, 2:23 pm

        You are right: people without religion who use the designation “Jewish” instead of any real ethnic characterization (or absence of ethnic marker) are making a political statement

        correction/wrong, you mean i am right by assessing you are claiming people without religion who use the designation “Jewish” instead of ethnic characterization or absence of ethnic marker (as if jewish is not an ethnic marker in itself) are making a political statement. because i certainly do not agree.

        there is absolutely no need to call ourselves Jewish

        maybe not by you, but you are not in a position to speak to the “needs” of anyone else in terms of how they want to identify themselves. i could just as easily claim no one needs to identify themselves period. what you think regarding your identification only tells us about you and people who agree w/you.

        if someone — say gideon levy — says “i’m jewish” you can claim that’s a political statement but it doesn’t make it one to the listener or possibly even to himself. ethnic identity and political identity are not synonymous. anyway, i have no more to say about this although it is glaringly obvious obsession to a lot of people into denigrating the identity of ‘jewish’ to conflate it w/zionist.

        ciao

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2016, 2:44 pm

        Being Jewish seems to weigh very heavily on Israelis. I’m glad it is not that much of a burden for me.
        But I see their point, there can be a silent implicit consent to a lot of things in the word.
        Could it be, has it come to this, that by simply identifying with the word “Jewish” I am hurting the Palestinians or signalling consent to the Zionist process? And in terms of the real world, not much else.

        Is it worth that?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 6, 2016, 3:33 pm

        Could it be, has it come to this, that by simply identifying with the word “Jewish” I am hurting the Palestinians or signalling consent to the Zionist process?

        that is a question you can only answer for yourself. but to claim every other person who says they are jewish is signaling their consent to hurt palestinians — i don’t think you can speak for them. ie: ‘she says she’s jewish, she is signaling her consent to hurt palestinians even tho she advocates bds.’ really? words and actions do not matter for jews? they must renounce their ethnicity because what others have done in their name? i think it’s fine if someone no longer identifies a jewish because of whatever reason they choose. because of israel, because of religion because of anything. but to place your standards on every other person who shares that identity i don’t agree with. just because everyone else does it. what’s next? calling people out who do not do it? renounce your jewishness or else you’re a racist and an ethnic cleanser?

      • RoHa
        February 6, 2016, 4:02 pm

        “i could just as easily claim no one needs to identify themselves period.”

        Does anyone need to “identify” themselves?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 6, 2016, 4:46 pm

        you’d have to ask them. different strokes for different folks.

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2016, 4:14 pm

        “that is a question you can only answer for yourself.”

        If I had enough information, and could make a judgement. I haven’t lived in Israel. Perhaps if I had, I might feel much more strongly about it.
        Because there, you see, being Jewish and what it means and how I effect it and relate to the world with it wouldn’t really be under my control, would it?
        Like it is here. As soon as I said “Jewish” (“Horowitz”) in Israel I would immediately enter a web of completely different circumstances from those given another answer.

      • RoHa
        February 6, 2016, 7:33 pm

        “you’d have to ask them. different strokes for different folks.”

        So you can’t suggest any reason why a person would need to “identify”, as distinct from want to “identify” or believe they had some obligation to “identify”?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 6, 2016, 11:49 pm

        of course i can friggin suggest why someone would need to identify themselves.

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2016, 8:17 pm

        “Does anyone need to “identify” themselves?”

        Truly, “RoHa” which is more of a problem: the way we identify ourselves, or the way other people identify you. One of those, at least, you may have some control over, the other, very little in many cases.

        The problem with identity is hardly ever self-identity. Just having the power to identify yourself puts you a leg up. How others identify you? That can be more problematic.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 7, 2016, 1:05 am

        exactly mooser. and the thing is, if we are hnest with ourselves. most people do have self identities whether we think about it or wish to or not. for example, how often do i consciously self identify as a female. frankly, i hardly think about it. but if someone else identified me as a man, i would certainly notice. in fact, i am VERY attached to my self identity as a woman. i have always been extremely — woman. sure, i definitely have, what some people think of as masculine attributes, but i have never thought of myself as a man or wanted to be one. now ask a transgender person, say caitlyn jenner, if she needs to identify as a woman. i’d imagine she does since she went to so much trouble to do it. but i can’t speak for her. people are actually very attached to their self identities whether they are aware of it or not. and most of the time one really can’t help it. they just are what they are. but take it away from them, and then you’ll see their need for it.

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2016, 8:41 pm

        “renounce your jewishness or else you’re a racist and an ethnic cleanser?”

        If being identified as Jewish means the assumption that I am some kind of Zionist, yes. (and that happens almost every time at my age) And the nicer and more liberal I am, the more points for Zionism!
        And under what circumstances would it be appropriate to disabuse the person of that notion, and let them know just how I feel about Zionism? Very few, under most ordinary circumstances it would be an inappropriate display.

        And there you go. Why help Zionism, even inadvertently?

      • echinococcus
        February 7, 2016, 3:08 am

        Annie

        (as if jewish is not an ethnic marker in itself)

        It certainly is not and that is the whole point!

      • echinococcus
        February 7, 2016, 3:13 am

        rugalb,

        You never miss an opportunity to fail to understand anything (or pretend to.) The master race citizens of the Zionist entity are obligatorily classified as Jewish for the needs of their Apartheid. Whatever I wrote of course only applies to people who are not residents of the Zionist entity.

      • Mooser
        February 7, 2016, 1:00 pm

        (as if jewish is not an ethnic marker in itself)

        “It certainly is not and that is the whole point!”

        So the only thing I can accomplish by being identified as “Jewish” is to provide implicit support for the Zionist project? What else is left?

        This is especially bad when I consider the fact that I (short of some ridiculous imposture, and adopting wholesale a pretentious Anglophile orthography, of course) have very little control over how people choose to identify me!

        (And gosh, what about those people who have no control over how they are identified? Why do I have a right to manipulate multiple identities, and demand others honor them, when other people aren’t allowed out of their own skin?)

        What should I do? It’s complicated.

      • echinococcus
        February 7, 2016, 3:31 pm

        Mooser,

        Why should different rules apply to the interested and to the external identifier?

