Friday, June 24, 2011

John Jay, John Locke and their common objection to toleration for Catholics

I've been reading through The Myth of American Religious Freedom by David Sehat (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011) (full review to follow after I've finished the book and thought on it for a bit). One of the interesting points raised thus far in the book is the troubled history of religious liberty for Roman Catholics in the colonial and revolutionary periods in our nation's history. It is well-established that notable Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had little respect for the Roman Catholic Church, seeing the Church as both as a staunch defender of orthodox trinitarianism and as a barrier to a rationalized and largely de-supernaturalized re-imaging of the Christian faith. And it bears noting that those two Founders were right on both counts.

Sehat discusses some of the deeper roots of anti-Catholicism in early America, and he pays particular attention to the prime secular justification for anti-Catholic prejudice at the time, namely that Catholics, due to their spiritual allegiance to the Pope, could not be trusted to be faithful citizens. This concern was so strong, Sehat notes, that it lead to specific language being included in New York's 1777 constitution limiting religious freedom so as not to "justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State." This wording reflected the concerns of John Jay, to limit the religious freedom enjoyed by Roman Catholics. As quoted at length by Sehat, Jay spoke out in defense of religious freedom, but did not believe that basic civil liberties should be extended to Roman Catholics. As Jay put it, liberty should be granted to everyone,
Except the professors of the religion of the church of Rome, who ought not to hold lands in, or be admitted to a participation of the civil rights enjoyed by the members of this State, until such a time as the said professors shall appear in the supreme court of this State, and there most solemnly swear, that they verily believe in their consciences, that no pope, priest or foreign authority on earth, hath power to absolve the subjects of this State from their allegiance to the same. And further, that they renounce and believe to be false and wicked, the dangerous and damnable doctrine, that the pope, or any other earthly authority, have power to absolve men from sins, described in, and prohibited by the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ; and particularly, that no pope, priest or foreign authority on earth, hath power to absolve them from the obligation of this oath.
Any Catholic who had so sworn such an oath, of course, would by its terms have to affirm doctrines contrary to those of the Roman Catholic Church. Specifically, a Catholic who complied with Jay's proposal would have to deny one of the sacraments of the Church (confession), and would have to deny the power of the Pope to release people from vows and oaths. No Catholic, then or now, could in good conscience swear to such requirements.

As Sehat notes, "Jay's problem with Roman Catholicism was similar to the views held by many Protestants."   Jay viewed Catholicism as conflating spiritual and secular authority, providing too much institutional power to the Roman Catholic Church to intervene in civil affairs.  Fortunately for Catholics in New York and for liberty in that state, Jay's efforts to restrict the rights of Catholics  only garnered the assent of a little more than a third of the members of the New York constitutional convention.   Jay did, however manage to include language in the New York constitution that, to again quote Sehat, "suffused New York's guarantee of religious liberty with Protestant sectarianism, in spirt of its apparent separation of church and state."

There was much history within the English political and religious landscape that fueled Jay's attempt to restrict the religious and civic liberty of Catholics in New York.  Jay's concerns about papal authority to release people from oaths stretched  back to the "Bloody Question" that was posed to Catholic martyrs slaughtered for their faith under Queen Elizabeth I.  And even that ardent defender of religious liberty, John Locke, drew the line at toleration for Roman Catholics, as the original text of his Letter Concerning Toleration indicates.  And Locke's objection was in substance the same as Jay's -- a concern that Catholics would not be faithful to their nation in light of their obedience to the Pope.

This objection has largely disappeared from American civic life, thanks in large part to the patriotism and service that Roman Catholics have demonstrated for this country.  In addition, Catholics have run for high office throughout the country, and served with distinction in public life.  Yet while most anti-Catholicism has retreated into the shadows, it is important to note the widespread and deep anti-Catholicism that was present among much of the populace during the Founding period, and to recall how often religious liberty was sacrificed on the altar of prejudice.

66 comments:

Jason Pappas said...

Mark, what do you think of the argument that the objection to Catholicism wasn’t an objection to the religion qua religion but a objection to the political aspects of the Church? For example, Locke, in this 1st Essay on Toleration, worries about subversion of the state but has no problems with the sacraments of the Church and other practices. Locke spends few words on Catholicism and a single paragraph on atheism. Given current affairs one suspects he has to weigh in on these matters but the general tenor of his argument would be to tolerate private faiths and beliefs. He argues extensively and powerfully and quite graphic at times. The "limits" of toleration are given very briefly and they failed to preempt criticism.

Looking forward hearing more about the book.

By the way, I recently learned that Switzerland had a ban on Jesuit activity until 1973. Well, we beat Switzerland in toleration!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jason,
That is an interesting fact about Switzerland! and to think that Switzerland is known for its toleration.....

Mark in Spokane said...

