The nihilating application of the conceptual machinery is most often used with individuals or groups foreign to the society in question and thus ineligible for therapy. The conceptual operation here is rather simple. The threat to the social definitions of reality is neutralized by assigning an inferior ontological status, and thereby a not-to-be-taken-seriously cognitive status, to all definitions existing outside the symbolic universe.
Peter L. Berger & Thomas Luckman
I'm currently reading the above quoted book. Nope, it's not for a class, nor is it for my job. I'm reading it because I want to, sorta. It was referenced in another book that I read a few years ago and I thought it might be a good idea to pick it up. Well, it's a pretty dry read. It's definitely aimed at an academic audience. As I'm continuing to plod through it (only 189 pages. 189 pages packed with an excruciating level of conceptual density) I refer to it as "tinder", a really dry small piece of wood. I'm only reading it on the bus, on the way to work, and hope to finish it soon.
Now, all the griping about the book aside, I saw the sign above as I drove to my in-laws to pick up the dog my wife and I are taking care of for the next two days. I took the picture just as their service was ending and they walked out to their cars. I'm sure they wondered what the big burly fellow in the "geek" t-shirt was doing as he walked up the the sign with his cellphone out.
My question... why are we only praying for the christians? Why aren't we also praying for the Tibetan Buddhists and Falon Gong, not to mention any other ideological groups that are being persecuted? Does their lack of adherence to Christianity make them less human, their suffering less worthy of our attention? Are we secretly happy that those that are competing with us for global ideological market share are encountering opposition? Is their persecution somehow happening because they "oppose" God while our occurs alongside theirs because we are about God's business?
I'm willing to bet that the people attending that congregation are good compassionate people, so I don't want to ascribe specific evil through action or inaction to them. I'm no doubt blind to many systemic evils that participate in on a regular basis (come to think of it, I don't think the coffee I'll be drinking tomorrow when I wake up is fair-trade). That being said, it grieves me to see a church sign that subtly signals that those that don't follow our path are not as worthy of compassion or prayerful consideration when it comes to their suffering because of their beliefs.
Here something I ran into the other day, The Gadfly Project. Apparently a fellow went to China, ostensibly for the olympics, and 'decorated' some hotel rooms in protest of China's persecution of religious groups. I believe he's arranged for the hotel to be compensated for the damage, but is still on the run from Chinese authorities. He twitters a message every few hours.