        Religious identification, as a consensus on the use of the word, only applies to the religious –in person, not the ancestry. A Catholic who converts to Russian Orthodox is no longer Catholic. An atheist whose both parents are Protestant is not Protestant.

        Ethnicity identification supposes, as a consensus regarding its meaning, at least (a) common language(s), culture, area of origin –for the life of me I cannot recall a single case where all of that is lacking, replaced by only the religion of forefathers.

        There is absolutely no common language / cultural element / geography among the different ethnicities of people of historically religious Jewish ancestry.

        In (careless) street English, no problem: Jewish in New York means (ex) Yiddish-speaking Eastern European origin. Fine.

        That is not what it means to other people in other places, though. So tell me what to think about your presumable tribal and political conception if I am a guy in Timbuktu or Tierra de Fuego; even though unaware of the NY situation, I know that the only common geography, language and culture that can be claimed as common-Jewish is that of the Zionist invasion, none other, and you present yourself as “Jewish but not religious”. There is like a problem there.

      • RoHa
        February 7, 2016, 3:47 pm

        No, I’m still not clear about this. I can see that one might need to “identify” in order to gain access to (e.g.) retricted tribal grounds, or some similar benefit, but aside from such cases I fond it difficult to imagine an objective need to hang some sort of “identity” label on oneself.

        Taking a cue from Mooser, it might be reasonable to take such a label as a defence against having some other label imposed.

    • Elisabeth
      February 5, 2016, 3:45 am

      I am not sure about the better norms. Friends who had a calvinist upbring just like me when we were little, are now into astrology. Now, astrology isn’t good or bad, it is just nonsense, so maybe this is not a good example of ‘norms’ but still.
      I’d rather believe in a god who thinks it is a good idea to appear in a burning bush, than in clouds of hot gas and rock that supposedly influence my fate.

    • rugal_b
      February 7, 2016, 1:29 am

      Israel’s White Supremacy Agenda Targets Other Jews, Arabs, Africans – http://www.mintpressnews.com/israels-white-supremacy-agenda-targets-jews-arabs-africans/199858/

      Israel and White Supremacy – http://www.counterpunch.org/2002/10/15/israel-and-white-supremacy/

      White supremacy and Zionism converge in deleted Times of Israel post on Ferguson – https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/white-supremacy-and-zionism-converge-deleted-times-israel-post-ferguson

      SETTLER COLONIALISM, WHITE SUPREMACY, AND THE “SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP” BETWEEN THE U.S. AND ISRAEL – https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/settler-colonialism-white-supremacy-and-the-special-relationship-between-the-u-s-and-israel/

    • rugal_b
      February 7, 2016, 11:36 am

      Echinoncus

      – “You never miss an opportunity to fail to understand anything (or pretend to.) The master race citizens of the Zionist entity are obligatorily classified as Jewish for the needs of their Apartheid. Whatever I wrote of course only applies to people who are not residents of the Zionist entity.” –

      What are you talking about idiot, I said exactly what you are saying now. In addition, I also brought up the various similarities between the supremacist Jewish identity within the context of Zionism and Israel, with the white identity within the context of global white supremacy and the establishment of the American nation.

      Just as the Apartheid need willing populace that identifies with its defined identity of Jews, the American white supremacist regime also needs its populace to identify with its own version of Jews, which is called white in America. Now, these definition of “Jews” and “white” are often arbitrary and rarely based on rational or scientific definition, but at the end of the day, people are asked to claim them regardless as part of social contract with the ruling powers.

      This is why, the most effective way to fight the apartheid or the white supremacist regime, is to actively dishonor the terms in its social contract, reject its definition of Jews or White, and actively propose your own definition as the actual legitimate one, therefore delegitimizing the state definition of the respective identities.

      This is what the folks at Jewish Voice for Peace, True Torah Jews, and millions of progressive left-wing Jews in Israel and the Diaspora are currently hard at work doing. This is what I strongly believe will actually bring the Zionist state, not Iran, not Hamas, not the American termination of aid or another external factors.

      As for the white supremacist state of America, unfortunately we are far behind the level of social and political consciousness that exists in Israel, and are just starting to collectively question who we are and where do we belong in our extremely globalized world. Many claim, almost as a reflex action, that they are white, without knowing what it means to them or the implication of their identity on the larger global society. We haven’t gone through the process of having our the core of our identities challenged, like the Jews have ever since the IP conflict entered the political and social consciousness of the global community.

      What I find to be rather funny is, how we in America, not Israel, are so used to the question, who is a Jew? In a country where Jews make up at the most 2% of the populace. We never hear, at least within the mainstream thoughts, who is a white person. Which is sad, and shows how behind we are in achieving the social and political consciousness required to bring down the white supremacist state and build a more equal and just nation for all.

      References:

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/jan/13/marlon-james-are-you-racist-video

      https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/settler-colonialism-white-supremacy-and-the-special-relationship-between-the-u-s-and-israel/

      • Mooser
        February 7, 2016, 8:08 pm

        “As for the white supremacist state of America, unfortunately we are far behind the level of social and political consciousness that exists in Israel, and are just starting to collectively question who we are and where do we belong in our extremely globalized world.”

        Yup, “rugal b” that’s what the US needs, a political consciousness just like Israels!

        “We haven’t gone through the process of having our the core of our identities challenged, like the Jews have ever since the IP conflict…”

        Yeah, really opened us up, didn’t it, got us to look outside themselves, didn’t it. Now, how do you plan to make the Zionists listen to us?

        “What I find to be rather…/… and just nation for all.”

        Can this guy spin uselessly, or what?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 8, 2016, 2:16 am

        Can this guy spin uselessly, or what?

        bout flipped when i first read america was “far behind the level of social and political consciousness that exists in Israel”

        heeeelllloooo, lol.

      • Mooser
        February 7, 2016, 8:13 pm

        therefore delegitimizing the state definition of the respective identities

        I’m sorry, I seem to have missed those, “rugal b”. Just in the US, for instance what are the “state definition of the respective identities?

        Are they on the web anywhere, maybe at some “.gov” site? The State or Federal government usually posts that kind of stuff.

