Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The inherent atheism of globalism

His Grace was fortunate enough to meet the former Czech President Vaclav Havel in 1990. We talked of much, but the enduring impression has been of the man’s politico-philosophical conviction.

There is an excellent article in The Catholic Herald on Mr Havel’s address to a conference in Prague entitled ‘The world we want to live in’. It deals with ‘different spheres from politics, economics, sociology and political philosophy to aesthetics and religion’:

At the opening of the conference. Mr Havel, an acclaimed playwright and essayist, gave a speech in which he deplored the global society, describing it as the “first atheistic civilisation”. This society, he said, preferred short term profit over long term profit, but its most dangerous aspect was its pride.

He described the pride as: “The pride of someone who is driven by the very logic of his wealth to stop respecting the contribution of nature and our forebears, to stop respecting it on principle and respect it only as a further potential source of profit.”

Mr Havel continued:

“I sense behind all of this not only a globally spreading short-sightedness, but also the swollen self-consciousness of this civilisation, whose basic attributes include the supercilious idea that we know everything and what we don’t yet know we’ll soon find out, because we know how to go about it. We are convinced that this supposed omniscience of ours which proclaims the staggering progress of science and technology and rational knowledge in general, permits us to serve anything that is demonstrably useful, or that is simply a source of measurable profit, anything that induces growth and more growth and still more growth, including the growth of agglomerations.

“But with the cult of measurable profit, proven progress and visible usefulness there disappears respect for mystery and along with it humble reverence for everything we shall never measure and know, not to mention the vexed question of the infinite and eternal, which were until recently the most important horizons of our actions.

“We have totally forgotten what all previous civilisations knew: that nothing is self-evident.”

The former president described the current financial and economic crisis as a very edifying sign to the contemporary world and a call to humilty.

“Most economists relied directly or indirectly on the idea that the world, including human conduct, is more or less understandable, scientifically describable and hence predictable. Market economics and its entire legal framework counted on our knowing who man is and what aims he pursues, what was the logic behind the actions of banks or firms, what the shareholding public does and what one may expect from some particular individual or community.

“And all of a sudden none of that applied. Irrationality leered at us from all the stock-exchange screens. And even the most fundamentalist economists, who – having intimate access to the truth – were convinced with unshakeable assurance that the invisible hand of the market knew what it was doing, had suddenly to admit that they had been taken by surprise.

“I hope and trust that the elites of today’s world will realise what this signal is telling us.

“In fact it is nothing extraordinary, nothing that a perceptive person did not know long ago. It is a warning against the disproportionate self-assurance and pride of modern civilisation. Human behaviour is not totally explicable as many inventors of economic theories and concepts believe; and the behaviour of firms or institutions or entire communities is even less so.”

This call to humility, he said, was: “A small and inconspicuous challenge for us not to take everything automatically for granted. Strange things are happening and will happen. Not to bring oneself to admit it is the path to hell. Strangeness, unnaturalness, mystery, inconceivability have been shifted out the world of serious thought into the dubious closets of suspicious people. Until they are released and allowed to return to our minds things will not go well.”

He continued:

“Wonder at the non-self-evidence of everything that creates our world is, after all, the first impulse to the question: what purpose does it all have? Why does it all exist? Why does anything exist at all? We don’t know and we will never find it out. It is quite possible that everything is here in order for us to have something to wonder at. And that we are here simply so that there is someone to wonder. But what is the point of having someone wonder at something? And what alternative is there to being? After all if there were nothing, there would also be no one to observe it. And if there were no one to observe it, then the big question is whether non-being would be at all possible.

“Perhaps someone, just a few hundred light years away from our planet, is looking at us through a perfect telescope. What do they see? They see the Thirty Years War. For that reason alone it holds true that everything is here all the time, that nothing that has happened can unhappen, and that with our every word or movement we are making the cosmos different – forever – from what it was before.

“In all events, I am certain that our civilisation is heading for catastrophe unless present-day humankind comes to its senses. And it can only come to its senses if it grapples with its short-sightedness, its stupid conviction of its omniscience and its swollen pride, which have been so deeply anchored in its thinking and actions.”

Amen and amen.

There is something of Weber in this, and His Grace particularly likes ‘the cult of measurable profit’.

