Skip to comments.In the same boat, paddling all ways (STEINBERG ALERT)
Posted on 01/23/2012 10:42:42 AM PST by Chi-townChief
The Western world no longer aspires, as did the Western Europe of Dantes day, to be a place of a single faith, A.N. Wilson writes confidently in his recent book, Dante in Love.
Really? It doesnt? Has Western society given up that dream? Because many in the United States particular corner of civilization seem not to have gotten the memo.
Maybe its the scientist in me, but Im always looking for what Einstein called the Theory of Everything one formula that explains the world, and clinging to the hope that society will someday be populated entirely by your co-religionists seems to explain a lot of our current political discourse.
Think about it. Religion in the West is voluntary, in theory. You get it from your parents, but you keep it, or not, of your own free will. You can tithe, be chaste, renounce homosexuality, avoid contraception, condemn abortion and pray three times a day five times a day, facing Mecca, if you so desire. Nobody stops you, nobody forces you.
This enormous bounty the dream of so many oppressed faiths for centuries is not good enough for some. Believing their faiths to be drops of Truth from the lips of God, they want no, they insist that everybody else practice their religion too, compelled by law if need be. That society is steadily marching in the opposite direction toward a tapestry of varying beliefs, all given equal respect doesnt even register.
I dont go to church, so I cant speak to whether this is a point of discussion among the faithful. It should be there should be a diversity prayer, thanking God for making us in so many varieties (that is Gods handiwork, right? Or did He make just you, and the others are unfortunate mistakes?)
My guess is there is no such prayer. Because coercing others is so popular, a reflection of power any group that feels numerous enough to compel unbelievers to comply, tries to. It neednt be a church. Muslims do it. Jews too, though typically too tiny a minority to be tempted you never heard Joe Lieberman musing dreamily on a Kosher nation. But should the opportunity arise, we take the bait, and you have ultra-Orthodox in Israel spitting on girls. Youd think centuries of being on the wrong end of that spit would give them pause. But no . . .
Those who believe in religion-by-force have a ready answer these tenets are not mere religious mandates, but what is right. Both Gods truth and good policy. Straight marriage is harmed if gays can do it; the fact that this supposed damage does not manifest itself in any concrete fashion isnt on the table for discussion. They believe it, on faith.
Thats the trouble with faith, the belief in things without tangible reason. While it can enrich your own personal life I believe my dead grandmother is smiling down from heaven, guiding my destiny it sours if you try to force it upon others, if I try to get the constitution of the state of Illinois to reflect the wishes of my dead grandmother, smiling down from heaven, guiding our destinies.
Churches attempt to gloss over this free will/compulsion gap. Consider church outrage following the government trying to require Catholic organizations to buy their workers health insurance that pays for contraception. Even though no one morally opposed to contraception will be forced to use it, even the offer insults church leaders. It implies they dont live in a Catholic world, which stop the presses they dont.
Most Catholics of reproductive age use contraception banned by their church. So why should the government conspire with official Catholicism to thwart them? Is that governments job? If the church cant inspire its own adherents to follow its rules, how can it imagine that the government should?
So that is todays question. Is religion voluntary? Should some faiths have their quirks encoded into law, a favor to those who aspire to see their beliefs reflected everywhere they look? Many Christians, maybe because their experience beyond their communities is so limited, seem to believe they will eventually force society through their faith, plus the aid of God, of course, and the authority of law to bow to their beliefs.
How long will they harbor that aspiration? Can they ever let it go? And must the rest of the country indulge them?
Whenever some leftist secular atheist tells me how much horror has been committed in the name of Christianity throughout history, I simply point out that secular atheism killed over 100 million people in the 20th century in the Communist nations.
This is essentially what the author is arguing for. What is homosexual marraige to you if you are straight? OK, but then why not polygamy? Why not polyandry? Why not child brides ala the Jeffs Mormon offshoot? Why not cousin marraige ala Pakistan? Why not female genital mutilation?
We need to acknowledge and cherish Western Civilization and Christianity, along with Christian morality as the foundations of our society. Liberals hate that idea, but offer no working alternative.
The wreckage of the progresive destruction of our common heritage and morality is all around us, but Steinberg argues for more.
As Michael Savage says "liberalism is a mental disorder".
At the present time (since 01/20/09) America is in the same boat, propelled by two oarsmen who are both rowing in a counterclockwise manner. We have one oarsman facing the front of the boat, and rowing his paddle off the right side of the boat from the bow to the stern. The other oarsman, facing the rear of the boat on the other side, is rowing his paddle from the stern to the bow. Thus, we, the passengers, are all getting dizzy from being rowed in circles.