  3. kalithea
    February 4, 2016, 2:21 pm

    I believe as a human being that the pain one person feels– if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs– you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me, and I worry very much about a society where some people spiritually say, It doesnt matter to me, I got it, I don’t care about other people.

    I wrote a comment after the town hall yesterday where I summarized his statement on empathic spirituality and it’s good you brought it up although I question the context. Is there some a hidden meaning here that I’m just not getting?

    Spirituality is everything to me and really I don’t care if it comes from a Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Evangelical or None of these. What matters is that if someone is going to preach to me their spirituality, then they had better demonstrate integrity when they do so. If their spirituality is flawed by tribal entitlement, even by tribal fear, then whether they’re None or whatever denomination they are I’m going to expose them for what they’re not: someone whose empathy extends to the suffering of all humanity.

    So it matters little to who Bernie Sanders resonates with if the message he’s delivering is not authentic, if his empathy is inclusive with some and excludes a group that are being persecuted by the tribe he associates himself with whether in his mind it’s Zionist or Jewish. But maybe he prefers to deny that this is an obstacle to the spirituality he professed yesterday; empathic spirituality for political interest. Whatever his reasoning: it’s spineless, extremely flawed, hypocritical and not worthy of admiration. He deserves no pass.

    And because we’re here on a site where everyday we’re exposed to the unbelievable hardship and suffering that Palestinians are experiencing in perpetuity, I would have liked, hoped that you would somehow demonstrate in your opinion how this man whom you obviously admire by your comments here would advance the cause that is near and dear to your heart: justice for Palestinians. I would have like to see you incorporate this important point: empathic spirituality that Sanders brought up yesterday into the cause here. But how could you? And really it’s this nagging uestion that lingers after reading this piece.

    Because if he is in fact in denial of what Zionists, and he is definitely a Zionist, are doing to Palestinians, then I really don’t get why it’s important to make a fuss over him and how he resonates spiritually. He is part of the problem not the solution, and I wonder if this is not pandering to what’s wrong with him instead of challenging him to make that wrong, right, just as he’s been challenging Hillary to do likewise: right the wrong in her progressiveness challenging her to reject special interest funding.

    And he’s challenging her now; he’s not waiting and hoping that maybe she’ll change because he knows that if he doesn’t do so at this time; she’ll go on to win and nothing will change. Therefore why should we wait and give him a pass knowing that he has this gaping flaw that will only contribute to the status quo prolonging the injustice inflicted on Palestinians? Why can’t we demand of him what he’s demanding of Hillary at this time, by exposing this flaw as he exposed hers with the intent of promoting change to benefit all by challenging and promoting integrity and honesty?

    • RoHa
      February 4, 2016, 5:38 pm

      What does “spirituality” mean?

      • Keith
        February 4, 2016, 7:49 pm

        ROHA- “What does “spirituality” mean?”

        It refers to the inner state of bliss that can only be achieved through correct punctuation.

      • gamal
        February 4, 2016, 8:22 pm

        “What does “spirituality” mean?”

        its like religion but you don’t inhale

      • tree
        February 5, 2016, 5:17 am

        its like religion but you don’t inhale

        Funniest, and best, definition of spirituality I’ve ever encountered!

      • Sibiriak
        February 5, 2016, 5:37 am

        And in many cases, religion is like spirituality but you don’t inhale.

        Religion without spirituality is dead. At its best, religion is organized spirituality. But everything organized becomes corrupt; it must be renewed again and again by spirit.

      • RoHa
        February 5, 2016, 6:16 am

        Thanks. I like Keith’s definition best, but gamal’s will probably appeal to a wider audience.

        “Spirituality” is one of those buzzwords which has become popular recently, but which I find too imprecise to be really meaningful. (“Relate” and some uses of “wonder” are others.)

        I shall think of those two definitions when I encounter the word in future.

      • gamal
        February 5, 2016, 6:29 am

        “inner state of bliss”

        yes but which is sadly approached by a the steep path, here is an indispensable ‘spiritual text’

        do not be depressed by its quotidian concerns, to a dupe like me this is the arena of ‘religion’,

        http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/dodrupchen-III/transforming-suffering-and-happiness

      • RoHa
        February 5, 2016, 10:46 am

        Thanks for that link, Gamal.

        Since I am, intellectually, pretty much a Buddhist myself (though mostly ignoring the five precepts) and have lectured in Buddhist philosophy, I am quite used to the talk of suffering, etc., that permeates so much Buddhist discourse, and contrast so markedly with the general cheerfulness of Buddhist monks.

        Interesting how similar it is to Stoic methods of separating the good/bad judgement from the sensation or emotion.

        Of course, this is my favourite page on that site.

        http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/yangchen-drubpe-dorje/magical-wish-fulfilling-tree

      • gamal
        February 5, 2016, 11:18 am

        “this is my favourite page on that site.” ha! of course

        I had not seen that work before, of course there is a home for you in Buddhism, who doesn’t love precision. I had a fanatically precise preceptor, everything, inbloodycluding grammar, tone, handwriting, dress, hair, personal comportment, that page reminds me I love him to this day even though I am more from the Drukpa Kunley wing I am still compliant when addressed sharply.

      • gamal
        February 5, 2016, 11:37 am

        “have lectured in Buddhist philosophy”

        craving the Moderators indulgence Roha any brief opinion on Nishida and Nishitani, the Kyoto School lads.

      • RoHa
        February 5, 2016, 12:12 pm

        Too much Heidegger.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        February 5, 2016, 12:54 pm

        Spirituality means not being religious without having to call yourself an atheist.

      • Mooser
        February 5, 2016, 12:59 pm

        “Of course, this is my favourite page on that site.”

        Maybe I should turn Bhuddish. The only ones who get their wishes fulfilled by trees around here are the tent caterpillars and illegal loggers.
        I, of course, talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me. I talk to the breeze, but the breeze never hears me. (Wow, that’s a stupid song)

      • gamal
        February 5, 2016, 1:54 pm

        “Too much Heidegger”

        thank you very helpful.

      • Mooser
        February 5, 2016, 2:47 pm

        ” I am still compliant when addressed sharply.”

