Saturday 18 February 2012

The War Against Secularism

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Cantabury has stated that Christians should be prepared to die for their faith in the "war against secularism"

What...?  Why should Christians be prepared to die fighting Secularism, Who is going to kill them? Is the secular community planning an inquisition, a crusade, are we building bonfires and planting our torture stakes? Perhaps Carey is planning a Bob Jones style protest and Christians should be prepared to drink the Cool-Aid.

Fear prophets ... and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. 
[Umberto Eco] 

Lord Carey is calling on Christians to die for the faith. In a holy war against the evil, cancerous poison of Secularism.

Exactly what is it that Carey finds "A truly terrifying prospect?" What is it that Carey believes Christians should lay down their lives to fight against?

Well there is no Secular Gospel, no infallible, immutable, perfect, eternal, unchangeable rule book telling us which tribes need to be killed, who to stone to death or who to execute for having the wrong belief system or sexual orientation. The closest secular document I can find is the single page Humanist Manifesto. 

Humanist Manifesto III
1. Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

Carey does not want rational critical analysis. Christians must fight against such a ridiculous concept. Why? Because Truth is always made stronger by rational critical analysis. Falsehoods are exposed by critically analysing the evidence, the methods and the conclusions. Ask yourself why Carey finds critical analysis such a terrifying prospect. Why does he fear Science? After all, Science teaches us how to build aircraft, religion teaches us to fly them into office buildings.

2. Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.

Carey does not want Christians to distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. If reality disagrees with Christian dogma, reality must be wrong.

3. Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

Imagine, treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity. Surely we should fight against such a poisonous concept. Making informed choices with responsibility... Carey insists Christians should be prepared to die fighting such evil ideas. 

4. Life's fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

A little flowery for me but what is so wrong with participating in humane ideals, purpose, joy, beauty, culture, comfort and encouragement? While the language is flowery, it is far better than the rhetoric of "fight", "war", "prepare to die" as used by Carey.

5. Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.

Oh My, Such evil Secularism... mutual care and concern... NO, Cary wants you to die fighting against such things. He does not want the secular aspiration of a world without cruelty and violence, In his own words, he wants a war against such secular aspirations?

6. Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

Should we really pay any attention to Carey when he is opposed to a fair and just distribution of nature's resources?

7. Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature's integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.

Carey does not want democracy and diversity he wants a Christian Theocracy where people of different beliefs are made to participate in ritual ceremonies devoted to his particular brand of religion. It doesn't matter if you are a Hindu, an Atheist, a Buddhist or a Zoroastrian, If you work in local government, you'll have to participate in Christian worship ceremonies as part of official council business. At least you would be made to do so if Carey had his way. Thankfully the Law of the Land has deemed this to be unethical in a case against Bideford Council (A town famous for it's witch trials). 

I understand the aspirations, and have some respect for the Secular Humanist Manifesto. I think it may be an unachievable Utopia while we still have petty, bickering, divisive leaders in the seats of power, but it is an ideal worth striving for. Even if we only get halfway there, it would be worth the effort. It also has added benefits in that it is Ok to suffer a witch to live. That's right, you don't have to kill people because they have different belief systems. It is not necessary to subscribe to the concept that Genocide is a morally acceptable way to eliminate undesirables (Dt13). Women are not the property of men and they are not required to marry their rapist. There is no need to kill people because of what they choose to do with their genitals. I'll have to admit I'm somewhat confused about the Christian policy on Homosexuals. While the Churches in Uganda insist people are to be imprisoned or executed for being gay, the same Churches ordain actively gay Bishops in the USA. (Some clarification may be required). 

I think that before Lord Carey starts pointing his judgmental finger at the Secularist ideal of cooperation, democracy, fairness and respect, he needs to take a look at:

  • The hatred between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.
  • The Muslims and Jews killing each other in the Middle East.
  • Muslims killing Muslims in The Middle East.
  • Christians and Muslims killing each other in Nigeria.
  • Mega-rich preachers ripping of those who can ill afford it.
  • The Catholic Church providing safe harbour for paedophiles.
  • The killing of Witch children by Fundamentalist Christian Churches.
  • The persecution of Homosexuals.
  • The withholding of medical treatment in the Church of Christian Science.
  • Convincing AIDS ridden populations they will burn in Hell if they wear a condom. 

Sure, no one is squeaky clean in this world but before Carey starts casting stones at others, he needs to take a look in his own Theistic parlor.

I'm lead to believe I live in a Christian country. We have a Christian Queen, A predominantly Christian Government, Christan Bishops in Parliament, Christian Churches in every village, town and city across the land, Christian education, Christian bookshops on every High Street, Christian Bill boards, posters and TV Programs. And yet, the country is broken... our prisons are full... We are constantly at war with someone meanwhile our politicians are busy delivering golden trinkets to the Pope. By anyone's standard, the Christian state has failed us.

I have no desire to live in Carey's vision of a Totalitarian Christian Theocracy. Maybe it's time for the Theocrats to step aside and give those Secular Humanists some control..... Sorry, I forgot, we are expected to die fighting in a war against those evil Secularists. 

Lord Carey.. You first.

Humanist Manifesto is a trademark of the American Humanist Association-© 2003 American Humanist Association

Some interesting information about the ethics of the Anglican Church:-

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