There have been throughout millennia numerous religious movement which prophesy the imminent destruction of the present order and the establishment of a new order, usually reversing the relative status of the oppressed and the oppressor.

It did not come with the last General Election, though it was undoubtedly a small step in the right direction.

Whether or not you are a pre-, post- or a-millennialist, or a pre-, mid- or post-tribulationist, a numerologist, apocalypticist or just an agnostic dispensationalist trying to find your way in a dark world, it is political leaders like Vaclav Havel who light the way.

40 Comments:

Anonymous philip walling said...

Amen!

13 October 2010 at 17:03  
Blogger Caedmon's Cat said...

I fully concur with Mr Havel. I'm of the opinion (as one who is of an amillenarian persuasion) that we're seeing in globalism the emerging of what Scripture refers to as Babylon. Not that it hadn't existed before - it always has in one shape or another - but with technology, global communication and the consolidation of financial power into the hands of fewer people, its development has burgeoned. It builds on the basis of mystery religions (make of that what you will), and it is by its very nature inimical to true religion - and the freedoms that it has historically achieved.

13 October 2010 at 17:19  
Blogger Jared Gaites said...

You're right Cranmer. To know that someone is speaking like that is very reassuring - it gives hope.

Thank you for that.

13 October 2010 at 18:59  
Anonymous not a machine said...

My goodness , i have just been reminded how limited blogging can be , thankyou for some light today your garce

13 October 2010 at 19:15  
Anonymous Michal said...

Wow! An article about my ex-president!

I find it...jolly, intriguing and exciting that of all the people mr. Havel could show up on a blog I read daily and who's author is from as far away as England.

Well perhaps it's not really that far, and I guess mr. Havel is otherwise not entirely unremarkable but...you know. Patriotism and all that. Or somesuch.

Anyway, to give this post some meaning.

I think his remarks reflect upon some of the soul searching the post communistic nations are doing. After half a century of communism, they're being increasingly a part of a relativistic world which sends them scurrying for answers now that the all pervasive ideology is gone, so as a result the belief that not everything can be rationalised and that there's "something out there" is quite noticeable.

I for one remain an unrepentant atheist and a fierce rationalist, but I still feel a certain glimmer of joy in that one of the more liberal Czech voices can be heard on the world stage.

13 October 2010 at 19:24  
Anonymous Byrnsweord said...

Your Grace, Mr Havel's mention of “the pride of someone who is driven by the very logic of his wealth to stop respecting the contribution of nature and our forebears, to stop respecting it on principle and respect it only as a further potential source of profit.”

... reminded me of David Cameron's claim that Britain needed to preserve its historical and cultural heritage for the purpose of 'tourism'. See here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/aug/12/david-cameron-economy-tourism-holidays

Our Prime Minister seeks to financialise (and thus render redundant) the very fabric of the nation and its history. These are profoundly dangerous times.

13 October 2010 at 19:37  
Blogger Mike A said...

I cannot agree that Mr Havel makes much sense. "..idea that we know everything and what we don’t yet know we’ll soon find out, because we know how to go about it.." isn't 'supercilious', it's the whole basis of science, technology and human progress. What would you have - 'oh dear, I don't think I had better split that atom because I'm not sure how many particles might be upset'?

As for "..respect for mystery and along with it humble reverence for everything we shall never measure and know, not to mention the vexed question of the infinite and eternal.." what are these? Should we accept that there are things we shall never know, and never bother trying to find out? Absurd.

"..what purpose does it all have? Why does it all exist? Why does anything exist at all? We don’t know and we will never find it out." More negativity and dejection - why should we not find out some day, if we keep looking? Why invent limits for ourselves, when there are enough real problems to solve?

The recent financial crisis was attacked by using conventional financial remedies such as printing money, and like most remedies these will have side-effects. But the chosen solutions were not the only possible ones; whatever happened, we would be fighting to improve the position, however bad it might be. I suspect that is the spirit in which Mr Havel and his friends approached their attack on the awful nastiness of communism; I don't imagine that for one moment they allowed themselves to be stopped by any feeling of helplessness or of the inevitability of defeat - yet that is what his speech is saying.