Jay's views aren't just to the political aspects of the Church but also to the sacrament of confession as well, which has always been a start avenue of attack against Catholicism. That's a tell that Jay's problems weren't just political but were at root theological as well.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jay may have felt that the separation of Church and State was such that the State and Church were to be separate entities, if there was to be religious liberty, or conscience. The State was the one that determined "proper behavior", not the Church...His concern was the "legal" aspect of a citizen and the proper role of government to not interfere with issues of conscience. The "liberty of conscience" could not be held, if one was a Catholic, because one was told what one was to believe about sin or proper bahavior.

Tim Polack said...

"Yet while most anti-Catholicism has retreated into the shadows..."

I think this needs some serious qualifying. I would posit that Anti-Catholicism is one of the only remaining acceptable biases in our country today. And while it has continued to subside in strength since the days of Adams and Jeffereson, it is nonetheless still very strong, often just below the surface. See here and here for example. But politically, Catholics have been able to make rather remarkable headway, often times though, I would say unfortunately for them and the country, at the expense of their professed church.

Tim Polack said...

With that being said, I did mean to say I enjoyed the post and look forward to the book review, a book I expect to read along with John Fea's.

Jason Pappas said...

I wasn't aware of Jay's religious abhorrence of Catholicism. It puts the quote from Federalist #2, that I posted here on 6/15, in a new light.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I don't think it is a matter of prejuidice, as it concerns our government.
Pinky shared an article by Max Weber, who surmised there were three kinds of government/authority, charismatic, traditional and legal/rational.
Our government was to be a legal or rational authority, not a traditional or charismatic one.

The Catholic Church is a Traditional authority, while the Protestant is a charismatic one.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Jason,
You are pointing out our "cultural unity", which is traditional and charismatic. Let those that want to use such authority, do so, but I think that is belies the basis of our Constitutional authority, which is rational.

Isn't this how we got "the Christian Nation", through mythologizing our history? Isn't this what drives the "Tea Party" mantra? But, what of the persecution that it engenders, like the Westboro Baptist Church toward the gay service member at his funeral? Or the Koran burning minster?

Do we really want to go there? Isn't that what drives revolutions, leaving a vacumn for dictators? Isn't this kind of unity what drives the "witch hunts", heresy trials, etc.?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

But, then, without freedom of speech and free of conscience, we will be oppressed, and limited...

All of us must agree that these values; government, religious liberty, individual rights, and socital values are important to uphold and maintain, if we want to affirm the values that our Founders desired for a free society!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Societal values is really where our society has grown apart...but possible this is due to the diversity of interests that individuals in a free society are allowed to develop and/or pursue...Political persuasion has to do with one's commitment of values and how one sees the world an how it should function...

Pinky said...

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For centuries the Catholic Church acted as though it were the supreme authority on all questions regarding ethical and moral circumstances and events. Such a position was an unbearable fear to a people bent on self governance.
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That's a fear that is being rekindled in the minds of many Americans today as the Religious Right is gaining such a dominating position over our governmental bureaucracy.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

I agree that the Religious Right has power to subvert others in their views. But, as you pointed out; the church, the state, the community, education and social values all are in the condrum of our liberty....I think if people were more aware of the basis of their differences that they might think differently, or at least think through their commitments...toward a certain issue...this is why I'm enjoying the book on "Philosphical Dilemmas" by Washburn....

Jason Pappas said...

An on-going political system requires some shared values. Liberty isn’t found in culturally hostile environments. The concern for knowledge and values is valid. There is a question of how to insure that fundamental values are propagated to the next generation.

Both Adams and Jefferson were early advocates of state-supported universal education. Patrick Henry advocated support for religiously-taught ethical values (if I remember correctly). I have grave reservations of relying on the state to mold the soul of the citizen. Instead one would prefer to rely on the civil virtue of each parent to instill in their children the knowledge, values, and spirit of liberty. After all, parents love and care for their children; they tend to want their children to maintain cherished traditions.

Adams and Jefferson, of course, had no knowledge of mass secular state indoctrination ... at least before the French Revolution!

Speaking of universal state-supported education, wasn't it in the 1840s that this movement gained ground ... just when the Catholic Irish came over in droves.

Pinky said...

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Jason brings up an extremely important issue with this comment: The concern for knowledge and values is valid. There is a question of how to insure that fundamental values are propagated to the next generation.
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Let me just make a speculati8on here as I really don't know the answer to that weighty question.
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From what I've learned about the Founding Era, there was somewhat of a resistance to the strong state constitutions regarding freedom to worship, speech, publishing, and association among some other "freedoms" we just about take without appreciation these days.
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I suppose the general attitude was moving in the direction of personal perogatives with busy bodies being discouraged. But, with the advent of what came to be known as horizontal communication at the close of the nineteenth century, the pendulum started moving back to the earlier circumstance. That brought out the development of some basic values trumping other basic values. So, today we have some very narrow religious values being imposed on the entire society along with some narrowly defined eeconomic values doing the same thing. A backlash of sorts?
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Maybe we need stricter rules regarding how values can be applied to political campaings? Wishful thinking, right?
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Tom Van Dyke said...

