Diversity, tolerance, yada yada yada

A commenter made the following statements. My responses follow each point:

a) I want New Zealand to be tolerant .. the separation of the state and church is one of the fundamental parts of the Enlightenment. You may not like it, but it is. The state has essentially forced its views of religion onto others, and that is unacceptable.

  • The state has not forced it views onto anybody. It is merely acknowledging the existence of a Deity whose holy Laws we can only aspire to. If anything, the converse would be more accurate: the established secular orthodoxy responds with hostility to anything that challenges its absolutist claims. As discussed in the above post on Western Civilization, the problem with the logical extension of the secular Enlightenment is that its proponents take things too far. They fail to recognise the Christian foundations of our culture, and think that any reference to religion should be removed from public life. Frankly I think this is inhuman. Public life, while not aggressively religious, should neither be aggressively atheistic. Remove the cult, and our culture loses its way. “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint” (Somewhere in the bible). Now that Enlightenment humanists have captured education, government, and the media, Christianity is derided. People have turned to paganism to fill their natural thirst for God.

b) You need to look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), article 2.

  • Jean-Philippe Feldman writes:
    It might seem provocative or inconsistent to criticize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948. Its detractors, whether they be Marxists or Conservatives have fallen into discredit. Notwithstanding, Hayek has courageously tried to criticize this “constructivist” piece whose impossible goal was to unite rights in the liberal tradition with those pertaining to the Marxist conception. Hayek shows that the new rights which are proclaimed in this fashion cannot be translated into juridical constraints without destroying forthwith the liberal order cherished by “traditional” rights: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the tools which enhances the depreciation of Law and, by the way, the annihilation of Freedom. This text has flourished thanks to its prestige and to the ignorance of those who have employed it. Its unique merit is to deserve oblivion.

c) The enlightenment has proved Christianity to be wrong on a number of fronts (evolution, the world being round, the impossibility of a supernatural being). Why should it be the centre of our society? Why should I be forced into following Christian festivals? Or do you only extend rights to Christians

  • Voltaire, your Enlightenment comrade, said: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him
  • Evolution does not preclude the existence of God. Evolution challenged the preconceptions of the established worldview. Nowadays the scientific “no divine intervention” assumption, has been extended to assert soulless materialism in every aspect of life, and tear down any claim to transcendent values such as Right and Wrong. The existence of God is by no means a settled debate in philosophy. The life and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most thoroughly attested event in human history (manuscript, inductive, historical), exceeding the evidence for Winston Churchill for example. The Catholic position of “theistic evolution” offers a coherent synthesis between Christianity and Science.
  • Before decrying Christianity as a publicly accepted faith, advocates of Atheism and Socialism would be wise to examine the outcomes of their philosophy: the bloodsoaked killing fields of WW2 Europe, the purges of Stalinist Russia, and the revolutionary tragedies of Communist China or Cambodia.
  • Samuel Silver, Chairman, Toward Tradition, writes:
    After the fall of Nazism and Communism, the secular fundamentalists focused primarily on post-Christian Europe and American academia, turning both into hotbeds of anti-religious bigotry and virulent anti-Semitism. These self-proclaimed “progressives” espouse diversity, but are in fact very close-minded and hostile to all political, cultural, and especially religious opinions with which they disagree.

    Over a century ago, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch anticipated modern secular fundamentalism with prophetic precision:
    It is now no longer enough for the apostate to be able to live undisturbed according to his convictions, as he calls them; to him there is no well-being and no peace as long as his convictions have not become the only ones recognized as right and valid. He sees in the Law an intellectual slavery from which it is the Godly task of a second Moses to redeem his unfortunate brothers. In Torah-loyalty, he sees superstition, backwardness, and at the same time a calamity which is to blame for all the miseries of the past. He sees in “liberation” from the yoke of the Law a goal so high and so humanitarian that every means which seems capable of bringing about progress toward this great goal must be employed. He has reached the stage of waging fanatical campaigns of persecution against those loyal to the Law.

    Extremists on either side can be dangerous if initiation of force is not limited by a strong Constitutional defense of individual rights and religious freedom. The secular side, however, offers the greatest risk to society. It contains no internalized mechanism for an objective moral code of human cooperation and must rely solely on the collectivized, legalistic force of government for citizens to defend themselves. It also contains no effective, common moral foundation for raising children, especially in a vacuum without an existent moral culture passed down from previous generations of religious tradition.

d) Yes Christianity is the origin of our society, but so to is Judaism, Paganism and animism. Why shouldn’t we make these central to our society? We over-ride them with new ideas, and that has happened with Christianity, welcome to the 21st century

  • Thankyou for your reply; briefly let me say that in forming the edifice of western culture, the role of Judaism, Paganism, animism, atheism, etc, were miniscule compared with the major contributions of the Christian faith. It extended to every area of life, and Christendom grew strong because it was based on a sure and true foundation.
  • There are certain assumptions that science makes to work eg. that the creation is an orderly place, that human reasoning can be used as a tool in the search for knowledge of the creation, and so on. Religion, namely Christianity, provides the theological underpinning for these metaphysical assumptions. This is why Europe has seen the longest sustained period of scientific development. (read Stanley Jaki on this – fascinating). All other ancient cultures stagnated scientifically and mathematically because their theology was flawed.
    References: 123
  • Update: PC terminology such as “diversity, tolerance, compassion” form an “unacceptable” mantra that seems to obviate rational thought and clear communication.
  • Update #2: Thanks for the “flat-earth” accusation, for now I have occasion to quote from the prophet Isaiah, (from about 800 BC I suppose): Isaiah 40:22 (NIV)

    He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
    He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

    Come to think of it, I may write another post on surprising scientific insights from the Bible. Or conversely, the verification of Christianity by every field of human knowledge! [Shouldn’t be too hard… ;o) ]

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