13 October 2010 at 21:49  
Blogger Owl said...

Mike A,
Mr. Havel's words are reminiscent of Carl G. Jungs masterpiece 'Modern man in search of a soul' many, many years ago. he makes perfect sense to anyone who has 'ears to hear'. Telling it like it is has nothing to do with 'helplessness' or 'defeat', in fact, quite the opposite. Being aware of who is undermining our society and their motivation for doing so, is an important step forward in combating them. Mr. Havel and his Grace have long been aware of the enemy in our midst. It is time for this awareness to spread and thank God for that.

13 October 2010 at 23:28  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dr Cranmer.
It is indeed a dark world that we live in as you so rightly say. But thank God that there is still light shining in the darkness.
It seems that it takes a potential disaster to bring many of us to our senses. I've been watching the rescue of the Miners in Chile & was struck by the number of them who having been delivered from the living hell in the bowels of the earth, have been giving unashamed thanks to God for their rescue. I noted that most had the name of the Lord Jesus on the left shoulder of the tee shirts they were wearing as they reached the surface. several were pledging to change things that they decided needed changing having been given a second chance of life. It's a strange thing how life today can still show the gospel to those that have eyes to see. Before they were saved, a heroic rescuer chose to descend into their living hell from the world of sunshine, light & life. He has helped them prepare & make the journey to life, in some cases a life that was taken for granted until the cave in. He has risked his own life in exchange for theirs, & he will not surface until the last miner is safely out. I wonder what they think of him? Thankful? Grateful? or maybe they will forget him, or doubt he was real although I doubt it. Makes one think doesn't it?.

13 October 2010 at 23:43  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Thanks for those insights, both Owl and Preacher.

I agree that there's nothing defeatist about recognising and analysing facts - and now that the enemy shows itself so proudly: we play ostrich at something worse than our peril!

And Preacher - I remember drawing the Antichristian parallel when Saddam arose from his pit! I've been unable to watch the news, so the comparison you've drawn today escaped me: but it is wonderful. He moves in mysterious ways indeed.

Oh methought long since that the more we know, the more we know we don't know. To modern hordes who reckon otherwise, I can only echo old M. Python: "I hope that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space..."

14 October 2010 at 04:01  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

If only one, just one, of our politicians spoke with the same moral authority. But of course it takes the endurance of great pain, defeat, rejection, disappointment – that should produce humility – for a man to speak and write with such gravitas.

14 October 2010 at 09:10  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Havel said

At the opening of the conference. Mr Havel, an acclaimed playwright and essayist, gave a speech in which he deplored the global society, describing it as the “first atheistic civilisation”. This society, he said, preferred short term profit over long term profit, but its most dangerous aspect was its pride.

This is the sort of ignorant comment that makes an atheist angry! The arrogant assumption that atheists have no morals and that Catholics do is so insulting and frankly ridiculous in the light of recent events.

Havel like others who live in strongly religious societies view the world through a distorting prism. Their faith is so inbred that they imagine that life without it means slithering around in a swamp of decadence. Faith and the conflicts between religions have been responsible for more misery and injustice than any single cause and yet still those so besotted with it cannot see reality.

The world will not have truly grown up until it is rid of the virus that is religion.

14 October 2010 at 10:04  
Anonymous len said...

As the World gets increasingly darker those who have grasped the truth about our condition shine like stars but I fear few will listen.
The whole Evolutionary, Atheistic, juggernaut is hurtling along the road oblivious to the precipice before it.
All we Christians can do is stand at the roadside shouting warnings hoping some might hear!.

14 October 2010 at 10:07  
OpenID caedmonscat said...

Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Mr Graham Davis - like so many of his persuasion - has his own distorting prism, thus parroting the tired old mantra 'all atheism is civlised and good - all religion is superstitious, backwards and bad.' He doesn't seem to want to acknowledge the unpalatable fact that the most powerful proponents of secular atheism have been responsible for the systematic murder of millions - because they had suppressed their inborn sense of accountability to a divine Judge - and set themselves up as gods in their own right. Nature abhors a vacuum; there is no such thing as an atheist - something else always takes the divine seat.

14 October 2010 at 10:44  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

caedmonscat

As you well know the “murder of millions” was done in the name of nationalism and political ideology not secular atheism (I assume that you are referring to Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot).

