Do you think atheists can be called a "discriminated against minority"? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 141 Old 12-15-2007, 04:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
To be fair, I'm sure fans of Falwell, Dobson, and the like, have similar excuses for their behavior.
What behavior does he need an excuse for? I don't think there is anything wrong with his behavior. Some may not like his personality, but as far as his behavior? What behavior of his is bad?

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Religious belief doesn't preclude acceptance of science. Francis S. Collins (head of the human genome project) is a staunch theistic evolutionist as well as a scientist and an evangelical Christian. I recently read his book The Language of God, which I highly recommend.
That is true as well, I know many people who are religious who accept science and find no contradiction.

However, the people who he is set off by are not those people. I am one of Ken ******'s biggest fans. Ken ******, devoted Catholic, scientist, on Dawkins' side.
here is a fabulous talk he gives on intelligent design.

It isn't every person of faith against every person of science. That isn't where the line is in practical daily life.
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#62 of 141 Old 12-16-2007, 12:58 AM
 
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Oh, and as a side bar for Cherry and whoever else. This unedited programme, The Four Horsemen, Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens, Harris, talk about some of these issues, why they are perceived this way, etc.

Part 1

Part 2

http://richarddawkins.net/
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#63 of 141 Old 12-16-2007, 05:12 PM
 
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I love Richard Dawkins. I don't find him as abrasive as others do, and I like people who are to the point and don't be nice just for the sake of being nice.


He is a scientist. And I can see how he is at his wit's end with science being challenged by unscientific fantasy believers. I see where he is coming from, so it doesn't bother me.

I think he explains the "delusion" in this series, The Root of All Evil

Part 1

Part 2

But anyway, I suppose talking about him is OT, it's understandable if people don't all like him.
I like Richard Dawkin's too and really enjoyed the book The God Delusion. I didn't agree with everything that he said, but understood where he was coming from.

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#64 of 141 Old 12-18-2007, 11:23 PM
 
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This thread is extremely eye-opening... I guess I have been isolated in my own little-world because I haven't thought about this issue much. Like many have stated, I don't think about religion very often... we aren't religious, we DO study Jesus and his counterparts as great teachers and leaders from a moral standpoint... I attend a UU church (when I can LOL)

Anyway, I just started a part time job and came across this unattributed forward in a mailbox I share with another person who does the same job:

link to the poen so i don't violate UA! (sorry, penelope!)


A few nights before seeing this I mentioned something about other ways of celebrating the seasons in a discussion about the commercialism surrounding Christmas and how people lose the "Christ" in Christmas... I mentioned that there are a lot of people who celebrate the season for other reasons and gave my family as an example. When they looked at me like I was an alien I said... "Well, I'm not a Christian" and the conversation went similarly to the one posted earlier in the thread (without the "What is wrong with you" being said outright).

Anyway, the fwd was dated prior to that conversation, but I found it afterward. It sure explains a lot. I just never thought of that. I never realized that people might question my values or the kind of person I am because I don't "fit" into a spiritual category.

Wow. So I guess I do agree with the premise of the title of the thread. And sadly, I don't think there is any way to change it.

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#65 of 141 Old 12-18-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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Ahhh, nothing warms my heart more than when a majority claim to be marginalized.

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#66 of 141 Old 12-18-2007, 11:48 PM
 
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I find that whenever I have told people I am an atheist, it's as if I said the "taboo" word. I am an atheist. But, I also have morals, ethics, and values which I uphold. Somehow, the people whom I have met (keep in mind I've lived in the "bible belt" for a while), seem to think I have no ethics, morals, and am very much less of a person due to my stance. I won't even mention the door to door witnesses that come to preach to me. Drives me bonkers. I mean, I don't go to their house with my views.

To answer the questions - I'm a bit biased. I'm an atheist, a recluse, and an anarcho-capitalist. So, any government program to stop discrimination or any laws passed like that is something I'm not going to like. I AM bothered by the fact that on EVERY piece of paper money "in God we trust" is written. Who is this "we"? Because I do not trust, nor do I want that on money. If we're going to have government, then I want a COMPLETE seperation of church and state. Stop shoving god everywhere. Not everyone believes.

Because I'm a recluse, I'm not too interested in meeting other atheists. My partner is an atheist too. Now that we will be having a baby, I do think it would be nice to have some other atheist parents around to swap stories, exchange advice, etc.

