Saturday, 6 October 2007

The inherant dangers of secularism....


(CWNews.com) - By denying the existence of natural law, secularism is undermined the very foundations of democratic society, Pope Benedict XVI argued in an October 5 private audience with members of the International Theological Commission.
Disregard for natural law, the Holy Father said, has caused "a crisis for human-- even more for Christian-- civilization." In response to that crisis, he continued, Church leaders should mobilize "both lay people and followers of religions other than Christianity" to reclaim a common moral tradition.
The International Theological Commission had gathered in Rome this week to discuss a forthcoming document on natural law, and the Pope underlined the importance of that topic in his remarks. The natural law, he observed, "makes it clear that the ethical content of Christian faith is not an imposition dictated from outside man's conscience, but a norm that has its basis in human nature itself."
Because it is not a matter of faith, but a form of moral reasoning that is "accessible to all rations creatures," the natural law can form the basis for dialogue in civil society, the Pope observed, and society can reach a consensus on fundamental moral questions.
Once that shared recognition of natural law is withdrawn, the Pontiff warned, there is no means of resolving public debates other than a contest of political strength. Then process of legislation becomes "not the search for good but the search for power, or rather the balance of power."
The problem facing contemporary democracies, the Pope said, is a form of ethical relativism, based on the mistaken notion that "relativism guarantees tolerance and mutual respect."
In fact, the Pontiff said, this relativism has caused a profound crisis in society, so that "the fundamental essentials are at stake: human dignity, human life, the institution of the family and the equity of the social order--in other words the fundamental rights of man." The crisis can only be overcome, he said, by restoring an appreciation for the natural moral law "in conformity with right reason-- which is participation in the eternal Reason of God."

[with thanks to Fr Ray Blake of St Mary Magdalene Church , Brighton ]http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/

[Last week on Damian Thompson's excellent Holy Smoke Blog ; one poster asked why we can't we all just get on and adopt a secular collective mentality without the aberrations of religion ? This was my response :]


Maggie I hate to sound patronising but where do you think all these Secular alleged 'ultra ideals' of reason , peace, goodness, kindness, self-discipline etc come from ?
They've just been absorbed from christianity and then become victims of revisionism ; implying that it's contemporary anti-theism that has had these ethical 'truths' revealed unto them in the light of a Reason which hasn't been corrupted by superstitiion; and that christianity has absolutely nothing to do with it - and because they deny their sources in christianity they are able to twist and distort the ideals into meaning anything they bloody well want them to but still remain ostensibly the milk of human kindness to anyone who with the IQ of a rubber plant and the moral compunction of a praying mantis!
Ideals have consequences and calls to action.

It's baloney : I'll tell you why we can't all get on and 'agree to disagree' and have a golden girls type group-hug...
because secularism is morally and intellectually bankrupt - disenfranchised from the ideals it espouses, hypocritical in its extreme, murderous, cowardly and devoid of any authentic responsibility towards its neighbour if it ever impinges upon its own self-interest...it's deadly , it's anti-human and it's an enemy of reason itself - just remember that secularism isn't some benign atheistic existentialism that seeks to find meaning and a moral compass because it needs to replace a defunct Godhead - no ! It's narcissistic self-delusion laden with pragmatism, relativism and a prejudicial intolerance to anything which does not conform to its personal doxic taste [subjective opinion becomes the idol replacing any formulative belief with consequences on praxis]

Why don't we all just form one big brotherhood of man ?
Because religions [including atheism] differ on fundamental aspects of not only the human condition, but reality itself - and that's before you get to the whole notion of a divinity or the supernatural interventions on our lives...

We are what we believe..try and deny that and you'll fall at the first hurdle!

How you can possibly believe that the timeless truths or falsehoods inherant within the world religions are archaic or anachronistic is beyond me - intellectual positions are as fresh or as staid as the mind that perceives them....

It would be very rude of me to suggest that you have no idea what you are talking about - and rudeness is a secular crime against humanity isn't it ? - being offensive and intolerant to one's personal belief system and life values ?
Well catholicism isn't that courteous or mendacious or conducive to self-delusion - St Paul says we have to suffer fools gladly; but we don't have to agree with them or conspire in their folly...
I love you enough to say you are very , very wrong !

3 comments:

Psiomniac said...