14 October 2010 at 11:57  
Blogger Caedmon's Cat said...

Mr Davis -

Their atheism underpinned their respective ideologies, which kowtowed to the Hegelian idea that history was marching them through successive conflicts to a scientific (i.e. atheistic) socialism. An irrational theology, if ever there was one..

14 October 2010 at 12:16  
Anonymous len said...

You seem to miss the point Mr Davis(or do you?)
To deny the spiritual World is to be in totally ignorance of it, which is the way the powers of darkness like it!
Satan was given power of all that existed outside God,over all that resides in spiritual darkness. Those in darkness are so bound to satan that they are totally blind to, and opposed to any revelation of the reality of God. In this condition, people are under the power of satan. They are allowing him to have liberty with them. They are giving him permission over their lives. However, when a person turns to God, the opposite becomes immediately true.

God is light and the head of light. God has no darkness in Him at all.
(1 John 1:5) This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all". (end of quote)

The reality of God in some ,starts like a small glimmer, gradually grows brighter and brighter and eventually bursts into glorious light.
Of course some at the first glimmer extinguish the light and remain in darkness

14 October 2010 at 12:43  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Oh, and you know all of this len, how?

@Caedmon's Cat

There atheism may well have underpinned their
ideology but those ideologies do not require to be underpinned by atheism.

Atheism is not a belief structure. It does not have a list of moral absolutes you must adhere to in order to be considered an athiest, in fact the only common value held by atheists is that there is a common held lack of belief in the supernatural or the spirit which ever intangible word floats your boat.

I could believe that murder is acceptable in some cases and be an atheist. I could believe that murder was never acceptable in any circumstances and still be an atheist. To lump the usual suspects and atheists together is a tired and lazy non-sequitar argument, if we are going to agree the link between these peoples actions and the label of atheist then we may as well also accept that all people with moustaches are evil too.

14 October 2010 at 14:17  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

Apologies:

"Their* atheism" not "There"

14 October 2010 at 14:18  
Blogger Caedmon's Cat said...

@TheGlovner

Sir, I fear you are splitting hairs here. Regardless of whether there are atheists who justify murder or not, the fact remains that there has been an unparalleled bodycount in the wake of ideologies undergirded by atheistic premises. I count atheists among my friends and value them as those who bear the likeness of their divine Creator. But history can't be reinvented - and facts are stubborn things.

14 October 2010 at 14:29  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

@Caedmon's Cat

If it is splitting hairs it is a hair that is three miles wide.

Unless you say that these people carried out the actions they did because they were atheists, then their actions have no bearing on anyone else that shares the title of atheist.

Again, atheism is not an ideology, it is a label appointed to those that lack belief in the supernatural. Apart from that one fact there is no requirement for an atheist to act in the same way as another atheist. Their morals and values are not learned or shaped from their lack of belief in the supernatural, they are learned from their experience in life.

14 October 2010 at 15:37  
Blogger D. Singh said...

'Apart from that one fact there is no requirement for an atheist to act in the same way as another atheist.'

Which goes some way to explaining the increasing number of vehicle collisions.

So shut it.

14 October 2010 at 15:41  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

D.Singh

"Which goes some way to explaining the increasing number of vehicle collisions."

What are you talking about now you rude, small minded little man?

14 October 2010 at 16:11  
Blogger Caedmon's Cat said...

@D. Singh

Thank you, Sir! The gentleman was delving into the realms of the sub-molecular in a vain attempt to prove an even smaller point. Well - must go - I have many mice to catch ;-)

14 October 2010 at 16:14  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

@Caedmon's Cat

"I count atheists among my friends and value them as those who bear the likeness of their divine Creator. But history can't be reinvented - and facts are stubborn things."

And I take it we can also assume you are not racist as you have friends that are black?

14 October 2010 at 16:22  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Caedmon's Cat

You stubbornly resist understanding an atheists values, presumably as to do so would undermine the value of your own faith based morality. Religion motivates people to do terrible things or good things, any objective look at the balance sheet would show that for thousands of years religions have competed with each other for power, souls come a poor second.

Atheism doesn’t motivate for good or ill. Consider a baking analogy; an absence of yeast means the dough will not rise but add it to the mix and things begin to happen. Like yeast religion is a volatile catalyst and the believer only has to “believe” to be motivated to do the most terrible things like 9/11. Atheists of course do bad things but I have never heard of an example where it was done in the name of atheism, the same cannot be said of religion.