So, today we have some very narrow religious values being imposed on the entire society...

You mean like establishing gay marriage in New York?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom, be serious!
Gay marriage isn't imposed on anyone, as it does not limit your right to differ as to choice of marital partner. It only ensures the rights of gays. That these are equal before the law, in their choice of mate. Monogamy is the issue, isn't it? Or is the physical identity more important than an emotional identity? Does one's role and function in society depend on one's physical identity?

Pinky said...

You mean like establishing gay marriage in New York?
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Yes, that's an example. The organized opposition is highly religious on that one and, so much so, a candidates stand on such issues is a test on his or her worthiness to be elected. Right now, Romney is being put to the test on the Right To Life issue.
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We have a legislative process in which all those things can be worked out. If a bill is put on the floor in congress regarding abortion, it can be decided. But, our society is already deeply involved as a result of the beliefs coming out of the Religious Right. Having been raised a Roman Catholic, I'm sure you are well aware of that force.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

For those that differ as to gay marriage, then they can 1.) live in another State that doesn't recognize gay marriage. 2.) understand the issue as a civil one, and not a traditional one. 3.) know that one's personal preference can be chosen in one's religious community.

As to the passing down of values, all parent do this consciously, or unconsciously. Values are picked up through many avenues, not just parenting, and maybe the is the danger in some parents eyes. But, values will differ in a free society. Those that want to segregate their values from the larger context of "world affairs", must do so in their religious communities. Isn't this what sectarianism is about, anyway?

It is interesting that some things that offend me, like reality T.V. shows, don't offend others. And those same others would look aghast at my enjoying "dressing up". Should our outlook be "to each his own"?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Abortion is viewed a murder, pure and simple. This is why there was a limitation to stem cell research, even though it might solve some major questions about diseases.

Those that believe that God is the creator and sustainer of life, will not agree to abortion under any circumstance. Even when the mother's life might be endangered, they would argue that "God" is the over-intender of circumstances, and would think that this was a case to "trust God".

Is a simple cell equal to the full end of that cell's growth? Does potential life equal life itself? At what stage is a life determined to be independent, or viable? Does it matter? Why or why not?

Tom Van Dyke said...

Pinky, the events in NY stand as a counterfactual to your oft-rung bell about theocracy. The Christianists are coming! The Christianists are coming!

Angie, even most pro-life people don't consider all abortion to be murder. It's abortion, and the majority of Americans favor restrictions at some point later in the pregnancy, not a total ban.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom, ]
You obviously don't run in "my circles". BTW, I thought you were Catholic, doesn't that make you a conservative pro-lifer?

Pinky said...

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The Christianists are coming.
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No, they aren't, Tom. They're already here and they are making their voice heard and imposing their beliefs on the rest of society by way of the Republican Party which they control as a major swing vote block. It is a free country and they have every right to do so. I wouldn't not advocate they lose their rights.
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Pinky said...

Uh, I mean I would not advocate they lose their rights.

Pinky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pinky said...

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Blogger Pinky said...

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I think Hanley over at the Bawdy House site has it quite well regarding New York's new legislation.
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Here's the link for those who may have missed it:

http://bawdyhouse.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/thank-you-new-york/
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.How about that, Lady Liberty giving Lady Justice a big one right on the lips.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

I suppose I should spend more time attempting to explain Catholic thought.

First of all, you can't legislate morality onto an unwilling populace. That creates greater evils than the original evil itself. [See below.] You can, however, hope to convince a majority that our society should order itself in a certain way.

I'm unclear whether all abortion is murder. Jewish tradition doesn't hold that, and even Aquinas spoke of "quickening" in the womb. Muslim tradition holds similarly, I believe, at 43 days. But there comes a point in the pregnancy where it probably is murder, and it should be illegal then.

I think this view is held by 60-80% of the country, from my skimming of polls and such.

And although each of us has their beliefs about what's right and wrong, moral or immoral, most folks don't believe that all such judgments should be law, although certainly some of them should be.

Otherwise, between "rights talk" and relativism, we shall simply make morality itself illegal [!] if all questions of right and wrong are subjective, up to the individual.

Now, if people can drop their anti-Catholicism for a moment---and yes, it quite exists, between the Protestant "black legend" and the general disdain by secular types for anything religious, this is Pope Paul in 1965, describing the Church's vision of "the integrity of the human person":


"Furthermore, whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where men are treated as mere tools for profit, rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed."

You don't have to believe Jesus was God, or even believe in God atall to be down with that. It's moral reasoning, it's philosophy. Having established---or asserted, admittedly---the dignity, the "integrity" of the human person, he continues:

"Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Rom 3:8) — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general."

Now, there is a reference to Romans 3:8 in there, but disregard it for the moment: Is it ethical or moral to do evil so that we may do "good?"

