This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Russel Blackford reviews Attack of the Theocrats

Viveca's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Viveca

Comment 18 by AtheistEgbert :

@Viveca, . . . I encourage both theoretical and practical approaches to politics. To go forth promoting policies with no theoretical basis is invite incoherence, inconsistencies and a long term strategic failure.

Christianity has survived over 2,000 years without any "theoretical coherence", and as i've already said, neither "multiculturalism" or "political correctness" (to name the most recent moral/political manifestations to dominate our culture) are "theoretically coherent". It all depends on what level of "theoretical" detail you're after. Nominally, the West affirms equality and free speech, but in practise it affirms no such thing. How much "theoretical" underpinning do we need?

On the face of it, calling for religious belief to enjoy no more conversational and legal privileges than non-religiously derived beliefs should be axiomatic for anti-theocrats who believe in the principle of equality. But as soon as one proposes such a thing one is immediately abandoned and stigmatised by most of the population (including most atheists who visit this site!!!). Just look at the paltry turnout for the recent "Free Expression" rally in London. People don't want equality, they want "inclusiveness", they don't want egalitarian practises, they want "diversity", they don't want free speech, they want "community cohesion", they want Faith Schools . . . etc etc etc. And the reasons why they want these things has nothing whatsoever to do with them having a knowledge and allegiance to "theoretical coherence". Quite the contrary.

Take for example the failure of state communism. Communists were convinced that they were right, and that they were rational, but the system they created was anything but rational. State Communism failed because it was theoretically flawed, and could not learn from its own mistakes. It was a belief-based system that grew more and more absurd.

The reasons for the (relative) collapse of "communism" are complex, but the "reason" you're speaking about here is primarily economic, and not moral or civic. And contemporary western capitalism appears to be reliant upon China to a great extent. Where's the "rationality" now? There's no inevitable telos towards which history is steering us, no invisible hand leading us towards "reason". There's no reason to think that "the good and the just" will inevitably prevail, and history tells us that they rarely do. Why should the present be any different? If I was a defender and promoter of religious privilege (which I most certainly am not!) I would feel very secure and confident at present, because all around me I see that even the majority of non-believers don't want to actually abolish religious privilege. I would also be encouraged by the fact that among the very small minority of people who do actually want to abolish religious privilege too few of them seem to be politically savvy.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 00:14:41 UTC | #931586