14 October 2010 at 16:39  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I bow to Mr Davis who has made the point more eloquently than myself.

However I don't for one second expect eloquence to allow you to accept the facts any more than you would otherwise.

14 October 2010 at 17:30  
Anonymous len said...

The Humanist Philosophy is based on the false premise of the 'goodness' of man and man`s ability to solve every problem with reason and logic.
The facts about humanity( in the real World) speak very differently.
Humanism and Socialism causes are directly linked to economic and moral bankruptcy which is the price we are all asked to pay for these ill founded 'belief systems'.
The enforcement of Atheism was vital for Communism`s success, to deny this is to deny reality.

14 October 2010 at 19:00  
Anonymous len said...

Dinesh D'Souza, eloquently expresses concerns about Atheist Philosophy in the following quote:

"The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people - the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped - have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's dictum, "If God is not, everything is permitted."

This is the sort of World that all thinking people must strive to prevent becoming a reality.We should try to learn the lessons of History and of all the times when man has played God and Humanity has paid the price.

14 October 2010 at 19:10  
Anonymous Preacher said...

I was an agnostic with a leaning toward atheism. I am now a believer who follows Jesus Christ & shares the gospel with those that listen.
If I am wrong & there is nothing beyond deaths veil then firstly I'll never know that I was wrong but no problems with that.
If I am right then for me that's great but I will feel sad for those that rejected the chance & therefore face judgement & it's
consequences.
All men have to choose, I can try to assist, but at the end of life your choices whatever your reasons for making them will decide the outcome, so be sure that you have weighed up all the evidence before the end.

14 October 2010 at 20:45  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Davis said in response to caedmonscat implicitly denying that atheism was responsible:

‘As you well know the “murder of millions” was done in the name of nationalism and political ideology not secular atheism (I assume that you are referring to Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot).

Have we really sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men such as caedmonscat?

15 October 2010 at 07:54  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Mr Singh said

Have we really sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men such as caedmonscat?

I thought we were debating with a cat albeit an intelligent one but still a cat. Perhaps Mr Singh you too are of the animal kind, a parrot perhaps. Your repetition of the same points lead me to this conclusion.

15 October 2010 at 10:03  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Graham Davis @ 10.03, your reply to D Singh is a credit to you, very funny.

Notwithstanding the above, I would be interested in your comments on this line from the Glovner's post at 15.37 14/10, being a description of Atheists: 'Their morals and values are not learned or shaped from their lack of belief in the supernatural, they are learned from their experience in life.'

15 October 2010 at 11:12  
Anonymous Caedmon's Cat said...

@Graham Davis

I am indeed an intelligent and well-mannered cat who has been well-taught by his master. I also recognise the futility in continuing this discussion with you for this reason:
Although I know and understand very well the fundamental premise of what you are saying and the reasons why you say it, you and your co-religionist TheGlovner don’t have the first clue about the basis of what we (i.e. Cranmer, Mr Singh, Len and myself) are saying. This is not to patronise you – please don’t think we want to do that - it is a simple fact. Although the Christian faith is a reasonable faith (“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord..”), it is a closed book to those who deliberately and persistently oppose its claims upon them. For that reason I will courteously agree to disagree with you and contribute no more to this disputation. On that parting note I wish you the very best.
CC

15 October 2010 at 11:15  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Bluedog

I agree with the Glovner and I would go a bit further and assert that morality is also in part hard wired into humans. As I have mentioned in previous threads, human offspring require many years of nurture or they/we would not survive. Throughout this time parents must place their children’s needs before their own, not because selfless parenting is morally right but because this is the best way of ensuring the continued success of our genes. We are the vehicles by which our genes reproduce and although it is only a by-product of this process morality is an inevitable part of it.

Some say this is a soulless and inhuman description of what we are. It isn’t, it’s like the score of a wonderful piece of music, lifeless until it is performed.

