Monday, April 26, 2010

Religion and Reason in the 21st Century, Philosophically Speaking

Stanley Fish on religion, but from a philosophical viewpoint, not a theological one. Not precisely about the Founding, but outlines the issues that underlie most of our discussions here, especially where this leaves us in 2010.

[For the record, I'm more with Habermas in his "post-secularism," but Dr. Fish does a fine job of outlining the parameters. To my mind, Habermas ends up paraphrasing George Washington: "And let us with caution..." The more things change, the more they remain the same.]

8 comments:

jimmiraybob said...

Is the point of the post that morality cannot be maintained without religion?

jimmiraybob said...

And I should clarify by asking if there's a distinction between national morality and individual morality?

Tom Van Dyke said...

The point of the post is to have people read Fish on Habermas, to clarify the issues.

And to agree or disagree on the level that they argue, although conclusions are secondary to clarifying the issues.

Pinky said...

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This was an interesting read, Tom. So, thanks for bringing it up.
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Shades of Dostoyevski and the Grand Inquisitor.
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This is a long time running argument.
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It relates to the fact that religion tends to hi-jack philosophical concepts under the rhetoric of the theological and, by so doing, removes the ideas from the secular.
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Do you follow me?
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Pinky said...

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I guess I'm seeing the Grand Inquisitor (the cardinal) as representing religion and Jesus as representing the secular.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

It relates to the fact that religion tends to hi-jack philosophical concepts under the rhetoric of the theological and, by so doing, removes the ideas from the secular.
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Do you follow me?
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I know you always feel I'm picking on you, but I'm afraid that Habermas is saying 100% the opposite---modern post-Christian philosophy secularizes the sacred.

"For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation. Up to this very day there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a post-national constellation, we must draw sustenance now, as in the past, from this substance. Everything else is idle postmodern talk."

As a thoroughly modern man, Habermas is not urging a return to Christianity for the post-Christian West. However, 'rights' and equality are not features of classical philosophy, and weren't invented by modern philosophy either.

Pinky said...

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Tom writes, ...I'm afraid that Habermas is saying 100% the opposite---modern post-Christian philosophy secularizes the sacred.
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Don't be afraid. I know he is saying that. My comment was, It relates to the fact that religion tends to hi-jack philosophical concepts under the rhetoric of the theological and, by so doing, removes the ideas from the secular.
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Are the two comments related or not?
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Certainly they are.
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You misread what I wrote.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

It relates to the fact that religion tends to hi-jack philosophical concepts under the rhetoric of the theological

That's not a fact, that's your opinion, and so far unsupported by any supporting evidence whatsoever.

Are the two comments related or not?
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Certainly they are.


Whatever, man. The only hijacking here is for yet another attack on religion.