It seems a straightforward case of moral reasoning: whichever way you decide, it applies to abortion. If abortion is an evil, then it can't be OK even if it's in pursuit of a greater good.

If it's not an evil, then you're clear. But most of us feel there's something wrong with it, and we don't even have to go all the way to calling it murder to know that we cannot do evil in order to do good.

And this is the Church's argument, and all that other noise about sexism and power, etc. is just ducking the moral question.

Pinky said...

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Personally, I'm opposed to abortion.
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But, I am not a woman. It is my opinionm that the woman is the only person with the right to determine if she will choose to give life or not.
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That said, I believe we as a society ought to have a very clear conversation about it. But, we are unable to do so as a result of the organized Pro Life forces.
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Of course, the issue is far more complicated than choosing sides. Education that leads to informed understanding seems like something we ought to consider no matter which "side" we have chosen.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Rock on, Phil, your batting avg is astounding. First the "Religious Right" stuff again, the day after they pass gay marriage, and now Ayer's "logical positivism"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_positivism#Contemporary_status_within_philosophy


Most philosophers consider logical positivism to be, as John Passmore expressed it, "dead, or as dead as a philosophical movement ever becomes." By the late 1970s, its ideas were so generally recognized to be seriously defective that one of its own main proponents, A. J. Ayer, could say in a interview: "I suppose the most important [defect]...was that nearly all of it was false."

Pinky said...

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Well, Tom, be that as it may. But, I suppose the same could be said about much thinking from the past.
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But Logical Positivism is a great tool in helping us understand the meanings of what we are saying.
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I'm sure you agree with that.
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Thinking does evolve, you know..
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I don't get your drift on your comments about my "batting average."
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Pinky said...

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And, Tom, I hope your negative remark on Ayer's teachings do not mean that we should throw the baby out with the bath water. It does seem that is your implication. Take what Phil posts with a grain of salt?
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Well, since you used Ayer as a beard for a blanket rejection of metaphysics and didn't say much else, yes, I think his relevance to our current discussions is like zero.

Pinky said...

The statement to which Tom refers was made int he "Porky Pig" thread.
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This, apparently, is the line to which Tom is making reference: "Ayer begins his text with a chapter entitled 'The Elimination of Metaphysics.' He achieves this goal by analyzing the forms of metaphysical sentences and demonstrating that they violate the criteria for literal significance and are, thus, nonsensical."
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To which your replied, since you used Ayer as a beard for a blanket rejection of metaphysics and didn't say much else, yes, I think his relevance to our current discussions is like zero.
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No, I didn't say much else. But, I don't see how you come up with your statement that it was a rejection of metaphysics per se. I was referring to the way the discussion had been going with the Explicit Atheist. And, it was about the validity of the sentences.
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Read the quotation carefully and you will see that it was not about metaphysics itself; but, about the validity of sentences made regarding metaphysics. I don't think Ayer was rejecting metaphysics. He was dealing with linguistics and whether propositions could be considered true or false based on careful analysis.
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The situation has been blown out of proportion to my intent and you apparently misread my intentiopn. I'm sorry.
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Tim Polack said...

"as the Religious Right is gaining such a dominating position over our governmental bureaucracy"

Pinky, Tom already dealt with this comment, so I'll just add that the rise of the Religious Right is part of the ebb and flow of American politics. Remember the prohibition era, then a long period in the middle part of the century where secularization was and continues to be stronger (thus votes like the recent one in NY). And now it makes sense that the religious folks of this country are attempting to (and often times are successfully) flex their muscles again, though clearly they are not dominating.

Angie, I don't know how to respond to you. Anytime you lift one value up as more important than another, you find a way to kill for that value. (Freedom, the U.S., equality, U.S.S.R., etc.). C.S. Lewis turned me on to this point, that you must keep these values in balance, they are ALL important. And Christianity I would argue does the best job of this.

Of course it's not perfect and you can always find examples from the past as Pinky has done of one of the more commonly stated ones. But an interesting thing that Chesterton points out, is that critics will call the church to harsh, another, too soft. The fact that the church tries to balance these values is what I'm saying gives it it's strength (Orthodoxy). And of course Christians believe that Christ is that ultimate example of how to balance these God given (I believe) values - which gives us the opportunity to see how far short we've fallen - yet still have hope.

I must say that the J.P. II quotes that Tom brings to the table are built from a philosophy (Personalist) which is very helpful for this day and age. Helpful in the sense of bringing philosophy and religion together in an age where multiple centuries have tried to pull them apart - though that has been changing (some) recently in Philosophy. I think you will find his quotes around for some time to come.

More on topic, I agree, Jason, that I had not idea of Jay's intolerance of Catholics. I read a recent bio of him not long ago and I either missed it or the author did.

Pinky said...

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Hey, Tim. Maybe you missed this that I wrote: "...they are making their voice heard and imposing their beliefs on the rest of society by way of the Republican Party which they control as a major swing vote block. It is a free country and they have every right to do so. I wouldn't not advocate they lose their rights.
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Tim Polack said...