15 October 2010 at 15:09  
Anonymous len said...

Mr Davis,
You seem to live in a very different World from the rest of Humanity?
A world where everyone is reasonable and persuaded by logic and are 'hard wired 'with morality.
I would like to come and live in this Utopia you describe.
What I see is a World that is destroying itself through wars,where greed abounds, a large part of the World is starving while a minority are obscenely rich, people blowing themselves( and others) up ,corruption is rampant(in and out of Government)workers are exploited by unscrupulous bosses,children are working in factories abroad to make a good profit for the shareholders,where is the morality there? Man has rejected God and has declared himself to be'god'.Not in so many words but the implication is there!
When man exchanged the Truth of God for the lies of satan we descended into chaos where Self was exalted at the expense of others.(Every one doing what is right in their own eyes).While God is acknowledged Self is properly positioned ,when God is rejected Self becomes puffed up with pride and becomes accountable only to himself and whatever 'moral system' he feels lines up with his own particular wants and desires.

The satanic 'code' is " do whatever you wilt be the whole of the (satanic) law". Which is the direction we are heading.
Our youth are being indoctrinated into the Occult through the Media
Has no-one noticed this yet?Man in his attempt for'freedom' is placing himself deeper and deeper into bondage.

15 October 2010 at 17:27  
Blogger Mike A said...

Owl,

If indeed "Mr. Havel's words are reminiscent of Carl G. Jungs masterpiece 'Modern man in search of a soul' many, many years ago. he makes perfect sense to anyone who has 'ears to hear'" then I question whether it was in fact a masterpiece. I have absolutely no idea what he is talking about; it is quite meaningless, unless perhaps he means that we are all doomed unless we become Christians. Of this I remain to be convinced.

15 October 2010 at 19:34  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr Graham Davis, the Glovner's point is that morality is learned, he explicitly says so. Yet you maintain that morality it is inherited. Why therefore do different human societies exhibit completely different moral codes? Take for example the profound differences between Islam (of which you vigorously disapprove) and Christianity (with which you grudgingly agree). If morality is hard-wired in humans, how can two human societies reach such different moral conclusions? Is it because morality is racially determined? Your argument leads you in that direction. The Glovner's assertion avoids this trap, and is therefore quite different to your position.

I should stress that I completely disagree with both of you, but I am just exploring your beliefs within your own terms of reference.

15 October 2010 at 22:08  
Anonymous TheGlovner said...

I would say there are certain base behaviours that are hardwired. Survival, passing your genes to another generation etc.

But how we choose to satisfy these behaviours more often than not will come down to our version of morality. If we learn from people we place in positions of authority while we grow and our personal moral laws are being developed that it is alright to hurt people to gain what we want, then our version of morality will allow for this.

Likewise if we learn from these same people while we develop that our wants should not be taken at any cost, then decisions will be taken at points in life where we may not achieve what we want on a personal basis, but we will not compromise our personal moral laws that have been developed over time.

I may be wrong but I think Mr Davis confuses hardwired base instincts with personal moral laws.

This is how I see things anyway, apologies if this does not come across as succient as I originally intended.

16 October 2010 at 10:33  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Mr The Glovner, thank you for your considered response. I do agree that certain life support instincts are hard-wired, which is why we are having this conversation. But I struggle with the idea that each individual can successfully re-invent the moral wheel within their own lifetime. My reason for saying this is that so many of the best lessons in morality are counter-intuitive and require the individual to put him/herself in a secondary position to others, be it partner/family/society rather than self.

What I find intensely annoying in the atheist position is their claim that they alone are free-thinkers, and that those of us holding religious beliefs are subservient donkeys. For my part I regard this assertion as not only arrogant and outrageously conceited but devoid of the humility necessary to survive and prosper in our society. If you think you know it all, your own capacity for critical thought is likely to be dangerously inhibited. I am yet to be persuaded that the atheist position is in anyway independent and believe it is firmly based on the moral capital of our Judeo-Christian society. Depleting this capital has a certain immature thrill but is ultimately self-defeating.

I share your apparent concerns with what I perceive to be the inevitable conclusions of Mr Davis idea about hereditary morality. It is an idea which is profoundly and dangerously wrong. I am surprised that Mr Davis has not followed his beliefs through to their logical conclusion.

For my part I will stick to my version of Christianity. I don't think I will ever learn enough in my own lifetime to surpass the accumulated wisdom of the Judeo-Christian inheritance. Call me dumb if you wish but I need a moral datum.

16 October 2010 at 22:57  

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