        Naturally, “Gamal”. I, for one, can’t picture you as other than unfailingly gracious and cutting-edge sartorially.

      • Keith
        February 5, 2016, 8:28 pm

        ROHA- “Spirituality” is one of those buzzwords which has become popular recently, but which I find too imprecise to be really meaningful. (“Relate” and some uses of “wonder” are others.)”

        Spirituality is a concept that has been around for a long time, hardly a buzzword. In general, it refers to the unique-to-human (chimps, too?) sense of self and of consciousness, and how that relates to a person’s relationship to the broader cosmos. It is intuitive and speculative, and exists outside the bounds of a mechanistic relation to a material world. As such, definitions will never be precise in the engineering sense, nor should they be. The words wonder and awe frequently occur because that is what most feel when contemplating human conscious awareness and the ability to perceive beauty. It is that quality which elevates humans from being merely a biological unit. It also has little to do with organized religion which all too frequently replaces spirituality with ritual. I am a little surprised that Buddhist philosophy which you mention lacks the concept of spirituality.

        From the web, an additional definition: “Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all.” http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/enhance-your-wellbeing/purpose/spirituality/what-spirituality

      • echinococcus
        February 6, 2016, 1:05 am

        It is intuitive and speculative, and exists outside the bounds of a mechanistic relation to a material world

        So it’s not religion?

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2016, 3:30 pm

        There’s a great big mystery
        and it sure is troubling me.
        This “spirituality”. That “spirituality”!
        I wish somebody could tell me,
        “What does “spirituality” mean?”

      • RoHa
        February 6, 2016, 3:34 pm

        “Spirituality is a concept that has been around for a long time, hardly a buzzword.”

        The word has only recently* come into frequent popular usage. I wanted to know what concept it referred to.

        “In general, it refers to the unique-to-human (chimps, too?) sense of self and of consciousness,”

        Why do you think it is so limited?

        “The words wonder and awe frequently occur because that is what most feel when contemplating human conscious awareness and the ability to perceive beauty.”

        I don’t know what “wonder” means in that context.

        “I am a little surprised that Buddhist philosophy which you mention lacks the concept of spirituality.”

        I never said it did. In general, though, Buddhist philosophy uses very precise concepts.

        Now, back to enlightenment through punctuation.

        “Take special care not to do such things as writing a tsheg
        Between a final letter and a shad, unless the letter is a nga.”

        (*In the last twenty years.)

      • Keith
        February 6, 2016, 6:13 pm

        ECHINOCOCCUS- “So it’s not religion?”

        No. Generally speaking, a religion is an ideology with a godhead. A religion may or may not posses spirituality, however, spirituality is generally an individual phenomenon based upon the consciousness of the individual self and of the connectedness of the self to others and to nature. Religion usually entails standardized group beliefs and rituals dealing with metaphysical myths.

      • Keith
        February 6, 2016, 6:15 pm

        ROHA- “I wanted to know what concept it referred to.”

        Having given my definition along with another definition, what can I say? If you lack an awareness of self and a sense of the connectedness with others and with nature, than perhaps you lack any sense of spirituality. Have you never experienced a sense of wonder?

        ROHA- “Why do you think it is so limited?”

        From all I have read, spirituality is limited to a well developed sense of self which, in turn, requires a more advanced intellectual capability. A close analog would be language which, in the fuller sense of the term, is most definitely limited to humans, limited communication among other animals notwithstanding. I might add that an awareness of our own mortality also appears to be limited to humans. Chimps may be borderline, however, show me even one Chimp who can punctuate worth a crap.

        ROHA- “I don’t know what “wonder” means in that context.”

        Never felt a sense of wonder that you are you and can read and write and understand intellectual concepts and experience love and joy and plan ahead and remember good times? Sorry, I can’t help.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 7, 2016, 1:32 am

        this eerily reminds me of RoHa trying to explain love to rugal, who claimed it was a hollywood invention. lol. like seriously, it’s really so real unless you’ve like never experienced it!

      • Mooser
        February 7, 2016, 10:56 am

        “really so real unless you’ve like never experienced it!”

        I don’t know. I must confess, love always seemed the most real to me when I didn’t have it.
        When I’m drowning in the stuff, I tend to take it for granted.

      • echinococcus
        February 7, 2016, 1:07 pm

        Keith,

        I don’t want to insist. If you say so. To my uneducated ears, it sounds like non-major-church religion. Lots of such shopfront churches for things like that in the States, or Turkic shamanism, African animism, etc. Or even individual religion.
        Speaking of godheads and/or spirit, it’s not mutually exclusive, so much so that the Holy Spirit is one of the three godheads.
        Thanks, I’ll stop asking this kind of questions.

      • RoHa
        February 7, 2016, 4:50 pm

        “Having given my definition along with another definition, what can I say?”

        You don’t need to say anything more about spirituality. I wanted to know what the term meant. I now have a pretty good idea of the sort of thing it refers too. I think you might be confusing ignorance of the meaning of a term (that is, what it refers to) with lack of experience of the thing referred to.

        ” Have you never experienced a sense of wonder?”

        I might have, but since I don’t know what the term “sense of wonder” means, I can’t say for certain.

        “From all I have read, spirituality is limited to a well developed sense of self which, in turn, requires a more advanced intellectual capability. ”

        We do not know what the mental Iives of other animals are like, but only what we can guess about them. (Yes, psychologists try to make better guesses, but their guesses are still hardly reliable.) For that reason, I prefer to leave it an open question.

        “show me even one Chimp who can punctuate worth a crap.”

        A weakness shared with many denizens of the Internet, but punctuation is not the only path to enlightenment.

  4. kalithea
    February 4, 2016, 2:33 pm

    My edited version here was zapped away when I pressed Post; could you please post this version instead.

    I believe as a human being that the pain one person feels– if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs– you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me, and I worry very much about a society where some people spiritually say, It doesnt matter to me, I got it, I don’t care about other people.

    I wrote a comment after the town hall yesterday where I summarized his statement on empathic spirituality and it’s good you brought it up although I question the context. Is there some hidden meaning here that I’m just not getting?

