2015 February 12 Thursday
Liberal Humanism And Christian Morality

We have imported a number of competing moral beliefs. How is this going to turn out? The future is going to be an adventure.

True story: A few years back, I sat across the table in a north Dallas steakhouse from a local Muslim CAIR leader who objected by my having called the teachings of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, “violent.” I responded that Qaradawi taught that it was permissible for Muslim men to beat their wives, and that homosexuals should be stoned to death. “That’s violence,” I said.

He denied it. “You call it violence,” he shot back. “We call it protecting our families.”

This comes up in an essay by Rod Dreher about how Barack Obama either assumes or at least wants us to believe that the moral beliefs of liberal humanitarianism are the same as the moral beliefs of Christianity. Rod, a practicing Eastern Orthodox Christian, disagrees.

The point is that in his speech, the president seems to believe that liberal humanitarianism is the same thing as normative Christianity, and indeed normative religion. By his reckoning, a religion that “justifies the taking of innocent lives” and “oppresses” the weak and the few, and whose god “condones terror,” or justifies “oppression, violence, or hatred” cannot be true religion.

There is certainly a strong element in secular liberal thought that holds that secular liberalism is just as good and moral as religion (and by religion they mean upper class New England Protestant Christian sects). They claim to hold dear all the key moral beliefs that a Christian must embrace and therefore see themselves as superior to Christians: moral goodness without false beliefs about the supernatural.

Faced with any other religion secular upper class Western thinkers assume those other religions have to have the same moral beliefs. So when anyone from those other religions does not hold the same beliefs as upper class New England secularists are just bad followers of those other religions and not sufficiently educated.

Liberal secularists who think this way sound very foolish when faced with, say, the latest Islamic terrorist attack ("not true Islam", "hijacking of Islam by extremists", and other errant nonsense). But I think there is a strategy at work: they want to define what is legitimate and to a great deal, at least in some Western countries, they succeed by domination of the press, academia, and judicial benches. However, the West's influence on the rest of the world is in decline. So their moral assertions are losing power.

Also see Dreher's Rawlsian Opposition to Gay Marriage. My reaction to that piece is that even if the writer Dreher quotes is correct about how John Rawls reasoned it does not matter. Rawlsian thought will be revised to meet the preferences of those who defend and promote left-liberal moral thinking in the West.

Liberals will face a profound challenge to their assumptions in the coming decades. But they are still ruling the West today and their position hasn't started to weaken yet. The weakening will come from both demographic changes in Europe and from research into human nature. A further undermining of their position might come from offspring genetic engineering if a substantial fraction of parents opt for human 2.0 choices that result in unliberal dispositions.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2015 February 12 05:31 PM 


Comments
JB said at February 13, 2015 10:18 AM:

by religion they mean upper class Protestant [read: white] Christian sects. . . So then anyone of those other religions . . . not sufficiently educated.

Is this how they treated Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson? Is it how they treat any Christian (and, like you, by Christian they mean white) who deviates in the least from total subservience? Anti-racism is a code word for anti-white, indeed genocide against whites, that isn't just a theme it's a literal historical truth. Liberal support for Muslims has absolutely nothing to do with conflating Islam with Unitarianism and with Liberalism, it has every thing to do with the fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not white and are anti-West - the enemy of their enemy is their friend. It's race and not religion. In any conflict with whites and non-whites, whites are always wrong, this is the central belief of liberalism. The minority members of this coalition are straight racists, so are the extreme left white ideologues. The rest just go along for perks. Here's an eloquent (slightly cleaned up) explanation from a poster who called himself Oscar the Grinch:

“what they want is a quite deliberate double standard where blacks are allowed the racial consciousness whites are denied”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Stop complaining about a double standard, and see the truth.

For the left, there is no “double standard”; there is a single standard, universally applied, and it is this:

F*** you, whitey. No matter what the facts are, no matter what the circumstances are, just f*** you, whitey. Die, white man.

That is the core of their belief. They are not your loyal opposition, with whom you can argue in good faith. They are your deadly ENEMIES, who want you exterminated from the face of the earth. And they don’t care about any abstract principles; their only true principle is to exterminate YOU. They are more than happy to pretend that there are outside standards or principles of fair play, because so long as you believe that, they have the advantage.

Remember: whenever a leftist/liberal/anti-racist opens his mouth, all he is really saying is: Die, white man. F*** off and DIE.