I did read that Pinky. But I guess I'm stumped as to why talk about the Right as if they're doing some egregious thing. I personally think the left and right are in the wrong. :) So I guess it seems to me that it goes without saying they have a right to do it. In my mind, the better question might be does the left have the right to change such fundamental and seemingly obvious rights as to what constitutes marriage. There are an awful lot of good reasons that this can really screw up a society; see Europe. But now I've just gone where I shouldn't have....and that get's away from the main point of the blog not to mention posts; oh well, now you know where I stand.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Possible correction; Physical identity is identity, if emotional identity is chemical, isn't it? So everything boils down to our chemistry...isn't this what science is finding out?

I much more fell "a breathe of fresh air" while listening or reading atheists, than Christians. Why is this?

Morality is social norms, and values. Christianity is one way to view how a society should work. But, really, how a society should work is what we have in our Constitutional Republic!

And science is "proving" what is best for the human, aren't they? Or is science understood as "human engineering"? There are some difficult issues facing science today, in how to use science to benefit man, without underming man, at the same time...do we recognize and know those limitations, or should there be limitations upon science?

Jason Pappas said...

Yes, Tim, I wasn’t aware of Jay’s intolerance of Catholics. I wouldn’t be surprise of his disagreement with Catholicism as doctrinal differences were the norm. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he worried about political Catholicism. After all, the Glorious Revolution, was about removing a Catholic King seen as politically Catholic and not merely personally Catholic. What American Whig wouldn’t remember that seminal moment English history?

While Washington extend the welcome mat to American Catholics, given his big tent approach, his attitude was unusual for the times. I'd like to hear more about Jay's attitude.

Tim Polack said...

Angie,
I can relate to the breath of fresh air that seems to be science. It's partly what led me into Engineering. But I eventually realized science's limit, and it simply is not capable of dealing with questions of being, questions of value or questions of ultimate importance. While it can provide possible explanations as to how things came to be (for ex; how man evolved - which I have no problem with, nor does the Catholic Church), it cannot speak to why we humans feel the need for meaning, and that we seem to feel there is more out there than meets the eye.

I think if you look at the broader scientific community, you'll find a growing group of religious scientists who are showing how faith and science go together. Besides, I think you answered the question yourself about the limitations of science.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Religion answer meaning only if one associates with a group for meaning making. Meaning in a free society is how one chooses to live their life in ultimate values, and commitments of greatest interests.

Religion limits just as much as engineering does, because the "answer begins and ends with God". And the rituals or symbolism in religion defines meaning for those that choose to have their meaning defined in those ways.

Religion no longer holds any meaning for me. Its symbolism doesn't have any value, as it used to.

My husband says that there is "physics" and everything else is "stamp collecting"! The social sciences are like that. Categories are definitive. People are not so definitive.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

"Beauty" is not science, but beauty exists, doesn't it? When we hear music, see art, or smell/taste food, we experience something that makes life "grand". This is what life should be about, not survival, and the mundane. That's why I like to make things look beautiful. Morality is to beauty like science is to "the humanities"....

Tim Polack said...

To Jason's question; I'm not sure if this is just scratching the surface, or if it's the main gist of Jay's animosity to Catholicism. But his:

"Great-grandfather Pierre was one of the thousands of French Protestants, known as Huguenots, who fled to and settled in Britain in the late seventeenth century. Jay did not have any British ancestors, but he never forgot that it was Britain that "afforded my ancestors an asylum from persecution. Jay's grandfather Auguste was one of the far smaller group of Huguenots that fled to America..." p.2

Walter Stahr, in his book "John Jay", goes on to say that:

"...Jay showed himself a reactionary. Perhaps reflecting the views of his father, Jay was the proponent of several anti-Catholic amendments." p.78

There's a bit more dense history of Jay's family from The life of John Jay By William Jay, especially in p.2-10, but I'll just give one glimpse (there may be much more outside those pages as well, but it's late):

"Peter Jay (John's father) married Mary the daughter of Jacobus VanCorlandt. Her mother was the daughter of Frederick Philipse, whose family, originally of Bohemia, had been compelled by popish persecution to take refuge in Holland, from whence he had emigrated to New-York. Thus had the subject of our memoir the honour to be descended in three instances from ancestors who chose to abandon their country rather than their religion." p.10

Seems clear that John Jay's family tree was often part of the minority religion and thus faced intense persecution for it. While the puritans fled Briton and Anglican persecution, Jay seems to have embraced Briton because it provided asylum for those before him, not to mention his mothers experience of persecution.

Did any Founding Father's direct blood-lines have such direct and international persecution from Catholicism or any Protestant sect for that matter?

Pinky said...