As to why we're not so heard ... well, I think atheists are very much a minority. I think people still associate the word "moral" with believing in God. I do think, in many states, it's almost like the "taboo" word to say one is an atheist.
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#67 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 12:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Levatrice View Post
Ahhh, nothing warms my heart more than when a majority claim to be marginalized.
Wait, correct me if I am mistaken, do you think atheists are a majority? (trying to claim marginalized?)
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#68 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 12:45 AM
 
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I've known quite a few atheists that come off this way. Not all by any stretch but quite a few that come off as smug and superior for being above my simple beliefs. I have no problem at all with you believing or not believing whatever you choose. I don't feel I'm superior because I'm Christian. However I don't feel you (general you invoking all atheists) are intellectually superior to me because you don't believe in God. I think the pride in not believing is what can make it come off that way. I don't have pride in being a Christian because again that would indicate I'm better than you because I am Christian kwim? I'm not ashamed of it and nor should you be but I'm not proud either. I don't know if I'm describing what I'm meaning or not but I know what I mean.
From my experience, many christians are proud of their beliefs and let me know through conversations or also things like bumper stickers, wall placards, etc. I don't see why I shouldn't be able proud of my beliefs as well. I'm sure there are plenty of smug atheists, but I think there are also a fair number of not-internally-smug atheists who have that attribute assigned to them by the listener due to the listener's own prejudice or vulerability.

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Bah - just this morning on the radio, some windbag was going on about how atheists want to "scrub" religion from American culture in an effort to seperate church and state, but "do they know that they are replacing the Christian Religion with the Atheist Religion?" Is that not the most ridiculous notion? What the hell is the "Atheist Religion"? Only someone who truly cannot think outside they're limited and narrow worldview could possibly come up with such a term.
I am extremely frustrated that the idea of seperation of church and state is grouped as being equivilent to attacking or attempting to remove religion from our culture or country. It is not the same thing. I want everyone to be free to practice their beliefs however they see fit as long as it is not impinging on other's ability to practice their own beliefs. "Your right to swing your fist ends at my face."

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#69 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 12:54 AM
 
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I went to elementary school in the midwest, and I once had a little girl run away from me screaming because I told her I had never been baptised. She wouldn't be friends with me any more after that because she thought I was evil.
Me too. I had a friend burst into tears (in Kansas) and tell me I was going to go to hell because I wasn't baptised.
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I don't "believe" anything. Instead, I have a complete lack of belief. It's hard for me to explain this, and the distinction is perhaps subtle, but I think it's important. I mean, I don't think that unicorns exist either, but I don't go around calling myself an a-unicornist. Does that make sense?
Yup. I think atheists are discriminated against. I do really dislike the habit certain atheists have of saying people who believe in God are foolish, just like I dislike the habit certain Christians have of acting like there is something wrong with you if you don't believe as they do.

FTR, I believe there is something, but I don't believe in an all powerful God like Christians do, and I don't believe one religion is any more outrageous than another. I don't think it's the place of government, or school, or some random person on the street to tell me what to believe, or what is right, or what is acceptable.

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#70 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 01:00 AM
 
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I definitely think so in the U.S. Not so much in Canada.

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#71 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 02:46 AM
 
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I'm athiest but given that the problems facing other minorities are SO much greater and actually make a difference in their lives all the time, I don't ever think about the points in the OP. I'm too busy worrying about trying to end discrimination that is much worse.

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#72 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 03:03 AM
 
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I'm athiest but given that the problems facing other minorities are SO much greater and actually make a difference in their lives all the time, I don't ever think about the points in the OP. I'm too busy worrying about trying to end discrimination that is much worse.
On the one hand I'm inclined to agree with you, but on the other hand, I've been the victim of religiously based campaigns, and whenever you are the target it suddenly becomes very important when it's your job, or your neighborhood being affected. The fact that someone else has endured something worse does not make your situation any better, or any less wrong.

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#73 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 09:59 AM
 
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A conversation I had the other day was really a perfect example of how religious/non-religious people look at the world.

A friend and I were talking about plans for next week and she mentioned that she was going to see some young girls she knows in "a pageant". It took me about 5 minutes to realize that she meant a Christmas pagent and not a beauty pageant.

IME, there can be times when it seems you're speaking a whole other language. Creche? Advent calendar? Homily? Why is there a purple thing on the cross in front of the church? If you're not religious, or know people well who are, you're not going to know what those things are, and people who are religious are going to think you're strange for not knowing, because those things are such a normal part of their life. From there it's an easy step from being seen as weird to being seen as dangerous.
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#74 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 11:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by orangebird View Post
Wait, correct me if I am mistaken, do you think atheists are a majority? (trying to claim marginalized?)


No no no no no. I am an atheist. I was referring to the fwd email wherein the author tries to claim minority status for Xians.

