Skip to comments.Conservatives, Too, Undergo Secular Indoctrination
Posted on 04/03/2018 6:02:26 AM PDT by Kaslin
Many years ago, I attended a dinner at a wealthy man's New York City condo with, among others, one of the most prominent and influential conservatives in American life. I admired this man then and I admire him now (he has since passed on). He was a major force for good in America.
At one point, the subjects of God and religion came up, and I mentioned how essential God is to morality -- that without God, morality is subjective, a matter of personal or communal opinion. Having debated atheist scholars, all of whom agreed with this not-very-audacious observation, I was quite surprised when this prominent conservative took strong issue with me: God is morally unnecessary, he stated with some passion -- why would any educated person think otherwise?
This was my first confrontation -- I was a young man at the time -- with the unsettling realization that to be a conservative did not necessarily mean being religious. Until that time, I had naively assumed that it did.
I thought so for three reasons:
First, all the religious -- God-based, Bible-based, religiously active -- people I knew or studied were conservative. I grew up an Orthodox Jew in the yeshiva world, home to some liberals, many conservatives and no leftists.
Second, in American terms, the American conservative I most admired, William F. Buckley Jr., the founder and publisher of National Review, was a deeply religious Catholic.
Third, America was founded on religious -- specifically Judeo-Christian -- principles. Wouldn't a conservative seek to conserve all of America's basic principles?
It is a testament to the power of our secular education -- primary school through university -- that it has successfully secularized students from conservative homes almost as well as students from liberal and left-wing homes. Most well-educated conservatives have embraced secular values and made peace with a secular and godless America just as much as have well-educated leftists.
One has to wonder what secular conservatives do with statements such as this famous one of John Adams: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
And what do they do when they read George Washington's Farewell Address, in which he said, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports"?
I think the answer is they do what liberal and left-wing secularists do: either ignore these statements or regard them as a quaint aspect of the founders' thinking.
Here are some questions for secular conservatives:
Do you think America will be able to prosper -- or even survive -- as the nation you love if the American people abandon God and religion?
Do you think the West will be able to do so?
What do you believe will give future generations of Americans meaning in the way religion has until now?
With regard to God and religion, how do you differ from left-wing secularists?
What book(s) do you believe ought to replace the Bible as providers of wisdom to the American people?
Yesterday, my book "The Rational Bible," a 500-page commentary on the book of Exodus, was published. It is probably the biggest surprise of my life that, as of this writing, it ranks No. 2 on Amazon. Not No. 2 among religious books; No. 2 among all books sold in America. If there was one book I have written that I never entertained hopes of becoming a best-seller, this was it.
I think the primary explanation is a yearning among many Americans -- particularly conservatives, and particularly young people -- for meaning and wisdom, neither of which their godless upbringing and education provided. Even if it was conservative.
Only a couple of times have I ever had the opportunity to really ask a non-believing conservative what they based their moral universe on. One had no real answer and didn’t even try, the other said that his world view was based on right and wrong, not God.
When I tried to ask him who decides what was right or wrong, he answered that people know what is right or wrong naturally. He then started some drivel about evolutionary selection of altruism. But the conversation must have made an impression on him, just a few years later he called me and told me that he had become a Christian, and that he had looked me up because of the talks we had had.
Do you think America will be able to prosper -- or even survive -- as the nation you love if the American people abandon God and religion? No.
Do you think the West will be able to do so? No, especially not California... ;-)
What do you believe will give future generations of Americans meaning in the way religion has until now? From the standpoint of how our government should be run, I think the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution would be a good start. From the standpoint of personal meaning, nothing can replace a belief in a higher power.
With regard to God and religion, how do you differ from left-wing secularists? I think freedom of religion should rank above freedom from religion in all government policies and court decisions.
What book(s) do you believe ought to replace the Bible as providers of wisdom to the American people? Nothing can replace the Bible. Although, if someone insists on eschewing the Bible I would recommend they read "God Bless YOu Mr. Rosewater", by Kurt Vonnegut, and take its message to heart...
Saying that God anchors an objective morality is a rather shallow view. All that that's saying is that God agrees with himself.
To say that God is good compares Him with a seemingly outside, objective standard. Otherwise we're just saying that God is God. That said, if God is the definition of goodness, then there is an objective Standard by which we should measure ourselves.
It may seem a paradox that a standard which is measured against God is the standard by which God is measured, but such is the nature of most theology.
This would certainly not address anyone's individual salvation, but our society could certainly survive and prosper if that were the law of the land.
I also think requiring everyone to follow 5 of the ten commandments would also go a long way towards maintaining our American way of life, without imposing an undue “religious burden” on anyone.
In case anyone is wondering, these are the five I have in mind: Honor your father and your mother; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; You shall not covet.
Of course, most of our existing “secular” laws are based on these commandments, so saving our society would be as simple as enforcing our existing laws.
‘Do you think America will be able to prosper — or even survive — as the nation you love if the American people abandon God and religion? No.’
there is absolutely no reason the country cannot prosper without religion; none whatsoever...it was built upon Enlightenment principles of freedom and liberty, both personal and societal, as opposed to a church/state rule, which decries the notion of free action...what will destroy this country is extra-Constitutional activity, not extra-religious...
‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.’
this references the concept of self control, both doing to others what one would like, and not doing to others what one would not like...the lack of self control has been the most inimical force in all of humanity’s sad history...
Well, a quick think makes me think one can not be conservative and atheist, as conservatives believe our inalienable rights come from God. If not from God, the those rights are not inalienable. Therefore, some leftist loon decides to subjugate every unarmed person on a whim after his moral position shifted. No thanks. That is the only way I can reconcile it.
Furthermore, the word "church" was absent from both the question and my answer. Had the question been "Do you think America will be able to prosper... ...if the American people abandon the church?" then I would answer in the affirmative.
I'm also a Libertarian-leaning conservative, and have been for my entire adult life. I believe secular conservatives are a significant portion of the Republican party.
A conservative who has no faith is not protecting what has made America great.
Without God, America will not be long for this world.
Our system of government is predicated on the people it governs being a Christian polity who has the correct understanding that rights come from God. As John Adams stated, it is inadequate to any other. History shows that secular or pagan people have to be governed by force and terror- Robespierre appealed to reason while severing heads, for example. It is why the Federal judiciary’s decision to ban Christianity from school was a terrible blow to our nation.
who’s definition or view of what that is.......
some one can “enlighten” you of your wallet,
“enlighten” your body or mind by abusing you - it surely would enlighten your mind to new thinking, dealing with things you never thought of before.
both events would make the doer feel freedom and liberty to do as they pleased.
not trying to be mean toward you but enlightenment or principles of it are not a set thing - can be interpreted many ways and that is not a good basis of governing a group of people. Governing needs fixed guidelines so people know whether they are within or without of them - just like the bible gives us, two parents should be in agreement on how to raise a child/children, a business needs set guidelines - enlightenment is individual to each person and no way to have true peace amongst more than just one person because no two people can think or experience or see any thing exactly the same - because God created all people similar but unique.
No nation prospers that abandons God.
Good for him.
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