    Spirituality is everything to me and really I don’t care if it comes from a Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, Evangelical or None of these. What matters is that if someone is going to preach to me their spirituality, then they had better demonstrate integrity when they do so. If their spirituality is flawed by tribal entitlement, even by tribal fear, then whether they’re None or whatever denomination they are I’m going to expose them for what they’re not: someone whose empathy extends to the suffering of all humanity.

    So it matters little with whom Bernie Sanders resonates if the message he’s delivering is not authentic, if his empathy is inclusive with some and excludes others that are being persecuted by the tribe he associates himself with whether in his mind it’s Zionist or Jewish. But maybe he prefers to deny that this is an obstacle to the spirituality he professed yesterday; empathic spirituality, for political interest and gain. Whatever his reasoning: it’s spineless, extremely flawed, hypocritical and not worthy of admiration. He deserves no pass.

    And because we’re here on a site where everyday we’re exposed to the unbelievable hardship and suffering that Palestinians are experiencing in perpetuity, I would have liked, hoped that you would somehow demonstrate in your opinion how this man whom you obviously admire by your comments here would advance the cause that is near and dear to your heart: justice for Palestinians. I would have liked to see you incorporate this important point: empathic spirituality, that Sanders brought up yesterday, into the cause here. But how could you? And really it’s this nagging question that lingers after reading this piece.

    Because if he is in fact in denial of what Zionists, and he is definitely a Zionist, are doing to Palestinians, then I really don’t get why it’s important to make a fuss over him and how he resonates spiritually. He is part of the problem not the solution, and I wonder if this is not pandering to what’s wrong with him instead of challenging him to make that wrong, right, just as he’s been challenging Hillary to do likewise: right the wrong in her progressiveness challenging her to reject special interest funding.

    And he’s challenging her now; he’s not waiting and hoping that maybe she’ll change because he knows that if he doesn’t do so at this time; she’ll go on to win and nothing will change. Therefore why should we wait and give him a pass knowing that he has this gaping flaw that will only contribute to the status quo prolonging the injustice inflicted on Palestinians? Why can’t we demand of him what he’s demanding of Hillary at this time, by exposing this flaw as he exposed hers with the intent of promoting change to benefit all by challenging and promoting integrity and honesty?

  5. joemowrey
    February 4, 2016, 3:17 pm

    “So my spirituality is that we are all in this together. ”

    Unless of course you are a Palestinian, or a Yemeni who is being bombed by our drones or U.S. supported Saudi air strikes, or any of the other innocent victims of Empire. Then, not so much. In that case, it’s all us Americans in it together at the expense of everyone else.

    We need to call this guy out on his hypocrisy. You can’t be a humanist and a Zionist. You can’t be a humanist and an imperialist. You can’t be a humanist and a militarist.

  6. Rusty Pipes
    February 4, 2016, 3:24 pm

    The New Yorker portrait is not just a smear, it’s a Zionist smear:

    The demographic so often maligned as Generation Selfie is rallying behind the candidate who has far and away the most shambolic presentation of anyone on either side of this crazy race? A fist-shaker and haranguer who makes the “Yakety Yak” dad look chill, the nutty great-uncle at the Seder table who insists on debating the morality of the Ten Plagues while everyone else is dying to just eat already: Really? That’s the guy with the youth vote?

    Bernie’s attractiveness as a candidate relies on the premise of purity—a political value as ancient as politics itself. In contemporary American politics, purity is the domain of independents, who can claim to resist the nefarious influences that representatives from the major parties must necessarily fall prey to, including the influence of the parties themselves—their ingrained culture, their policy platforms, their network of donors, even their traditional voter base.

    Gee, why are so many of the writer’s fellow 20-somethings attracted to a candidate who resists parts of the Democratic policy platform, network of donors and traditional voter base? It must have something to do with her tedious uncle talking about injustice at the Seder.

    • lysias
      February 4, 2016, 4:06 pm

      It’s nutty to debate the morality of the Ten Plagues? Why?

      • Kris
        February 4, 2016, 5:13 pm

        Zionist Jews here on mondoweiss have told us over and over again, Judaism isn’t about religion, it’s about food and culture.

  7. lysias
    February 4, 2016, 4:19 pm

    Surprising level of support for Sanders among black Protestants, according to that chart.

    • lysias
      February 4, 2016, 5:33 pm

      Interesting comment by Billmon: ” There’s an ugly subtext here which no one (that I know of) has touched on: troubled relationship between blacks and Jews.”

  8. yourstruly
    February 4, 2016, 4:37 pm

    Well said, Phil. Another criticism from the left is that Sanders isn’t a real socialist, that he’s leading his followers towards just another populist dead-end, etc etc. Except a movement for Medicare for all, free college tuition, busting-up big banks, making corporations and billionaires pay their fair share of taxes, getting serious about global warming, just might puts a stopper on what’s been a forty year slide towards neolib-style fascism. Add to this Sanders track record of having voted against the Iraq War (yeh, I know, he later supported annual Iraq War appropriations, as well as voting to attack Libya), along with his speaking out repeatedly against our getting into these permanent wars, and, well, doesn’t this represent the beginnings of a significant leftward shift? True, Sanders hasn’t budged significantly on Palestine/Israel, but based upon how responsive he was a few months ago when confronted by members of Black Lives Matter, who’s to say that us anti-Zionists can’t convince him to lean towards justice for Palestine. Assuming, of course, that he’s serious about the presidency.

    But why not just wait for the Sanders bubble to burst (as per the Jesse Jackson campaigns of the eighties), whereupon a bonafide leftist resistance will emerge and lead us to that just and peaceful world that so many of us crave? Because once moving forward our sustaining progress will be easier, and because time’s running out, what with perpetual war + global warming = doomsday.

    • yourstruly
      February 4, 2016, 5:09 pm

      Organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No should challenge Sanders on his stance vis a vis Justice for Palestine, same as they took on the NYT on its coverage of the same issue. Best they do this creatively too, as the response to their faux NYT has been simply amazing.

