The deadliest mass shooting in American history happened 2 hours away from my house.
It wasn’t just a shooting. It was genocide of people for their sexual orientation. Maybe it’s not a good idea to give a child a book that says gay people should be killed and then tell them that every word in the book is authority of god. And we wonder why things like this happen.
Secular institutions are corrupt because (and I’ll let you in on a secret), people are generally incompetent and corruption is inherent in the human condition.
Everything human will have a propensity to be corrupted. That’s with, or with the absence of, religion. But adding faith to it is only going to make it worse. Because you’re introducing even more absolute authority into the problem.
OK – let me start with your point 3, as I understand you have expressed it.
What you decry – the ‘secular system with weasel words’ – is moral relativism, the bastard child of Cultural Marxism and its toxic Critical Theory. And this is, indeed, a type of a non-theistic religion, because it requires faith and belief in a set of unproven propositions and only considers evidence in support of its POV, discarding any and all evidence that goes against it. Going further, it then villifies anyone presenting evidence against its deeply held dogma and destroys their reputation, thus using fear to keep others silent.
And since this religion is non-theistic, it has been harder to spot and had indeed infiltrated every aspect of our governance structures. The result is the current mega-state, which resulted from this collusion between the secular state and this non-theistic religion.
While I agree that raising children steeped in critical theory is a form of child abuse, I reject your assertion that “Experience has shown that child-rearing based on secular belief systems is incapable of inculcating good morals into the bulk of the population.”
Sorry, but this is a load of dingo’s kidneys.
Generations of children have been raised in secular environments and they do know right from wrong. Evidence: after 3 generations of secular upbringing, Czech citizens knew right from wrong well enough that when the opportunity arose, they overthrew the communist dictatorship and are currently one of the most libertarian societies on Earth.
The problem here is not that our society is ‘secular’, but that it has been fatally infected with Cultural Marxism, a religion that pretends it is not one.
Now, please, let me go off on a tiny tangent. You and CodeSlinger are in agreement that religious institutions are necessary to keep the power of the government in check. Putting aside this picking on Czechs, I would ask the obvious question: why do these organizations have to be religious?
Would not any civic societies perform the same service, but without the pretentious lying?
Yes, you are right: the tendency to corruption is inherent in the human condition.
But the secular belief systems simply give it license – for example, by replacing the concepts of good and evil with the weasel-words, appropriate and inappropriate.
Call this point three, in addition to the two points I made in my previous post, showing specific examples of how secular belief systems, with their pretence of rationality, are much worse than religion.
Instead of addressing my arguments, you just state that “adding faith is only going to make it worse.” The only support you provide is the claim that religion introduces more absolute authority into the system. But this simply isn’t the case:
It was the excessive weakening of religion that allowed the authority of the state to become absolute.
In consequence, the modern deep state has arrogated to itself authority over all kinds of things that are none of its business, and it surreptitiously exerts power far beyond the boundaries of that authority by numerous underhanded means.
“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s” has been transformed into “All things are Caesar’s.”
This is not an improvement!
Call this point four. And let me add a fifth point:
Experience has shown that child-rearing based on secular belief systems is incapable of inculcating good morals into the bulk of the population.
The actual results of removing the Christian moral foundations from modern Western society have left us with a deep state riddled with unprecedented levels of corruption and blatant contempt for individual rights, and a populace drowning in unprecedented levels of ignorance and moral decadence.
The secular belief systems which have replaced Christianity in the West are utterly impotent to resist the resulting social, political and economic decay.
If you want to make your case, you must show that these five points are somehow invalid.
What you’re describing is just like a government program. Let’s just add religion on top of statism, and all of a sudden statism disappears. No. That’s false. All you get it just more religion, and more statism too. And you get theocracy (which is good for those who want to plan their next vacation in Iran).
Your point 4 is really just a rephrasing of the same thing. God and Caesar never existed as separate identities. Leaders only used their religion to further cement power. I know the French and American revolutions happened during the Enlightenment Era when skepticism and deism were in vogue. Do you think this could have happened in 1920’s America when teachers were being fired for teaching evolution?
The Czechs have always cherished liberty, which is one of the things I love about them. But Czech society is not nearly as areligious as you depict.
When the communists took power in 1948, Czechoslovakia was 95% Roman Catholic – and the communists were not overly successful in suppressing Christianity. After the Velvet Revolution, 40% of Czechs were still openly declared Roman Catholics.
And today, though openly declared Catholics have fallen to only about 10%, another 45% are “undeclared,” meaning we have no idea how religious they are. Presumably, a significant number of them remain religious, and long years under communist rule left them with the very prudent habit of avoiding the question.
Thus, Czech society, especially as it was about 25 years ago, is a very good example of what I mean by a proper balance of influence between religiosity and rationality.
