Friday, October 24, 2008

Can America survive devoid of religious principle?

Over at Dr. Yeagley has an interesting Journal entry posted which I read quickly this morning and submitted the following comment to:

TM writes:

Interesting post.

A comparison/contrast of the leading principles which have marked the government of the People of America since they first began colonizing the continent in the early 1600s might be helpful:

1. God's principle of individuality vs. modern liberalism's godless individuality, i.e., "extreme individualism."

2. The Christian principle of self-government vs. the liberal/libertarian Christless version of 'self-government', in the latter case an unrestrained self-indulgence called "self-determination."

3. The American Heritage of Christian Character vs. the liberal denial and rewrite of the same, i.e., whatever, if any, connection between the historic faith of Americans and the greatness of the Republic exists, is at most negligible. America is an idea; an idea not unique to any people or any faith. Genuine orthodox Christianity is a perversion of and destructive to the universal idea that is America.

4. Conscience is the most sacred of all property vs. the liberal principle that conscience, whenever it guides one to a conclusion not congenial with the principles of liberalism, is an oppressive restraining influence on 'free' spirits, which children must be taught to violate at a very early age.

5. The Christian form of our government vs. liberalism's radical "secular state", the latter of which claims to deny the existence and legitimacy of moral governance, an easily demonstrated palpably false claim.

6. Local self-government vs. an all-powerful centralized government -- power emanates from the national authority, not the other way around.

7. The Christian principle of American political union, i.e., reciprocal and centrifugal federalism and voluntary union vs. liberalism's government by judiciary and forced political union.

What it all comes down to in the end, though, is worldview, which is the reason I often state "worldview is everything," meaning a person's, and by extension a nation's and a government's worldview ultimately determines the way each conducts his/its affairs, whether this clear fact is recognizable to some or not. Whatever it is, everyone has one (a worldview) and cannot not vie for its institution at every level of government, and always on moral grounds, spurious or otherwise. In other words, whatever their particular worldview instructs them is right (moral) and wrong (immoral) will invariably dictate what form of government they are most attached to. The Federal Representative Constitutional Republic that our founders created is, as John Adams said, wholly inadequate any other than a religious and a moral people.

A frequent commenter there who goes by the moniker "ecology" chooses to answer this way:

Well I do not know about this having to be religious thing. Like who is going to tell me that I am not the right religion and am not "moral". I will just load a round into the chamber and tell you to f*** off. I do not think you have to be any of these mainstream religions to be "moral". In fact I find many reigious people to be covetous and fake. Liars living a lie with cult like tendencies. People need to be raised humble and with a connection to the land and reality. Cheap oil and the new world resources have made us bloated and pudgy. We are basically one massive cargoist cult.

Yes, many self professed religious people are liars and fakes and hypocrites, no one is disputing that. But not all religious people are liars and fakes and hypocrites, at least these are not their defining characteristics, unless we're talking about a religion like Islam which enjoins its followers to lie and fake and engage the act of hypocrisy. I find that many non-religious folks are liars and fakes and hypocrites, so it seems that both religious and non-religious folks have something in common after all, i.e., our common humanities and fallen natures.

Ecology simply makes the common error of missing the big picture. And while I know it's not pc to question someone's patriotism unless it is on the grounds of a rejection and denial of the all-encompassing ideology of liberalism and its principles, I prefer to take my cues from the wisdom of founding fathers such as George Washington, et al:


In his Farewell Speech, George Washington said:

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness - these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?

And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.

Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." (emphasis mine)

Now, you personally may not be particularly inclined, as some are, to labor to overthrow all religious influence in America (so long as it is Christianity), I do not and cannot know. But you nonetheless "labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness" when you argue that, in direct opposition to Mr. Washington, morality can be maintained without religion. Do you also claim the tribute of patriotism as you labor to subvert these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens? If so it is all in vain.

If this offends your sensibilities that I would dare question another American's patriotism, and particularly on these grounds, then I guess you'll just have to get over it. Ecology, like so many liberals (and nominal conservatives) these days, boldly ignores the wisdom of our eminent founders, throwing caution to the wind as he indulges the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion; that liberty and independency and genuine Republican government can be maintained without both, and this he does as he instructs us that we should teach our children humility and connect them to reality. Well okie dokie.

Once more, he and others like him lack the perspective of a whole view, which is to say that his approach to this subject (and any other) is a part-to-whole approach which he was unwittingly taught during his formidable years, and continues to unwittingly embrace and apply, his self-styled humility and connection to reality notwithstanding. It's understandable and really serves to illustrate the point; the point being that an irreligious society cannot be a moral society; that an immoral society cannot be a free society. I know, I know, that's a complete departure from the conventional wisdom. But if you believe otherwise, then I'd strongly suggest that you open your eyes and take a good look around you.