      • Steve Grover
        February 4, 2016, 5:52 pm

        If Bernie becomes President, I look forward to Weiss and his cohorts lamenting and complaining about all kinds of cooperation and friendlier relations with Israel.

  9. Kris
    February 4, 2016, 4:48 pm

    It makes sense that Sanders’s take on spirituality–“we are all in this together“–is so appealing, since so many are sickened by the hypocrisy of most organized religion.

    Who wants to hear about Judaism, when it seems to stand for ethnic cleansing, greed, and self pity? Who wants to hear about Christianity, when it seems to stand for greed and war? Gag.

    In 1991, then-Congressman Sanders voted in favor of withholding tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Israel unless it agreed to stop settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza. http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/04/bernie-sanders-and-the-middle-east-plus-ca-change-plus-cest-la-meme-chose/ OTOH, though Sanders criticized Israel’s massacres in Gaza as excessive, he said that Israel has a right to defend itself, as if that was what Israel was doing.

    We don’t know how Sanders as President would act towards I/P. We do know how Clinton would act. And we do know that if Sanders were to speak out against Israel, his campaign would be drowned out by incessant squeals of “antisemitic!!!!!!,” since Zionists control the mass media.

    All we know for sure is that a President Sanders would be better for most Americans, and a President Clinton would be better for the financial elite, on every issue. Here’s a new chart that contrasts Sanders and Clinton:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/01/31/1477729/-Here-It-Is-Your-Printable-Sanders-v-Clinton-Chart

  10. Krauss
    February 4, 2016, 4:50 pm

    Bernie should just admit he’s an atheist/agnostic. It’s obvious he is one, but he still is scared of that stigma.

    BTW, Chris Matthews gives you a skewed sense of the media. Anderson Cooper has been very harsh on Clinton(I suspect because of DOMA) and very nice to Sanders. Morning Joe has been amazing to Sanders. The worst have been the old elite media, the NYT and WaPo. Krugman has been an atriocious shill for Clinton.

    P.S. That New Yorker article tried so badly to tap into the discredited “BernieBros” meme. Bernie wins huge among young women, but my guess is that women who wrote that article comes from a privileged background where Bernie’s economic agenda induces fear and ridicule. We’ll see who wins in the end. Even if Hillary gets the nod, it’s obvious in which direction the democratic party is going.

    P.P.S. I recommend everyone watch the Townhall in Derry, N.H. It was a really good event, with plenty of time for long and extended answers and no artificial deadlines. I skipped Hillary’s event because why bother with a Wall St shill? But Bernie’s event was the best introduction to the man I’ve yet seen if you’re still on the fence.

  11. lysias
    February 4, 2016, 5:30 pm

    As Billmon points out, this is a really funny NYT headline (no doubt imposed by the editors): Young Democrats Flock to Bernie Sanders, Spurning Hillary Clinton’s Polish and Poise.

    Billmon’s comment: “Truly amazing how NYT can even turn a headline on a story about Sanders appeal into obsequious flattery for HRC.”

  12. yonah fredman
    February 4, 2016, 6:44 pm

    In his comment under the post Phil writes: My wife doesnt care if Protestantism comes to an end, assuming better norms emerge.

    – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/02/bernie-sanders-spirituality-is-resonating-with-young-religious-nones/#sthash.0qrs5GeA.dpuf

    On what basis is this assumption: that better norms will emerge. None. wisp of the wind optimism. What in the history of mankind shows this belief in the linear improvement of mankind as a result of the loss of religious beliefs. It’s not as if Voltaire (rationalism, “erase the infamy” and Nietzsche “God is dead”) are recent. They are in fact hundreds of years old and the results are mixed. Religion as an organizing principle may be abandoned, but what has replaced it is individualism, (read: atomization, everyone against everyone, instead of the all for one and one for all of Bernie Sanders), social darwinism, (as exemplified by Trump) survival of the fittest and not giving a shit. to pretend that there is a straight line between answering “none” to a poll on religions and the improvement of society is nothing but optimism based on nothing.

    Who knows where the future inspirations that will aid mankind will come from? They may come from atheists, but then again they may come from those who value ancient traditions and texts. If you truly feel that society is getting better, and that the crumbling of religion is the key to this improvement, then I think you ought to open your eyes. From what I see the progress of mankind is a haphazard zig zag unpredictable process of starts and stops and to suggest that the key is the dissolution of faith communities or the dissolution of identity with traditional values or traditional communities is pie in the sky nonsense. I do not endorse religion as the cure to our problems. But lackadaisical endorsement of the disappearance of organized religion is an unproven path for a diverse society such as this world and the United States. Let a thousand flowers bloom: let a thousand experiments in belief and tradition and disbelief and innovation take place and maybe through sheer diversity some help may come to us through the richness of the human experience. Advocating the dissolution of faith communities is praying for the impoverishment of the human spirit. Yes, rationality is the most important feature that we need to face the future. But rationality alone does not begin to describe the human condition and this prescription of amnesia is possibly a way of signing over our future to the corporations and the consumer materialism that is the source of much of our sad state of affairs. True i do not have a prescription for our human condition, but this advocacy of “none” seems to me to be myopic in the extreme.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 4, 2016, 7:36 pm

      True i do not have a prescription for our human condition, but this advocacy of “none” seems to me to be myopic in the extreme.

      but what’s normal is people advocating what they believe. and as you mentioned “mankind is a haphazard zig zag unpredictable process of starts and stops ” so it is normal for trends to develop and to see growth in one belief vs another.

      this prescription of amnesia is possibly a way of signing over our future to the corporations and the consumer materialism that is the source of much of our sad state of affairs.

      while i completely agree corporations and the consumer materialism is the source of much of our sad state of affairs, religion is too. tradition doesn’t stay stagnant and i think what’s happening in israel palestine right now is a sign of that. i also think the last decade and so much of what’s happened in domestic politics, like gay marriage as an example, has not always been comfortable in in religious communities. so when you see fluctuation and/or upheaval of social norms it’s natural to see shifts in faith and social identities. i’m not surprised the “norms” are the fastest growing segment of american the american demographic. people who just don’t buy into traditional religion anymore. think about the thousand effected by the vile pedophilia catholic church scandal, or the genocidal hideousness of coming out of zionism. in both of those groups you’re likely going to see young people distancing themselves or older people who maybe were not as devoted find the space to just drop out — and still remain spiritual.

      so, back to what i was mentioning before is normal for people to advocate what they believe. i have never been a fan of organized religions and think they run the risk of operating like cults. but i like a lot of people of faith. i don’t want them to disappear. but i wouldn’t mind if more people identified as nones.