The real, secular power of government is so readily apparent and all-pervasive that something extraordinary is required to make a limitation on that power not only believable but emotionally compelling.
Rational arguments are simply insufficient to withstand the constant insidious pressure to expand that power.
Thus, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s” is simple and hard-hitting; it makes immediate gut-level sense to everyone. But the rational arguments delineating the necessary limitations on the authority and power of legitimate government are much more complex and thus much more susceptible to subversion by clever sophistry.
The idea of “inalienable rights inherent in the individual merely by virtue of existing” is so bland and intellectual that it motivates only a small fraction of the population. But the pragmatically equivalent idea of “God-given rights” is so much more accessible and compelling that it can easily motivate an entire population to stand and fight against oppression.
Having accepted that institutions of some kind are needed to keep the power of government in check, you very reasonably ask why these institutions have to be religious.
The answer is simple: because people are inherently religious.
By making these institutions explicitly religious, we work with the structure of the human mind, not against it.
Religiosity is hard-wired in the structure of the human brain, and thus inherent in the archetypes that form the collective unconscious. Therefore, in the absence of explicit religion, the human mind will make an implicit religion out of whatever lies at hand.
Cultural Marxists know this. If you take away explicit reverence of the Sky-Father, most people (you would call them neurotypicals) have no choice but to cathect their devotion implicitly to the Earth-Mother.
Why? Because there are no other archetypes of comparable power and scope.
The result is a society that reveres feminine values and justifies them on pseudo-rational grounds: feminism, moral relativism, collectivism, totalitarianism, secular Edenism, environmentalism, and pathological pacifism.
It is not accidental that the bulk of the resistance against these afflictions comes from religious groups who follow the Sky-Father.
It is not accidental that cultures with a deep emotional investment in the Sky-Father have dominated the world – militarily, politically, economically, scientifically, and culturally.
And it is not accidental that the loss of that emotional investment leads to the loss of that ascendancy.
Doctrine always comes after self-restraint or forced restraint, using imagined or real fears through the hypnotic sugestibilty of nervous-types or the ruthlessly oppressed to need to achieve the impossible accolade of eternal recognition from their oppressors.
I brought evidence of passivity through distraction of attention forced upon the animal-brain.
Thus I suggest this happens to humans. If we are distracted for some life-threatening voyage, we have no attention left for our pockets being picked.
These factors, I have asked myself are inherent on the structure of the human mind, that inevitably lead to the emergence of religion or its secular equivalent.
I consider food therefore, not for its physical property, but what it has become to those minds; that now perceive it halal/haram, blended and sugar-frosted, hated for its plainness, rejected to denial in a power-struggle with mom or a gourmet delicacy.
Every inherent need, whether physical or psychological, can be used as a tool of oppression – if withheld or over-supplied, refined or by changing the attitude of the beholder.
“Thus the challenge we face is how to structure society so as to maximize individual freedom in spite of that fact.”
And I argue it is our Beattitude; and the beehive is secondary if not at all with only a few lines of code.
But, while I sympathize with your feelings, I fear you are falling into the trap of secular Edenism: the belief that man is perfectible, that we can somehow remove the baser parts of human nature, and that doing so will usher in a utopian paradise.
If we can only take the greed out of man, utopia will ensue…
If we can only take the violence out of man, utopia will ensue…
If we can only take the religiosity out of man, utopia will ensue…
Except it never does.
On the contrary, the result is always untold suffering and destruction.
This is because man is not perfectible.
Human nature is simultaneously great and wretched; Pascal called it “la grandeur et la misère de l’homme.” You cannot excise the wretchedness without destroying the greatness. They stem from the same roots.
Thus it is a mistake to try to shape man to be compatible with some prescribed model of society.
We must instead shape society to be compatible with man.
The phrase “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s” appears in Matthew 22:21 and Mark 12:17. It is a metaphor for the idea that Thomas Jefferson later referred to as a “wall of separation between church and state.” It’s meaning is clear whether or not you believe in God: the legitimate concerns of the state are distinct from those of the church, and thus there is no legitimate cause for conflict or collusion between them.
Theocracy is what you get when church and state are not properly separated. This can happen in one of two ways. Either the church takes over the functions of the state, as it has in Islam, or the state takes over the functions of the church, as it has in the West.
The only real difference is that Islam openly proclaims Allah to be the head of state and subjects civil society to religious canon, while Western governments secularize the dogma and hide it behind layers of faux-rationality and pseudo-science.
Both extremes are noxious to human freedom and well-being.
Therefore the proper balance of church and state must lie somewhere in between.
And indeed, we have plentiful examples of such a proper balance: the classical liberal societies of the West, before their infection by cultural Marxism.