We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Simply put, A Secular Age is a magisterial refutation of what Taylor calls the “subtraction story” of secularization. On this familiar narrative, secularization is simply an effect of the progress of science and rational inquiry. Taylor raises two related objections against it: first, that it misses the essentially moral dimension of the “exclusive humanism” that emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries, and which, in his view, is closely tied to an “ethic of freedom and beneficent order”; second, that the emergence of that humanism is too substantial an achievement to be explained by the subtraction story, which makes it seem as if human beings simply “fell into” conceiving of their moral capacities without reference to god.
Taylor goes further: not only is the discovery of “intra human” sources of benevolence the “charter of modern unbelief”, but religion itself played a significant role in shaping that ethical vision.
Read the whole thing. We have made that point here several times: Western humanism is Christian in its cultural core, but not in its soul.
I agree. Much of atheism seems to be less a subtraction than an affirmation that a person should make his own rules for living. That such a question exists for an individual is that person's perhaps unconscious acceptance of some sort of permissive higher authority, which just happens to be as the quote calls an 'intra-human source of benevolence'.
Perhaps these "atheist believers" in effect constitute another doctrine separate from Deism only semantically.
IOW, one man's intra-human benevolence is another man's God.
quote from Mark Steyn's recent New Criterion piece on
Bloom's "Closing of the American Mind", 20 years on...(a good read BTW):
""By using the now-common relativistic formula, all individuals and thinkers in the past are ridiculed, demeaned, and scorned because they fail to live up to postmodern and politically correct standards of conduct. Thus, their ideas are considered meaningless and described as 'hypocritical' -- the absolutely worse possible sin,from the leftist perspective."
despite the fact that the pomo's can
"believe 12 preposterous things before breakfast",
they do seem to enjoy pointing the finger,*judging*(non-judgementally,of course),
and labeling people they disagree with (hate)
as "hypocrites". Their own behavior is anything but consistent with regard to espoused values,
but never mind.
As i read this MF post and clicked back to Steyn's article,
i couldn't help thinking the epithet "hypocrit"
gets its gravitas from Christian tradition,
and more directly from Christ's condemnation of
hypocrites,who make a display of piousness,
but with no genuine intent in their hearts or behavior.
This mechanism seems to me yet another example
of an attempt to turn tradition (Christianity in this case)
to Gramscian ends.
NOW vs. Wm Jefferson Clinton's WH behavior
would seem an easy example of hypocriscy,
but it's time to MoveOn.
"The main thesis of this book is that, in the intellectual life, there are only two ultimate alternatives: either the thinker conforms desire to truth,or he conforms truth to desire."
from a book blurb:
"Degenerate Moderns: Modernity as Rationalized Sexual Misbehavior by E. Michael Jones. In this ground breaking book, Jones shows how major determining leaders in modern thought and culture have rationalized their own immoral behavior and projected it onto a universal canvas. The main thesis of this book is that, in the intellectual life, there are only two ultimate alternatives: either the thinker conforms desire to truth or he conforms truth to desire. Degenerate Moderns is a marvelous tour de force. Required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the intellectual fashions of the Twentieth century."
i believe it would be fair to say the author writes
from a "Catholic vs. secular humanist" perspective.