... I guess I'm stumped as to why talk about the Right as if they're doing some egregious thing. I personally think the left and right are in the wrong. :) So I guess it seems to me that it goes without saying they have a right to do it. In my mind, the better question might be does the left have the right to change such fundamental and seemingly obvious rights as to what constitutes marriage. There are an awful lot of good reasons that this can really screw up a society; see Europe. But now I've just gone where I shouldn't have....and that get's away from the main point of the blog not to mention posts; oh well, now you know where I stand.
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Yup, we'll get shut down if we keep going on this point, you're correct on that one.
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Well, I mostly agree with what you wrote. My purpose was misconstrued by TVD when he accused me of continuing my bias against "Christianists" and there's nothing to be done about that. He carries an extra measure of weight around here.
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I gave the comments you protested as an example of what happens to throw our society out of balance. It's really not that anyone doesn't have a right to rock the boat--they do. The point I meant to be making is that these things are examples of what divides us here in American Society. We need to somehow reorganize our priorities in how we settle these questions. Should we continue to allow ourselves to be divided against each other based on theological or economic values? The question is not going to be answered here at this history site where the emphasis is on events and circumstances that culminated in the Founding Era.
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But, on another note, it is interesting how any of us can get misunderstood so easily. We give an example about something and as a result of the subject involved, some go off on a tangent which we never intended.
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You gotta be careful what you say sometimes.
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;<}
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

Pinky stated, "... it is interesting how any of us can get misunderstood so easily. We give an example about something and as a result of the subject involved, some go off on a tangent which we never intended." NOW, we get to communication theory...

The one who "goes off on a tangent" isn't trying to subvert the subject, as something is "connected" as to meaning, or value. And this is the point of the tangent. What one focuses on.

If one "feels attacked", then one will miss the whole point of a particular conversation because all they will be hearing is "what they think they will hear". It is a defense mode. And we all can do it, if we do not trust the people that are trying to communicate something to us.

Words, and concepts have various meanings and values. These are connected to memory in our brains. We cannot get away from this fact, other than become aware of our tendencies.

And I think this is why so many will describe the same experience in so many different ways. Our brains correlate "things" to the connotation of those things...in human experience.

This is how early childhood memories affect one's personality, or tendencies. And it is how we develop a concept of "God", if our family is a religious one. It is also why it is best to not raise a child with such a viewpoint, because the child will be seeking the 'affirmation of a parent" without pursuing their own interests...

Jason Pappas said...

Thanks, Tim, for Jay's family background. It's a context worth noting.

Pinky said...

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NOW, we get to communication theory...
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Good points, Angie.
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There seems to be a lot of patrimony at this site. A good example has to do with the way TVD was able to put me down with my references to A. J. Ayer's ideas of Logical Positivism. If TVD posits something here, it must be valid!

And so, with great respect and high regard for Tom's skill and knowledge, he is as fallible as any of us. And, he has as much right to qeuestion any of us as we have to question him. It's a good idea to give specufic citations rather than to point to some lengthy passage or an entire book as though it it the responsibility of the other to do the legwork.
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Of all the considerations any historian worth his or her salt would have, to not put a circumstance or event in its historical context seems to be uppermost. Logical Positivism is one of the most influential ideas of the twentieth century and it has great bearing on our presemnt day thinking.
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The historical context coming out of the nineteenth and coming into the twentieth century saw an explosion of metaphysical statements being made ranging all the way from ghosts to the Second Coming. some of it still lingers and probably will for many generations well into the future.
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Tim Polack said...

Thanks for the clarification Pinky.

bpabbott said...

Re: "Beauty is not science.''

Angie, my understanding is that this is the sentiment that Einsein was expressed in the first half of the sentence below.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
-- Albert Einstein, "Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium", 1941 US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

Angie Van De Merwe said...

bpabbott said, ""Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
-- Albert Einstein, "Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium", 1941 US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)"

I can agree with the second point, but the first point is only using religion to further science...it seems to me...as science is any person's desire to seek after their specific area or discipline...and THAT is NOT religion or religious!!!

Pinky said...

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I wonder what Einstein meant when he wrote, "Science without religion is lame"?
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Does anyone know? For sure?
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bpabbott said...

Re: "THAT is NOT religion or religious!!!"

I think your objection is due to a disagreement on what constitutes religion.

Einstein's view is confusing because he looks past organized religion an scripture to identify what is religions.

Einstein's view is difficult to parse, but my impression is that religion for him encompasses those things that motive and inspire.

jimmiraybob said...

As bpa said, Einstein is not referring to organized religion and had no belief in a personal god. I think his sense of religion was an emotional appreciation of the enormity and beauty of nature that drives the intellect to reason toward unraveling its workings.

The quote "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" can also be found in some of his writing here, which is where the following comes from:

"...those individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of science were all of them imbued with the truly religious conviction that this universe of ours is something perfect and susceptible to the rational striving for knowledge. If this conviction had not been a strongly emotional one and if those searching for knowledge had not been inspired by Spinoza's Amor Dei Intellectualis, they wouid [sic] hardly have been capable of that untiring devotion which alone enables man to attain his greatest achievements."

bpabbott said...

