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Monday, September 10, 2007

Hmmmmm: Thoughts from Mark Steyn on secularism

My compatriot Mark Steyn writes in America Alone,
Reviewing the film The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Polly Toynbee, the queen of progressivist pieties in Britain, wrote that Aslan "is an emblem for everything an atheist objects to in religion. His divine presence is a way to avoid humans taking responsibility for everything here and now on earth, where no one is watching, no one is guiding, no one is judging, and there is no other place yet to come. Without an Aslan, there is no one here but ourselves to suffer for our sins, no one to redeem us but ourselves: we are obliged to settle our own disputes and do what we can."

Sounds very nice. But in practice the lack of belief in divine presence is just as likely to lead to humans avoiding responsibility: if there's nothing other than the here and now, who needs to settle disputes at all? All you have to do is manage to defer them till after you're dead -

[ ... ]

Almost by definition, secularism cannot be a future: it's a present-tense culture that over time disconnects a society from cross-generational purpose. Which is why there are no examples of sustained atheist civilizations. (Pp. 97-98)

Some people ruffle feathers; Mark likes to bust a pillow and scatter the contents over the balcony in a high wind.

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