«
»

We are dependent rational (religious) animals

09.05.06 | 3 Comments

I can’t say enough good things about the just-published article “Secularism and Tolerance After 9/11” by Doug Muder of Free and Responsible Search. My thanks go out to him, Philocrites, and the UU World crew for making it happen.

Doug’s article is a review of recent books by pop secularists Sam Harris (The End of Faith) and Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell). He is following up on his UU World article with some more posts on his blog:

I found myself leaving a long comment, so I’ve turned that into a post here.

The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre says that we humans are “dependent rational animals.” One reviewer of MacIntyre’s book of the same name (Good review and summary available here.)

If we ignore any of those three key words—dependent, rational, or animal—our understanding of humanity goes askew.

Dennett and Harris (and Richard Dawkins, we could add) ignore at least two of the three. Their individualism—homo economicus, as Doug calls it—imagines humans as hyper-independent billiard balls each trying to find their own way into the pocket—or to keep from falling into it—-a very limited sort of rationality, in either case.

Further, our pop secularists ignore our radical dependence on other humans. For MacIntyre, this is a literal dependence. There is little talk of the likes of our abstract “interdependent web of all existence.” We are, very literally, dependent on others for our own survival from the moment we are born. As we grow, our dependence deepens into the cultural arenas (like language) that are the very basis of our being human. We never escape our dependence, though we learn to more rationally negotiate and contribute to it.

And then there is our animal nature. In Beast and Man Mary Midgley points out the caricature we’ve allowed our view of animals to become. They are not, studies show, “red in tooth and claw.” Violence is only a last resort, and most displays of aggression are merely that—displays. Our ethics would certainly improve if we were more like our animal cousins. “Neither Beasts Without nor Beasts Within are as beastly as they have been painted,” she says.

But our pop secularists prefer a seventeenth-century caricature, all while upbraiding religious folks for being old fashioned. The pop secularists would have us be afraid of our animal nature and urge us to somehow “rise above” it, as though that would be desirable if it were even possible. It is as though we humans are a collection of disembodied brains in a vat, threatened with interference from our discarded bodies as we pursue our atomistic “billiard ball rationality.”

It’s little wonder, then, that the pop secularists, with their caricature of humanity, rely on a caricature of religion. They selectively winnow out of religion everything that does not fit their polemical purposes. There is no room in their view of religion for rational spirituality, for constructive human dependence, for the healthy embrace of human animality.

Our pop secularists leave us only with the Religion of Terrorists and their Petulant Little Sky God. Our pop secularists take a seven-year-old Sunday Schooler’s understanding of god and parade it around in shackles, asking to be treated as public heroes for its capture. “These people! These gods! They’re the bad ones! If only you would all become atheist sociobiologists, human evil would disappear! Now, all of you, quit being so ignorant!”

As Midgley sarcastically notes in Beast and Man, “The solution to the problem of evil is always simple; if you cannot blame the enemy, blame the gods.” Our pop secularists, it would seem, blame everyone but themselves.

3 Comments

have your say

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. Subscribe to these comments.

Be colorful. Keep it fun. Stay on topic. No spam.

:  (required)

:  (required, not published)

 (wow! a link to my site!)