Jim said at February 13, 2015 11:26 AM:

I've read that Jimmy Carter thought he could work with the Ayatollah Khomeini because both he and the Ayatollah were religious.

Tradeoff said at February 14, 2015 6:44 AM:

As human beings we're cognitively flawed to assume that others are like us, and this is irrespective of any kind of political beliefs.
For politics then, it's probably better to have a Sonuvabitch leader whose cognitive biases assume everyone else is also a Sonuvabitch, than to have a wishy-washy compassionate thinker who assumes everyone is like himself.

Mike Street Station said at February 14, 2015 7:25 AM:

Liberal Humanism is an outgrowth of the old mainline Protestant tradition, but it's left those religious roots behind as it evolves into a secular faith that is mutable depending upon the interests of the elites at any one time.

Check it out said at February 18, 2015 5:49 PM:

"They claim to hold dear all the key moral beliefs that a Christian must embrace and therefore see themselves as superior to Christians: moral goodness without false beliefs about the supernatural."

No, Randall. The "key moral beliefs" as you call them are not the creation or possession of Christianity or any other religion. Before Christianity or even Judaism existed, there were codes that forbade killing and stealing, even from the time of the Neanderthal. It is called Ethics and they are older than religion. Human Ethic arises from the natural environment in which human life evolved. That's why Ethics can be taught in school as "Professional Ethics" not "professional morals". That means that if you're a surgeon and leave a piece of cotton inside your patient's wound, you are going against ETHICS -either because of negligence, lack of know-how or ill will- and everybody who is mentally healthy understands that. If you are a lawyer and keep deceiving your client into the unreal belief that he/she might have a shot at winning the case while not really, in order just to get more money from him, you are acting against ETHICS. Religious morality has borrowed some things from natural ETHICS in a sick society, like "Thou shall not kill".

Ethics is the ability to REGULATE OUR ACTIONS ACCORDING TO REASON AND FREEDOM. Ethics has to do with RESPECTING A PERSON'S DIGNITY AND AUTONOMY.

Morals is the ability to act -not regulate- according to an objective or purpose we subjectively consider ad "good", like pleasing a god or continue somehow living after you stop living.

ETHICS IS OBJECTIVE. MORALS ARE SUBJECTIVE. Atheists and agnostics do not need a religion that tell them what is right or wrong. Any sane homo sapiens knows and understands it whether he/she holds a belief. Belief is irrelevant.

There can be completely moral actions that are completely unethical and there can be perfectly ethical actions that are very immoral.

Examples: Cruzades and inquisition: very moral to try to save your "soul" and the "soul" of the infidel you are killing or torturing so that his "soul" may be pleasing -or not insulting- to God. But a very unethical action. Eating a pork chop and having a beer is something perfectly moral to a christian, but to a muslim is completely immoral, because their religion forbids eating pork and drinking alcohol. It is SUBJECTIVE.

Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide when a person has a very painful degenerative and uncurable disease is perfectly ETHICAL, because it ATTENDS AND RESPECTS A PERSON'S DIGNITY AND AUTONOMY. Oh, but it is so immoral for christians and muslims who feel the person should die in agonizing pain and decay.

Randall, try, just try to understand the difference between OBJECTIVE and SUBJECTIVE.

WHAT IS OBJECTIVE HAS TO DO WITH KNOWLEDGE AND REASON.
WHAT IS SUBJECTIVE HAS TO DO WITH OPINION.

"Do not kill just because you feel like it": OBJECTIVE. Any mentally sane human understands it wheter white, black, indian, asian, american, danish, brazilian, mexican, etc. But christians and muslims seem not to. They need a "God" or more accurately a religious authority to tell you what you cannot figure out as homo sapiens. That can only mean that they are not mentally sane fully.

Love thy God above all things: SUBJECTIVE. And specially hard for anybody who doesn't know "God". We atheists and agnostics do not love, nor hate "God", because we know as much as you do about him -or her-, which is NOTHING.

That's why stupid catholic christians can't even agree with the other stupid protestant chritsitans whether the fucken cookie turns into actual human flesh, whether you have "free will" or your life is "predestinated", whether a woman can be a virgin after giving birth, and other idiotic baroquenesses.

Oh, but like I've told you here so many times before: you and some others here are so fucken slow!!


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