      • RoHa
        February 5, 2016, 10:50 am

        Do you mean “fluctuation”, Annie? “Fluxuation” sounds rude.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 5, 2016, 2:29 pm

        whoops! i stand corrected! luckily i have special edit powers and correct it.

      • Mooser
        February 5, 2016, 3:03 pm

        “Do you mean “fluctuation”, Annie?”

        Merely a simple word transposition. Feh, it happens once in a while.
        “Fluxuation”, of course, is what happens when you use the wrong kind of solder.

    • Sibiriak
      February 4, 2016, 11:45 pm

      yonah fredman: Religion as an organizing principle may be abandoned, but what has replaced it is individualism, (read: atomization, everyone against everyone, instead of the all for one and one for all of Bernie Sanders), social darwinism, (as exemplified by Trump) survival of the fittest and not giving a shit.
      ——————–

      I detect a false dichotomy there. Either traditional organized religion OR atomization/social darwinism/apathy

      • Mooser
        February 5, 2016, 11:34 am

        “I detect a false dichotomy there”

        Uh-oh! That’s usually the first sign of a pilpul overdose. He downs a handful and starts typing.

        “It’s not as if Voltaire (rationalism, “erase the infamy” and Nietzsche “God is dead”) are recent. They are in fact hundreds of years old and the results are mixed.”

        Yup, that seems to be the problem. I hope somebody is standing by with restoratives. I’m gonna need ’em. Did Voltaire and Nietzche even live in the same century?

    • Mooser
      February 5, 2016, 11:30 am

      “On what basis is this assumption: that better norms will emerge. None. wisp of the wind optimism.”

      “Phil, I crawled a hundred miles on my knees and climbed two mountains to reach your blog. And now, all you tell me is “this assumption: that better norms will emerge” You’re no guru You’re a fake!”
      Phil looked at Yonah, his eyes reflecting weird shapes in the flickering firelight of the mountain-top cave and replied:

      Feh! Okay then, maybe it won’t improve”.

      But thanks for speaking up for traditional Protestantism, Yonah, You’re the best will-of-the-wisp and ill wind I know.

    • Mooser
      February 5, 2016, 11:39 am

      “From what I see the progress of mankind is a haphazard zig zag unpredictable process of starts and stops”

      With only one shining constant, the culture religion and general all around oomph and boomps-a-daisy of the you-know-whos!
      They got stars on thars!

    • RoHa
      February 5, 2016, 4:31 pm

      Interesting little essay, Yonah. Deserves a few comments.
      Phil’s wife isn’t assuming better norms emerge. She is saying that if they do, she will not mind the end of Protestantism.

      2. “But lackadaisical endorsement of the disappearance of organized religion is an unproven path for a diverse society such as this world and the United States.”

      It does sometimes seem that the United States is not part of this world, doesn’t it? But I will point out that some societies manage reasonably well with fairly disorganized religions, such as Shinto and Chinese folk religion. (I actually think those are better for people than the rigid monotheist religions.)

      3. And that leads me to agree with Siberiak. There does seem to be a false dichotomy.

      4. “Advocating the dissolution of faith communities is praying for the impoverishment of the human spirit.”

      Incongruous use of “praying”. And what does “impoverishment of the human spirit” mean? It’s an impressive phrase, but it needs a bit of expanding to become a useful concept.
      And if those faith communities are themselves impoverishing the human spirit, shall we not call for their dissolution?

      5. “But rationality alone does not begin to describe the human condition.”

      Be that as it may, since “rationality is the most important feature that we need to face the future”, it would be wise to maintain as much rationality as possible rather than make excuses for those religions which are an offence against rationality.

      • Mooser
        February 6, 2016, 4:02 pm

        “rather than make excuses for those religions which are an offence against rationality.”

        Except “Yonah” most certainly, (as indicated and confirmed by his flat refusal to acknowledge the realities of the situation, for one thing) does not think he is “making excuses”.
        Nope, the poor schlimazel thinks he’s making ‘an offer we can’t refuse’.

  13. JWalters
    February 4, 2016, 7:35 pm

    Another factor in why younger voters favor Bernie overwhelmingly, while Hillary gets her main support from older voters – more younger voters get their news from the internet, while older voters get theirs from the establishment media. On the internet you can find out the truth, but from the establishment media you only get what the Financial Establishment wants you to know.

    So younger voters know what a criminal money vampire Wall Street is, unjustly siphoning off all the economic growth for the last 30 years, sending families, cities, and states into financial distress. But the older voters only have a vague sense of what’s happening, so far.

    If all the older voters watched “The Big Short”, they too would become repulsed by any candidate who was financed primarily by Wall Street’s ill-gotten gains.

    Bernie is merely fighting for justice for the middle class. European countries have shown that a modern economy can afford health care for all and appropriate education for all.

  14. echinococcus
    February 4, 2016, 9:57 pm

    As an old guy with not a spiritual bone in his body, I’d really, really like to understand what this hullaballoo is about.

    If “None” means “no religion”, how the hell can “spirituality” “resonate with the Nones”? It’s supposed to repel them as it repels me. Repeat, either these “Nones” are spiritual, i.e. with supernatural belief (consisting in irrational belief in a “spirit”) and they are necessarily religious, or they are not.

    As for indicating empathy and the acceptance of ethical criteria as being “spirituality”, that is nothing but pandering to the worst medieval religious propaganda smear, i.e. that the godless are necessarily unethical monsters, a belief that has murdered many people.

    What is happening here is another disgusting instance of the pandering by Senator BS to general conventional belief.

    Check it out: the whole history of Sanders consists in caving in after delivering fine, flowery speeches agin. Instead of defending his rational mind, he’ll cave in to the US mob, notoriously as religious, or almost, as any Saudi or Haredis. He’s been told he can’t get elected without religion, so hey presto, here he elevates compassion and human solidarity to religion.