Well catholicism isn't that courteous or mendacious or conducive to self-delusion
I think there are persuasive arguments to show that Catholicism depends on self-delusion.
I also think it more likely that religion is parasitic on morality than it being a source of it.
Seen any good solutions to the Euthyphro Dilemma yet? I have to confess that I have found the attempts I've encountered so far to be unsuccessful.
The idea that the attributes of reason or kindness have been absorbed from Christianity is just laughable I'm afraid.

On the side of the angels said...

Oh behave Psiomniac please...
You know that catholics find the Euthyphro dillemma as a categorical fallacy...
You're tautologising by externalising and implying you are adding a predicate which is essential by the very definition.
Of course you'll find them unacceptable ; you don't believe in a God but are fully aware of an objective morality ; so by your very belief you exclude yourself from ever finding a congruent or intellectually coherent answer within answers which axiomatically refute your remit for the question itself.
You yet again play games with what is being said : you may consider the notion laughable , but the idea of both social contract and natural law are grounded within Christianity [note I did not say Judaeo-christianity] - you deceive yourself by presuming that just because the religious reasoning behind these principles has been surgicaly excised from the [let us for a moment consider the 'secular' to mean a coherent moral system adhering to e.g. atheistic existential sentiments rather than chaotic pragmatism] secular tenets that it has absolutely nothing to do with them.
It's like saying your bowl of coco-pops has nothing to do with the paddy-field.
As for your notion that reason deriving and thriving within catholicism is 'preposterous'; then I'm afraid you're refuted by history - the exemplary advocate for reason , bar none, has been the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
As for the self-delusion suggestion ; how many times have we gone through this ? we're practically like a married couple arguing about the toilet seat...
It's a belief ! and a rationally coherent one at that - we believe in a cosmic eternal purpose and meaning and the noetic 'God' that has been hinted at within the very psyche seems to be morally and naturally and historically vindicated - and so we believe !
You do not believe; and have a vast array of perceptions,analyses, suppositions and premises you have rationally formulated into a system which leads you to believe in a cosmos without a God.
Delusion has nothing to do with either sentiment.

Psiomniac said...

You know that catholics find the Euthyphro dillemma as a categorical fallacy...

I don't find that approach plausible either. Feel free to attempt a cogent argument along those lines, but either you think god is a necessary prerequisite for morality or you do not. If you do, then an attempt to write off Euthyphro as a categorical fallacy of some kind will be an attempt to have things both ways. If not, then your criticism of Maggie is groundless.

You're tautologising by externalising and implying you are adding a predicate which is essential by the very definition.

On the contrary, it is you who are tautologising by using god as a definition of good, which as you know lands you firmly on one horn of the dilemma.

Of course you'll find them unacceptable ; you don't believe in a God but are fully aware of an objective morality ; so by your very belief you exclude yourself from ever finding a congruent or intellectually coherent answer within answers which axiomatically refute your remit for the question itself.
I am aware that morality is bound by objective parameters. I am aware that the subjective/objective dichotomy is unhelpful to a coherent discussion of meta-ethical problems. My position is intellectually coherent and your attempt to deny this shows nothing more than your conviction that morality requires some kind of sky fairy to be real. Which is hardly what I would call intellectually coherent.

You yet again play games with what is being said : you may consider the notion laughable , but the idea of both social contract and natural law are grounded within Christianity
Christianity required such things to be in place in order to get going in the first place. As such, religion is parasitic upon morality in that religion offers an ad hoc post-justification for it. It is a story we told ourselves to make sense of why things seem to be unambiguously true in a moral sense.

you deceive yourself by presuming that just because the religious reasoning behind these principles has been surgicaly excised from the [let us for a moment consider the 'secular' to mean a coherent moral system adhering to e.g. atheistic existential sentiments rather than chaotic pragmatism] secular tenets that it has absolutely nothing to do with them.
I think not. Civilisations which had morality have come and gone despite Christianity. Your view is parochial. Insofar as we now have a society with some principles we would both agree to be morally enlightened, it has been as the power of the church to meddle in affairs of state has waned that these things have come to pass.

However, you are right that I don't regard you as deluded, and thus I regard myself as properly admonished and I promise to behave, at least a little bit. In fact, implying that somebody is deluded is almost as bad as implying that they have no idea what they are talking about....