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#75 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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I honestly think Agnostics are the minority, Athiests and Theists
seems to be in the majority.

What I see as an Agnostic...is the Theists and Atheists discriminating
against eachother. I'm on middle ground and it looks like a war from
the sidelines.

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#76 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 09:08 PM
 
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I honestly think Agnostics are the minority, Athiests and Theists
seems to be in the majority.

What I see as an Agnostic...is the Theists and Atheists discriminating
against eachother. I'm on middle ground and it looks like a war from
the sidelines.

The group of "agnostic" includes both atheists and theists, so I'm confused.
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#77 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 10:15 PM
 
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This thread is kinda strange to me. Especially among our crunchy community here, I am the outcast in being Christian. Everyone else is either Universalist or athiest. It's hard for me to imagine a world where athiests weren't the majority and therefore the ones doing the discrimination. My SIL is an atheist and will tell you all day long how stupid God is and how moronic people are who believe in him. My MIL even asked me not to mention my baptism this week because SIL would do nothing but put me down for it, anyway.

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#78 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Moonprysm View Post
This thread is kinda strange to me. Especially among our crunchy community here, I am the outcast in being Christian. Everyone else is either Universalist or athiest.
Here are the actual demographics in RS in case you wondered:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=505132


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It's hard for me to imagine a world where athiests weren't the majority and therefore the ones doing the discrimination.
No need to imagine, just head to pretty much anywhere in the US but where you live.
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#79 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 11:14 PM
 
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No need to imagine, just head to pretty much anywhere in the US but where you live.
No need to be snarky. I was just pointing out that I think we all expirence things within the realm of our own expirence. In my expirence, I am the minority in being Christian. That doesn't mean I don't think that atheists may be discriminated against in other places as a minority, it's just outside my realm of expirence.

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#80 of 141 Old 12-19-2007, 11:24 PM
 
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No need to be snarky. I was just pointing out that I think we all expirence things within the realm of our own expirence. In my expirence, I am the minority in being Christian. That doesn't mean I don't think that atheists may be discriminated against in other places as a minority, it's just outside my realm of expirence.
Same here but the other way around. I just got out of Utah after about 14 years there, and I cannot imagine living somewhere that other people's religious beliefs aren't a major part of the public sphere, and don't hold major influence in government.
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#81 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 12:08 AM
 
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No need to be snarky. I was just pointing out that I think we all expirence things within the realm of our own expirence. In my expirence, I am the minority in being Christian. That doesn't mean I don't think that atheists may be discriminated against in other places as a minority, it's just outside my realm of expirence.
BUT this thread isn't about a microchasm... it is about the mainstream US. just look at the presidential race where the candidates are forced to spell out their religious beliefs and how they will influence their leadership. When asked people are more likely to vote for pretty much every other major minority (haha) ahead of athiests... in fact more people would vote against an athiest.


(this was the only place that i could find this poll. i tried to find it in its original form, but i can't seem to find it on gallup... the numbers are right)

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#82 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 01:10 AM
 
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This thread is kinda strange to me. Especially among our crunchy community here, I am the outcast in being Christian. Everyone else is either Universalist or athiest. It's hard for me to imagine a world where athiests weren't the majority and therefore the ones doing the discrimination. My SIL is an atheist and will tell you all day long how stupid God is and how moronic people are who believe in him. My MIL even asked me not to mention my baptism this week because SIL would do nothing but put me down for it, anyway.
Maybe things are different in much of the U.S., but that is also my experience. Most of the people I know are either atheists, agnostics, or completely indifferent to religion. Hostility and contempt toward religion, or sometimes just toward Christianity, is something I encounter often.
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#83 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 10:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Moonprysm View Post
This thread is kinda strange to me. Especially among our crunchy community here, I am the outcast in being Christian. Everyone else is either Universalist or athiest. It's hard for me to imagine a world where athiests weren't the majority and therefore the ones doing the discrimination. My SIL is an atheist and will tell you all day long how stupid God is and how moronic people are who believe in him. My MIL even asked me not to mention my baptism this week because SIL would do nothing but put me down for it, anyway.
i know what you mean. this is what i deal with, too. but then i look at the news and government and how things are run. there is a definite movement among the people that is anti-religion but i feel it's a backlash. religion has been pushed pushed and pushed some more. take a look at the people in power. name one atheist. just one. i do think that the prejudice against Atheist is very real.

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Here are the actual demographics in RS in case you wondered:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=505132
but this is only people who responded. not saying that it isn't true at all! just isn't really concrete, ykwim?