JRB, I had not come across Einstein's essay "Religion and Science: Irreconcilable?". It is a very good description of Einstein's understanding of religion. Thanks for pointing it out.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I had taken the reading of religion without science is blind, as an understanding of sociology/psychology/religious studies/history of traditions/neuroscience..

While the former; science without religion is lame as a organized way to make science acceptable....Einstein understood that religion was a way to "appeal to cooperation"...which in my interpretation would have been manipulative..but his understanding of human values and goals give room for Constituional government as he speaks about pursuit of one's interests at the costs to another......his understanding of Spinoza and the worship of nature in beauty is commenable. "The humanities" are the free expression of individuals who delight in beauty, too. Science, as in nature, is not the only avenue to beauty...

Tom Van Dyke said...

Wallace, W. Jason. Catholics, slaveholders, and the dilemma of American evangelicalism, 1835-1860. Notre Dame, 2010. 200p index afp ISBN 026804421x pbk, $30.00; ISBN9780268044213 pbk, $30.00. Reviewed in 2011jul CHOICE.
Over the past 40 years, scholars have produced a cornucopia of quality scholarship detailing the importance of religion in the antebellum era and how particular religious ideas shaped competing visions of the American Republic, creating the context for and animating the Civil War. Wallace's fine volume elucidates the challenge Catholicism brought to that discourse. Its traditional theology challenged the individualism in the hermeneutics of northern and southern Protestants. Increasing German and Irish Catholic immigration threatened the English domination of the US. In five crisp chapters, Wallace (history, Samford Univ.) outlines how Catholicism debated the hegemonic discourse of Protestant-based acquisitive capitalism, articulated a traditional accommodation to slavery as a product of human sin, and asserted its own historic and ongoing contribution to the discussion of social morality and the proper sources of the Christian life. In their attempts to explain, Catholic leaders offered a powerful critique of nationalism and religion rooted solely in the authority of individual believers under the Constitution and Scripture, an intellectual impeachment given credence by the outbreak of Civil War. Catholicism offered an alternative vision rooted in tradition, realism, and theology. Summing Up:Recommended. All levels/libraries. -- E. R. Crowther, Adams State College

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Tom,
My son was here for lunch. He is the one I wrote Pinky about who works for a union "shop". He pays exorborant union dues with only little to show for it. He says it is due to the fact that he is not black so when he has a complaint it gets put under the burner, so to speak....

He talked with us about the option of the "Right to Work" option which if our State had voted in, he would be able to opt out of the 'union and its dues"!!! That means he could choose the "outcomes" with his own goals, purposes, desires and interests in mind!!! Otherwise, he has to "tow the party line" of those that have poltiical power....the minority grooup!!!

Then at the table he discussed where this "equality" had a detrimental effect on his desiring to put in a stronger effort, than the guy who gets paid the same for doing a lesser job!!! No profit sharing, that he could choose to spend or save as he wishes...

There are so many problems with collectivity, I cannot even begin to count!!! Cooperation has to be born out of incentive, desire, interests, and goals....it cannot be mandated, manipulated, co-cerced or imposed from the outside, without doing some major damage to liberty and individuality!!!

Catholicism is group think, as it is one Tradition among many. Tradition serves its own interests, as well as any individual, even in the process of seeking "the good"....does an individual choose to associate with Tradition's "good"...that should be the quesiton...

Pinky said...

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...sacred and dogmatic theology is called by Thomas Aquinas the queen of the sciences, and philosophy is her handmaiden. (see Mortimer Adler, http://www.thegreatideas.org/apd-theo.html)
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The dispute between religion and science has been going on for a long time. It was long accepted that the creation story in the Book of Genesis was "science" to early thinking.
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During the nineteenth and early twentieth century the disputes over science and religion were all over the place in the American media and in the pulpits. Think of the Scopes Monkey Trial with Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan.
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In my teens (1940s) I was reading books written in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in which the authors were explaining the supernatural. As I recall some were influenced by far eastern mystics.
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I think we have come to a place as a result of the influence of scientific discoveries wnen we no longer can call philosophy handmaiden to religion.

More to the point, philosophy is taking its role as handmaiden to science.
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The times, they are a changing.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Angie, I'm not in the mood for race-baiting or anti-Catholic bigotry just this moment. Your objection to Roman Catholic thought as mere "groupthink" shows a woeful ignorance of what it even is. You're lost, girl. You need to go somewhere they take Ayn Rand and other Objectivist pap seriously, because that stuff doesn't even register on the map of the real world of serious thought.

Pinky said...

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Where did you come up with that word, exorborant, Angie. I've seen it before and spelled in different ways. But, is it in the dictionary?n I don't think so.
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Angie Van De Merwe said...

When we talk of promoting "nature", are we not talking about "a human" (a specific individual), or are we talking about "humanity" (an "ideal")?

