Re: Atheism that limits, or atheism that empowers?
Interesting point there Monetpenny came up in US politics recently I think where the Obama administration seems to have realised that there is a sort of archimedean lever between 'official' dogma and what the congregation actually thinks.
I think there were two test points- where the Obama administration noted that surveys indicated that the catholic population to a majority had no problem with civil marriage for gays.
And more obviously on that very interesting maneouver around the Healthcare bill where Obamas crowd ambushed the Conference of Bishops by making them attempt to rally the indignant troops against the provision of contraception in making healthcare providers whether catholic or not be obliged to provide- without exemption.
To me these looked like philosophical Trojan Horse testers- I think the US administration at senior level has realised that there is a gap between the 'official' hardliners of church leaderships in the states and the congregations and they are prepared to exploit it.
On the Healthcare bill drama Obama's Whitehouse outmaneouvered the hardliners by going over their heads to the more thoughtful congregation and the bishops found their support soggy in the home constituency.
There is a massive gap between what it says on the hardliner belief box and what people on the ground actually feel and I think this is evident in a lot of places now including Ireland.
That is the gap for the Archemedean political lever which seperates the wingnuts from the reasonable majority.
Catholicism in Ireland is about to splinter into a hardline faction I think gathered around the fairly frantic and surprisingly small if overly vocal in number.
The Irish catholic church may be revived and prove initially popular as a response to the disgraces of the past but may dissipate into social ethic rather than religion- a saner catholicism perhaps?
Think National. Act Local. Oh- and superstition is just the dark matter of human history.