Tuesday, January 2, 2007

New post for a new year

Welcome to a new year at Culture for All, and today, I bring a post from an old favorite, Capitalism Magazine. My article is about morality without religion. In the article, Peter Schwartz of the Ayn Rand Institute discusses the so-called culture war and dismisses both factions, the dogmatic right and the relativistic left. Also, Schwartz goes on to show that religion is not necessary for moral values, and he's right. Religion is a force that can be both good and bad, just like anything. In Judaism, there are three different terms used to describe a synagogue, depending on the movement. The Orthodx use shul, a Yiddish word for school, which emphasizes education. This can be good, like my Catholic education (and religion class was an easy A, which boosted my GPA :)), or it can be bad like a fundamentalist indoctrination camp. Conservatives use the word synagogue, a Greek word for assembly, which shows a social function, and certain non-faith churches do have a good social structure, like a club or fraternity, as well as religion-based networks, which can be both good or bad, depending on how the network is used. The final word used is Temple, mainly be the Reform movement, which is a reference to worship. Many people have a spiritual need that is fulfilled by this, making it a good thing, except when worship is used to promote hate or intolerance, like Orange Man's Day, or a demagogue preacher driving worshippers into a hate-filled frenzy. Ok, Schwartz doesn't evaluate positives and negatives of religion, as that is my view being discussed above. He does explain how the relativists have made themselves the public face of secularism, which is a huge insult to most of the good readers and posters on this blog, and that many regular folks are repulsed by this extreme and wind up preferring the other extreme of religious extremism, because it is red meat: tough, spoiled red meat, but red meat, nonetheless. And the philosophy that Schwartz supports is Objectivism, which can serve the same positive functions of a religion. Education is key, because a philosophy of individualism supports well-informed thought, and independent study. Even a religious person with an open mind can heavily benefit from studying objectivism, because nothing should be accepted without question or opposed without research and knowing just what you are opposing and why. Also, community is available with all kinds of objectivist networks and dating sites, and back in more ancient times, pen pals. As for worship, one could make some cheap shot about worshipping Ayn Rand, but an objectivist shouldn't claim spiritual needs, so this shouldn't be a needed function. On an unrelated note, I'l add resolutions on the tenth, because most resolutions are abandoned by then :)

5 comments:

RnBram said...

How nice to see some one actually think fairly about something an Objectivist wrote. So much better than the multitude of invidious pseudo-critics

Some of these 'critics' use ridicule as if it were meaningful... and their followers 'wisely' nod their heads and then smirk.

Others use rationalistic arguments that abuse concepts, and then nod their heads wisely as if they've proved how smart they are.

You can see both types at anti-Rand sites such as those with "objecti" or "contraaynrand" in their URL. The rationalists are more damaging as they often appear to have a legitimate argument. Some even convince publishers to print books that spread their nonsense to relatively innocent readers.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

If you ask people what morality is, the folks on the right can give you an answer (so at least you know they are trying to do right), and the folks on the left, particularly the non-religious left, will babble on and on and eventually you have to read between the lines to understand what they are trying to avoid saying out loud: Do what feels good, there is no morality, to each his own. This is why the left is always justifying atrocities committed by brown-skinned people, and coupled with cowardice, why they oppose forceful intervention overseas.

Weak people who are Christian have Christianity to help them stay moral. Weak athiests just turn into hedonists. You have to admit that there are far more people on the left that you could say are highly self involved, and live for instant gratification-screw long term.

Red Tulips said...

Smarty,

Weak Christians also can turn into abortion clinic bombers.

Sorry, but religion is not what conatins morality. It's something else. Lest we forget, the bible's morality is picked and chosen at will.

Anonymous said...

While the "relativists" have become the face of secularism, I don't know if its reasonable to include them like that.

See, most of the secular humanists, atheists, and other freethinkers I know don't consider themselves relativists and tend to dislike the post modernist thought that accompanies it.

Not only that, but many of the "relativists" on the "left", while they may not be particularly religious themselves, tend to promote religion in some way or another, be it talking about how great Islam is or how much we have to learn from buddhism or tribal religions or whatever.

While they may be "secularists" in some sense, most devoted atheists, american atheists, and fee inquiry and Council For Secular Humanism types, won't consider them as such, and using this more accurate, strict definition of secularism, most "relativists" would probably not consder themselves as such either.

Lately, Alternet has been filled with anti-dawkins articles and the like, complaining about the mean atheists bullying the poor "Faithful". And you should see the comments on alternet or most other "liberal" sites whenever an article friendly towards atheism and secularism is posted.

Right now, atheists are feeling a bit of a chill from the left, which I largely attribute to the lefts lvoe affair with ghandi and MLK, as well as the current infatuation with defending Islam. And the work of people who want a "religious left" to counter the religious right.

Red Tulips said...

Jason:

I agree with you 100%.