If we talk of the former, then we are talking about economics, and slavery/poverty and economic policy. But, Marx, though he promises equality through "class warfare", doesn't bring about a real 'equality' because his is a "collective" society that demotivates individual desire from incentives to perform in excellence.

Excellence is an elitist view point, because not everyone can produce the same things, but the earning of those talents belongs to the indivdual who produces them, not "the collective", where those in power can confiscate a "wage" for their job of redistributing wealth to the "less fortunate"!!! Why don't those that oversee such "equal outcomes" volunteer their services for the 'greater good", then? That would be a noble thing to do ;-)!

Theology is a means to get the Masses to concur with "social outcomes", as Marx said that "religion is the opiate of the people"! And such theology is a liberation theology...Black power! If that makes me bigoted, then so be it! I believe in equal justice before the law, not essentialists' claims!!!

I am not bigoted against Roman Catholicism. I just don't care, because religion seems to further the interests of those in power whoever they are and whatever they believe!!! That is how "things work"!! and getting one's "vision" implemented is what "life is about", but those that "use" the Church for their "greater good" are undermining our nation's value of liberty and individual rights....These true believers, truly believe in their visions, under the guise of religion and moral purposes...without understanding that one's vision isn't an absolute claim to or about "God", "Truth" or "Beauty", but is really about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and how that should "look". The questions will be questions of practical realities, but theorhetical differernces in how they are understood.

If I am "lost", then it is in deciding where I 'play out" or what I think is the most important approach to political philosophy!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

We recently went to a wedding that left me with a little to be desired. It wasn't that I didn't like her dress, or the people involved, and I dismissed it intially as a difference of personal tastes...I really enjoyed my daughter's wedding and thought it was because we chose our tastes ..

But, on further thought, as something kept disturbing me, it was because the coupld "tried too hard" to give a religious message, instead of it being a celebration of their commitment! All people can rejoice and "enter the celebration" of human commitment, but not all will enter the narrow world and vision of an evangelical believer!!!

I had numerous people tell us how much they enjoyed our daughter's wedding, even a month or so later, and how it didn't compare to other weddings they'd been to...and each of these people were very different...kinds...It was beauty that grasped their minds and hearts, not a message, but a sensory experience, overall!!!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It is on Google, and there are differnt ways of spelling it..."exorborant" was used as a hyperbole...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Unity does not come from religion, but from ideals of "beauty, truth, justice". These ideals of "liberty and justice for all" are values that our Founders wanted all people to enjoy and experience.

This was why the individual was "equal before the law"! It is only the individual that can express these universals in their own individual ways to benefit society and mankind. And it is the indivdual's right to pursue such interests and one can only pursue one's interests in a free society...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Those that look at societal rights, first, must view society in a "Spinoza like fashion". Society is an organism, but without individual claims to social contract, then there is a limitation upon the individual's right to pursue his own interests. This is tyranny, according to our Founders, as it was the individual that was granted rights of liberty and limiting the government's right to intrude upon that liberty!

Inidivduals were granted equal right under the law, but were not guarunteed anything over and above that, as the social welfare State has imposed!!!

We see now that our 'investments' in Greece haven't changed the state of affairs, and so we might foot the bill again for a bail-out at the tune of 150 billion more...

My husband is from Europe, and he pointed out that not everyone is living in the same conditions and circumstances in America, as Europe. Europeans do not have the land mass, or the opportunities for the vastly different interests that Americans might have...not due to a difference in the "human", but a difference in geography and cultural values....If beaucracies try a "one size fits all" standardization, which can lead to corruption, it also must lead to discrimination at some level, because each need is different...A rancher in South Dakota's interests will differ from the urban businessman...so socialism wouldn't equalize the cup, because the cup itself is so vastly different!!!(filling a 10oz. cup versus a 20oz one...and then there are the differences of comsuptive needs, i.e. the size of one's stomach....) ;-)!!!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

the "moral question" is whether our "stomachs", and our differences in geography and opportunity should be limited, because of "equality"? That would be a horrendous error in judgment, I think. Why? Because limiting things in America also limits what has made America great! A free market economy, and the value of "getting ahead", "having a sense of success", "the pride of earning a living", and "doing one's best". The encouragement in such an environment of pursuing or creating one's dream. That is the "ideal" of diversity, not uniformity! People will choose different "ways of life" and must learn from or accept "failure". Otherwise, society will always be rescuing "the perishing", and that equals to unequal budens upon the taxpayer, the working American and the creative enteuprenuer!

Pinky said...

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Inidivduals were granted equal right under the law, but were not guarunteed anything over and above that, as the social welfare State has imposed!!!
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You seem to forget that we have a Constitution with Amendments all designed to provide a Government of, by, and for the People complete with the ability to evolve. We are not sticks in the mud of the past. The Founders quit Europe and created a new order of society. We are set up to be a self governing people. Pretty basic stuff, Angie. Sorry you have such a problem with minorities and unions. They have given us a great deal and it cost them more sacrifice than we can easily imagine.
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