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A Synthesis of Things Working Out and the Battle of Wills

March 14, 2009

Earlier (this has been a slow week, surprisingly…sorry guys!) I wrote two kinda junky articles…one about this…sense…I have about things just working out. And the second about my romantic view of conflicts — the honorable ones should become a battle of 100% wills.

I don’t feel these were junky articles because of the ideas…I really do identify with the ideas. But I don’t think I expressed where my mind goes with these ideas. When I see things like Chanson’s article about the steady creep of atheism and agnosticism in America, I think I can begin to make a (highly unscientific) case: it’s like a piece of clockwork art.

I feel both of these ideas…that of things working out and that of willpower effecting change…work in tandem. I should explain: it might seem that if I say “things just work out,” then things are uncontrolled and uncontrollable. If I say things are “a battle of wills,” it seems like things are very controllable. I think that both are true simultaneously. Willpower is utterly important, but depending on where will is directed, things must work out as they should.

So, how does that apply for Chanson’s article?

This is highly unscientific, but what I feel is that the change over time here is a congregating storm. It is a storm of a culture of inclusiveness and moderation (which was seen in Pew Forum results that I am too lazy to link to that suggest that Americans of are becoming more accepting and inclusive in their beliefs) combined with a perception that socially conservative movements  have fumbled the ball too much with their policies as well as a perception that religious movements that back up those social conservatives aren’t representing the average people. Things naturally work out to a lessening of religiosity…so we see people instead becoming “unaffiliated” or “spiritual, but not religious.” A most curious development is of “Christ followers” — those who claim they aren’t Christian because they aren’t following a religion, but instead are developing a relationship.

Where do wills come in? I don’t think the Christian establishment is just being lazy and that’s why people are falling away. No, I think groups such as Evangelicals are being particular active politically…especially in things such as Prop 8 where they team up with unlikely allies (like the Mormon church)…so they are using their collective willpower, but their will is misdirected…the problem is this “will” convinces just some people (probably not the majority of people, since when the people in general vote, they do tend to vote for traditional marriage) that the Evangelical establishment is a danger.

Then, you have the will of new atheists who pave the way to make atheism known. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, etc., Whether you like them or not, they are doing something. And it’s big. So far, the atheists haven’t had a chance to do something that could lose trust (because they don’t yet have any trust and legitimacy…the only way to go is up).

On Chanson’s blog, Chris Bigelow posted an article about “The coming evangelical collapse.” Now, I personally think such terms are much too exaggerated; when things “work out,” I don’t think that means things “collapse.” However, the analysis of why the collapse might occur alludes back to many aspects of the congregating storm. And in actuality, inside are some of the hypothetical keys to how Evangelicals would have to redirect their will if they wanted to avert or recover from disaster.

I see that these things can apply in some way to any thing. So, for example, the “will” of atheists weren’t in a proper direction, then we’d drive ourselves into a rut…that’s how things work out. If Mormons or any other “smaller” group hit a wildly successful idea, then they could become the dominant force…that’s how things would work out.

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