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#84 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 10:55 AM
 
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Maybe things are different in much of the U.S., but that is also my experience. Most of the people I know are either atheists, agnostics, or completely indifferent to religion. Hostility and contempt toward religion, or sometimes just toward Christianity, is something I encounter often.
It is quite different.

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#85 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 12:50 PM
 
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but this is only people who responded. not saying that it isn't true at all! just isn't really concrete, ykwim?
Of course, but it was the best I could do!
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#86 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 12:58 PM
 
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Where are you people living? I want to move there? lol

In my experience, across the USA, from where I am now to NYC to CA ... there are more religious people than atheists. Same goes for Europe.

America, for some reason, I find to be especially bad. No other country has "God" printed on their money. Every person in government is always making speeches about his religion, his faith, "god bless America" and so on. Not a single presidential candidate doesn't mention his faith in God. In fact, I don't even think there is an atheist candidate. I've known people who vote based on religious beliefs. And, like I said, whenever I have said the word "atheist" to someone, it's like I said the taboo word.

Plus, if you just look at the statistics of which religions are growing and which are gaining in popularity ... the numbers basically add up to most of the world. Which, logically, means atheists are in the minority.
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#87 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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Where are you people living? I want to move there? lol

In my experience, across the USA, from where I am now to NYC to CA ... there are more religious people than atheists. Same goes for Europe.

America, for some reason, I find to be especially bad. No other country has "God" printed on their money. Every person in government is always making speeches about his religion, his faith, "god bless America" and so on. Not a single presidential candidate doesn't mention his faith in God. In fact, I don't even think there is an atheist candidate. I've known people who vote based on religious beliefs. And, like I said, whenever I have said the word "atheist" to someone, it's like I said the taboo word.

Plus, if you just look at the statistics of which religions are growing and which are gaining in popularity ... the numbers basically add up to most of the world. Which, logically, means atheists are in the minority.
well i'm in Southern California but i think it has to do with the circles of people around me. i don't talk to the immigrant population because, well we have nothing in common. same goes for the older people and the more affluent people. i talk to the young progressives. so DH and i's group of friends are comprised heavily of atheists and agnostics. i'm sure if i hung out with the women from church more and their non member friends i'd be surrounded by religion but beside church on Sundays i am among people who range from an apathy towards God and religion and a deep disgust for both. and yet, we get along.
it's really not that hard to coexist (my favorite bumpersticker ) and live and let live. i don't understand why so many in this country are having a problem :

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#88 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 02:23 PM
 
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What behavior does he need an excuse for? I don't think there is anything wrong with his behavior. Some may not like his personality, but as far as his behavior? What behavior of his is bad?

Well he can be condescending and pompous, but I don't really have a problem with him. I'm just playing devil's advocate and pointing out that if you agree with someone you're going to take things they say and do a lot different than people who don't.
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#89 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 04:32 PM
 
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I grew up in Soviet Union where religion was abandoned for many many years. People had to actually hide the fact they believed in God. It was bad for Orthodox Christians and it was horrible for Jews.
In this country, it seems to be the opposite. I have to admit, that when I encounter an atheist, I have a hard time keeping my mouth shot and I have to restrict myself from starting to tell him or her why I think they should believe in God. So, just seeing my own perspective, I totally think that atheists are being discriminated against in this country. It's not even about Christianity, I think there are just a lot more religious people (all kinds of religions) then non-religious people in America.
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#90 of 141 Old 12-20-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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We live in a plural society with very little homogeneity in the matter of metaphysical beliefs (including atheism). Unlike many other plural societies in the world, however, we are very interested in the notion of public identity. It is not enough for us to believe something. We have to tell others about it. In many cases (enough for this to be, in my opinion, a national characteristic of Americans) we even put little chips on our shoulders for people to knock off. (And then we get upset when people try to.)

Discrimination to me means legal discrimination in the sense that certain people in this country were not (or are not) allowed the same measure of legal rights as others. I don't consider one group looking down on another group or one person feeling "uncomfortable" because of what other people are saying as "discrimination".

I said before that in a plural society, almost everyone can make a claim of being looked down upon by people representing themselves as members of some group. On this post, it looks to me as though "Christians" are frequently the culprit when this happens to atheists. But "Christians" do this to each other as well, even within sects. And I have seen atheists do this to each other as well. (If any of you have ever been part of a Marxist political group or especially a Marxist political party in an academic setting will know exactly what I mean).

Other societies deal with this problem by simply not bringing up matters of belief. In fact, most societies can probably be said to make the gulf between private and public life much, much wider than we do. In a plural society, that is what it would probably take to get rid of this particular problem.
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