Monday, January 12, 2009

"Just Whose Morality Will Govern America?"

James Kennedy's Take on American Morality,
From 1988


The following is an older sermon from D. James Kennedy, founder of Coral Ridge Ministries. Kennedy gives his view of the founding fathers and morality in America.

Part I:


Part II:

6 comments:

bpabbott said...

That all nations have (or must) be founded on a theistic or anti-theistic foundation is a false dichotomy.

The foundations may be atheistic (without a pro-theistic or anti-theistic preference).

For example, a nation might be founded on the notion that individual liberty is the most substantial of its foundations and that it citizens are free to embrace theistic, atheistic, or even anti-theistic ideologies ... or not ideology at all.

Does such a Nation exist? I think so. Singapore is an excellent example ;-)

others?

... I'm baiting you Pinky, please jump in :-)

Pinky said...

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Kennedy's talk is an example of one of the main problems we have in America with religiosity.
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He's got this idea that going back in time is the route to the perfect good for any people. And, if you follow him back in time, his intention is that you will end up in the Garden of Eden where God will come and speak with you every afternoon. Ah, sweet perfection. By the way, that's how Strauss would, most likely, rationalize the situation Kennedy presents. You gotta know that Kennedy had a one track mind--like a lot of people.
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I don't know much about Singapore; but, I can refer you to the Claes Rynn Book. It is a compilation of talks he gave in China.
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How does, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness", fit in to Kennedy's preaching?

Pinky said...

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That's all about the death of history.

Pinky said...

I thought this paragraph was interesting and it may fit in with your question, Ben. It's taken from page 40-41 of this book

"For a better understanding of the classical view, one does well to cast a glance at the kind of egalitarianism which is most characteristically modern. According to Rousseau, through the foundation of society, natural inequality is replace by conventional equality; the social contract which creates society is the basis of morality, of moral freedom or autonomy; but, the practice of moral virtue, the fulfillment of our duties to our fellow men is the one thing needful.. A closer analysis shows that the core of morality is the good will as distinguished from the fulfillment of all duties; the former is equally within the reach of all men, whereas as regards the latter natural inequality necessarily asserts itself. But it cannot be a duty to respect that natural inequality, for morality means autonomy, i.e., not to bow to any law which a man has not imposed upon himself. Accordingly, man’s duty may be said to consist in subjugating the natural within him and outside of him to that in him which alone he owes his dignity, to the moral law. The moral law demands from each virtuous activity, i.e., the full and uniform development of all his faculties and their exercise jointly with others. Such a development is not possible as long as everyone is crippled as a consequence of the division of labor or of social inequality. It is therefore a moral duty to contribute to the establishment of a society which is radically egalitarian and at the same time on the highest level of the development of man. In such a society, which is rational precisely because it is not natural, i.e., because it has won the decisive battle against nature, everyone is of necessity happy if happiness is indeed unobstructed virtuous activity; it is a society which therefore does no longer have any need for coercion. There may be some relics of natural inequality which are transmitted by the natural process of procreation, but they will gradually disappear since, as one can hope, the acquired facilities can also become inherited, to say nothing of human measures which may have to be taken during the transition period in which coercion cannot yet be dispensed with.---"
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As if anyone didn't know, Strauss can be a little difficult to read. It IS his rationalism that gets you down. heh heh heh

bpabbott said...

Pinky,

The passage you pointed out to me is thought provoking. I'll try to read more.

The book is available in a limited sense on Google, see page 40 for example.

Regarding my earlier "baiting" comment, reading it again, I don't think I express myself clearly. My intention was to set the mood for your entrance.

My Singapore example was of a Nation that was not founded on theistic or anti-theistic principles. I did not intend to imply that Singapore is founded on pricinples of liberty (if there was an over-riding principle it was free trade ... an economic principle).

In any event, you did provide the answer to my question "others?" when you wrote; ``How does, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness", fit in to Kennedy's preaching?`` ;-)

Pinky said...

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Leo Strauss is the inveterate professor. In order to get the best understanding of what it is he is saying in almost any paragraph, the reader/student should start at the beginning.
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For example, you referred to page 40 which I quoted above. Go back to page 38 to get a better grasp at what he is saying. I think you will see how page 40 relates to Kennedy's preachings. Strauss's style is rationality and that seems, to me, to relate to the way he deconstructs almost everything. He is always the teacher. He believes it is his responsibility to teach, especially political leaders. I think he teaches that morality transcends religion; and that it comes from men who overcome nature and are born leaders.
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This is the book I recommend for starters on Strauss.