    Caving in to the headless mob as he did not only about things where we here may agree or disagree (such as any war, imperialism, Obamacare, his “independence” and the two-party dictatorship), but what we are supposed to be unanimous about, i.e. the defense of Palestinian rights.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 5, 2016, 4:42 pm

      I’d really, really like to understand what this hullaballoo is about.

      If “None” means “no religion”, how the hell can “spirituality” “resonate with the Nones”?

      maybe you should have just posed your answer and waited for a response instead of going on another anti bernie diatribe based on a conclusion as if you knew the answer.

      fyi, no, none doesn’t mean no religion.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nones

      Nones is a term sometimes used to refer to those who are unaffiliated with any organized religion. This use derives from surveys of religious affiliation, in which “None” (or “None of the above”) is typically the last choice. Since this status refers to lack of organizational affiliation rather than lack of personal belief, it is a more specific concept than irreligion. Polls show that in the United States, “nones” are the only “religious” group that is growing as a percentage of the population.[1]

      • echinococcus
        February 6, 2016, 12:04 am

        Thank you so much for the explanation, Annie. So the second part of the post (about Mr. Sanders) stands –in fact even stronger.

  15. bryan
    February 5, 2016, 5:45 am

    You say that Bernie gave “a sincere humanist answer” without referencing organised religion, but nevertheless Bernie still self-identifies as a theist. The figures you quote are very interesting but shameful in a country that proclaims a constitution based on separation of church and state, and full freedom of religion (and theoretically freedom from religion), and where many of the founding fathers refused to associate themselves directly with any religion. Those less likely to vote for a candidate of a particular religious persuasion comprise Catholic 8%, Jew 10%, Evangelical Christian 20%, Mormon 23%, Muslim 41%, BUT Atheist 51%.

    When Richard Dawkins published an updated edition of ‘The God Delusion’ in 2007 he was only able to point to a single member of congress, Californian Pete Stark, recently elected in March 2007, who dared to acknowledge lack of personal theistic belief. The bigoted hostility to atheism is surely the last taboo, and dwarfs other forms of bigotry (for instance anti-Semitism).

    And what is so threatening about atheism beyond its disdain for superstitious ritual and irrational myths and legends? Most atheists are driven by a robust humanistic moral philosophy. Most atheists marvel at the wonder of the world (which you might call spirituality) including the immense achievements of diverse historical cultures, the wonders of the natural universe, the huge potentiality of the human “spirit” especially if harnessed to reason, knowledge and education. Most atheists can also find common ground with those with a personal religious faith who seek to harness that faith to improve the world, without imposing that faith on others.

    It will be a great day when America elects a President committed to justice for the peoples of the world (at home, in the Middle East, and elsewhere), but it will be a still greater day when an American President can stand up and say “I acknowledge no God and will thus not hear voices in my head (as per G.W.Bush) telling me what His will is.” That day will no doubt be far in the distance and will await a second Enlightenment and the intellectual defeat of those charlatans who dragoon the masses into their churches, synagogues and madrassas, all the better to control them and to achieve compliance for the status quo of gross inequality, social hierarchy and militarism.

  16. eljay
    February 5, 2016, 7:47 am

    … Everybody practices religion in a different way. To me I would not be here tonight, I would not be running for president of the United States if I did not have very strong religious and spiritual feelings. I believe as a human being that the pain one person feels– if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs– you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me, and I worry very much about a society where some people spiritually say, It doesnt matter to me, I got it, I don’t care about other people. So my spirituality is that we are all in this together. And that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, that impacts me. That’s my very strong spiritual feeling. …

    I don’t see anything spiritual – having to do with religion, faith or the ethereal – about caring for all your fellow beings.

    I do see a lot of hypocrisy in claiming to care for all your fellow beings while supporting supremacism (of any kind) for some of them.

  17. Kay24
    February 5, 2016, 9:28 am

    So Ben Gurions grand nephew has been made Chairman of CBS. Israel must be happy. The zionist media gets stronger by the day.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/04/business/media/cbs-sumner-redstone-les-moonves.html?_r=0

    • lysias
      February 5, 2016, 4:34 pm

      The media may be getting more Zionist. But they are getting weaker, not stronger.

      • Kay24
        February 5, 2016, 8:34 pm

        I will be convinced of that when I hear journalists show they can easily criticize Israel’s crimes, the occupation being mentioned, and hear them say that the illegal settlement are detrimental to any peace talks. They behave like little wimps when it comes to risking their jobs and speaking the truth.

      • lysias
        February 6, 2016, 5:18 pm

        My point was that, with the media getting weaker and weaker, it matters less and less how Zionist they have become. More Zionist they may be, but stronger they are not.

        Note how little effect TV ads had in the Iowa caucuses. Jeb Bush spent the most money on TV ads, Trump spent almost nothing.

  18. Sycamores
    February 5, 2016, 12:54 pm

    never mine spirituality i’m still waiting for Bernie Sanders views on foreign policy, particularly the Middle East, Palestine /Israel, US back Saudi led war in Yemen and the US involvement in the Syria ongoing conflict.

    Bernie Sanders brother Larry Sanders supports the BDS Movement. i can only hope that maybe his brother might have some influence on him.

    His brother Larry, who lives in England, revealed in a tweet a few months ago that he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. “that Israel end occupation of West Bank, siege of Gaza, Palestinians in Israel equal rights. Netanyahu obstacle to peace. BDS yes,” Larry Sanders tweeted on April 20, 2015.

    http://www.jewishjournal.com/election2016/article/bernie_sanders_brother_is_a_bds_supporter

  19. Stephen Shenfield
    February 5, 2016, 1:03 pm

    Bernie: “I believe as a human being that the pain one person feels– if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs– that impacts me.”

    The first sentence, though not completed, implies that Bernie cares about every human being. But then the two examples he gives both express caring for Americans and the “society” he worries about is clearly the United States. Does he care about people in other countries? Is he a universal humanist or merely an American patriot? Who knows?

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