A Brief Thought on the Ongoing Secularist Assault on Faith and on the Faithful
By Ken K. Gourdin
I recently shared the following on Mormon Dialogue and Discussion:
By no means am I suggesting that anyone, or that any organization to which s/he might belong, compromise on what are considered core beliefs or doctrines, nor am I suggesting (as difficult as it is for me, as a person of faith, to conceptualize a workable system of ethics without some sort of higher power at its center) that atheists and agnostics are, ipso facto, immoral. Whatever your religious (or irreligious) leanings, if you believe in doing good to and for your fellow human beings, in making life as good as you can make it for you and for others within your sphere of influence for as long as you can before (from your perspective) succumbing to the void, in doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, and so on, more power to you.
However, one good thing I see coming out of the continuing secularist assault on religion is that faiths and their adherents will have to decide really quickly what genuinely matters: Doctrinal differences notwithstanding, if the secularist assault on religion threatens the way of life of all believers, of whatever religious stripe, perhaps people of faith will finally start coming together (or at least, doing so more than we hitherto have done) over what we have in common with one another rather than continuing to allow ourselves to be divided over relatively insignificant differences.
Another poster answered, “I want my religion sectarian and my government secular.”
I replied, ” I’m not sure how that’s responsive to what I wrote, but … Thanks for chiming in? “
He responded, “Pretty simple. To keep them both alive and healthy we must keep them separate.”
I replied, “Okey-doke. Uhhh … what are “they,” and who is arguing that “they” should be allowed to sicken and die?”
He responded, “We must keep religions sectarian and governments secular. History has more than adequately demonstrated what happens when they try to mix, i.e., Iran.”
I don’t know who here is arguing for the commingling of religion and government. (Hint: While co-opting government and its institutions in the service of a secularizing assault on faith and on its adherents certainly doesn’t hurt that cause, it is not a sin qua non for conducting that assault.) And if you truly think that the United States of America is a heartbeat away from becoming another Iran, you’re welcome to that opinion, but I don’t know too many people (even among those who are of a decidedly secular bent or who are antipathetic toward religion) who would agree with you … none, actually. That sort of argument seems, to me, to be the rough equivalent of a Godwin’s Law Violation. [Godwin’s Law holds that the first party to compare rhetorical opponents to Nazis in an Internet discussion automatically loses the argument.] And you didn’t answer my question: Who are “they,” and who is arguing that “they” should be allowed to sicken and die?
He replied, “Secularism in government is no threat to religion.” I didn’t think quickly enough to respond thus, but I should have replied simply that secularism in government may be no threat to religion, but secularism in society certainly is a threat to religion. I did respond:
And who here, pray tell, is arguing that secularism in government is a threat to religion? Not I: The fact that government is secular has precisely nothing to do with any argument I have made on this thread. Hint (Again): While co-opting government and its institutions in the service of a secularizing assault on faith and on its adherents certainly doesn’t hurt that cause, it is not a sin qua non for conducting that assault.