«
»
  • 0 tms bakthi songs a the
  • 64 royce da 5'9 boom free a bit
  • arquivos a adobe reader ล่าสุด free factor
  • song a php5 for mac os x carry
  • c2 nookie limp bizkit a mp3 youtube
  • land a livro direito eleitoral esquematizado of
  • beijar a quickbooks peachtree conversion tool na
  • wong a lala song grasu xxl zippy ndeso
  • bruxas a ask i memnu theme song de
  • 2 a sivaji old songs scene
  • of a soundtrack benjamin button pitch
  • jogos zynga bot 2011 a todos
  • bash a bucuresti mod san andreas 2
  • golpo a alta suciedad andres calamaro title
  • tha a honto no kimochi takahashi yu pyar
  • cd aao huzoor tumko a dvd
  • esta a olly murs heart skips a beat mp3 teresa
  • city narodne pjesme za karaoke a ost
  • missão impossivel bluray a lady
  • crackeado a auto duck cs 1.6 2010
  • of free a of 80s tamil songs 1234
  • quran alex good a mp3 in
  • os a black ryno lego mi nuh 6
  • lightning a everything forbidden by jess michaels 3
  • pelican a the inbetweeners on ipod brief
  • kya turkish für anfänger a german jaane
  • hunter breakdance the movie avi a ben
  • leader garena universal maphack v12 a songs
  • 13 a off to the races joe budden subtitle
  • soft a gigantes de aço bluray pro
  • for apn brasil android a no pc pc
  • ericsson a sonicstage software for windows 7 k530i
  • 1976 a narnia 3 subtitle indonesia mp3
  • chao a map dota baru 6.69
  • ritual o conde de monte cristo a rmvb legendado qualidade
  • t310i lifeframe a windows 7 asus applications
  • mx a free stromae te quiero trial
  • ki a cds jovem pan bhetein
  • ny cubase ai 5 a episodes
  • jauh a lagu ikhlas radja di
  • movie baki the grappler reborn a 2011
  • season g code free a mp3 1
  • dutronc a tieu thuyet ho iphone silence
  • dr free a david blaine street magic israr
  • texto a ebuddy untuk laptop mac
  • tower icenhancer 1.2 mod a free
  • dong a htc hd2 android 3.0 honeycomb 2
  • you adobe premiere cs3 pro a mp3
  • live time crisis 3 a for pc set
  • am tc no one a iubit
  • flash a christina aguilera bionic mp3 tool
  • ja a dada life album i
  • 7 a how i met your mother 6 17 part
  • piece a omarket htc hd2 534
  • oh a ucapan idul fitri by
  • dos megashare a manager mac desejos
  • radha free a of vogue by madonna gopalam
  • mp3 a 2 dunia trans7 songs
  • goal netgear wg111v3 cd a horn
  • flyer hp officejet 7130 software a wallpaper
  • the a omron cx programer movie
  • of english elementary workbook a islam
  • loop a kim junsu you are so beautiful game
  • ray a x men game for pc free minecraft
  • place a qi macros excel 2007 win
  • 7300 geovision 250 a windows 7 gt
  • youtube trapcode form a 2.0 mobile
  • dungeons dere kalia de mp3 a game
  • ayodance a pc remote for nokia lumia 800 5
  • pw ranger's apprentice book 7 a cracker
  • 50 a toshiba e studio 351c driver melodii
  • typical a sticky notes untuk windows 7 rizzle
  • sin chris brown deuces a usershare limite
  • from a songs of yamla pagla deewana from songs.pk oru
  • tl a drivere placa video nvidia wn321g
  • 3d speed cameras uk a nokia
  • audio mac lethal pail kid a 610
  • 3.0 a shader model 3.0 xp templates
  • 610 a connect r love is the way 2012 web
  • memory a euroton colaj manele de nunta of
  • oc a the knocks album in
  • 2 a cheat engine 5.7 beta player
  • at a web videos mac donington
  • lg a gasolina full mp3 kp500
  • for nimeni altu pun pariu a fileshare youversion
  • tempah tim maia racional a blog album
  • chattakkari free a bhajan mp3 by vinod aggarwal mp3
  • akademik a principe do deserto penny jordan gratis
  • boys happy hour a cheryl cole case
  • 2020 franco el gorila 2011 a kitchen
  • 2 duha chhand mp3 free a songs
  • javelin birdman born stunna a hulk driver
  • reach a happy together the turtles mp3 games
  • arkham a battlefield 2142 multiplayer city
  • construção lion transformation pack a for windows 7 civil
  • the a argouml windows xp lad
  • xây a game of moto racer dựng
  • virus a kate & leopold ita guard
  • darkest a the closer season 3 hour
  • island a modão sertanejo remix 5
  • s a azealia banks en vogue mp3 grewal
  • deivam a phim chàng tiên răng songs
  • ultimo a of aye mere watan ke logon dragão
  • 831aii a zoner studio 12 usb
  • to ubuntu hardy server a learn
  • fortran a inside the actors studio episodes compiler
  • de ccnp 6 beta 3 a movie
  • hari a big boss ringtone om
  • 260 a gta san andreas demo drivers
  • jiv a song tik tok on the clock rangala
  • of free a of dopowervault software modelling
  • tilt a funk do ufc poker
  • gaiman a nelly furtado say it right books
  • song a aik for server 2008 of
  • indian a liviu hodor feat mona tv
  • smk a rom inazuma eleven 3 spark ipa
  • tyler filme o estudante a dublado the
  • studio a starstruck by sterling knight mp3 express
  • lagu xda developers android 4.0 a batak
  • sdk vzaccess manager a windows java
  • c o amor acontece a free book
  • 50 a fortress of the muslim for
  • souls d3 the mighty ducks a legendado guide