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.


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!)

  • asian twinks pictures
  • Nayanthara nude photos
  • super cute blonde teen amateur sextube
  • brutal black teen fucking
  • erotic sex slaves chicks crazy sex pics
  • girl gives guy anal exam
  • free really young teeny
  • Girl kiss black
  • female real pulsating orgasm movies
  • girls gone wild uncensores pics
  • summer atlanta sex hotel blonde
  • hot naked babes gallery
  • kika mirylees naked pics
  • free xxx sex video pink world
  • Lesbian boy sex free black full lenth videos sexy mature photo
  • amatuer couples having sex
  • swimsuit girls xxx
  • Nude pussy picture
  • streaming creampie vids
  • asian wife fucking me
  • redhead video blowjob nude barefoot
  • 3444909302 hentai tiny pussy
  • cute little teen pussy
  • amateur wife titfuck
  • sex club experiences erotic stories
  • young naked ebony
  • reality arrested domestic sextuplets wife and husband suck youing cock 1644989849 free teen virgin sex stories
  • plus size teen sex
  • big pussy in public
  • British anal sluts 1692779664 free pics of mature women fucking free webcams greedy asian shemales ladyboys free video pictures 7941435412 mature amateurs fucked hard videos
  • Desi movie sex
  • puberty teen girl nude
  • sabina leigh hairy pussy blonde lifeguard bikini pics xxx
  • lesbiean ass lickers
  • Thick ass n thighs
  • huge tits black tank top
  • Naked female bodybuilders pics very younger teens
  • sex position hardcore videos
  • teen girls mma tube
  • sexy girls night webshots
  • Deshi nude girl free big tit handjob videos shemale nefertiti video
  • free toon sex videos
  • 8265094494 blonde teen blowjobs
  • old men fuck hot girls
  • redtube blonde wife
  • Sex girls big boobs
  • wife caught playing with her pussy
  • girl licks her pussy
  • teen girl seduces young girlfriend
  • mature pussy sex image
  • free hardcore stars pictures
  • hot foursome lesbians fucking
  • Hot girl spitting
  • white shemale dick
  • 877814888 Naked happy girls andrew einhorn free fat ebony booty video
  • free teen schoolgirl tubes
  • japanese pussy hairy lesbian mature seduction video
  • video sex on big brother
  • cute teen girls orgasms
  • desi girls sex videos
  • sexy teen lesbians strip on webcam
  • movies with young girls
  • free huge cum load inside pussy
  • Divas hairy pussy
  • pound my ass video weoman fuck video Granny cum swallowing all mature moms sex free movies
  • sexy jeep babes
  • photo gallery non nude girls ebony sluts eating pussy free
  • tight teen video vids
  • hairy ukrainian girls video
  • tube shemale brutal dildo videos
  • 2655964545
  • free teen sex hd
  • 7202522651 teenage blowjob movies
  • korean girl feet
  • black star best ass
  • skinny asian girls nude
  • huge dicks anal fucking videos online
  • sex dick ass girl
  • facial treatment pictures black disks young chicks free ebony movie free xxx reality sites white guys measuring black ass 1802098608 redhead pussy pic
  • free actress sadha naked video
  • free sex videos of gymnasts
  • girls fuck double sided dildos
  • hien wife video
  • sex with fish videos socks greasy pussy
  • lesbian sisters anal fuck
  • wives that suck
  • eves videos
  • erotic stories wife sharing cuckold 2156402666 gagged naked teens virgins and rough sex videos girlboy sex video Lesbian video archive
  • cumshots on mom pics
  • www free little girls
  • white girl free free perfect fuck videos
  • blowjob teen vids
  • free nude ftv girl gallery
  • ugly blonde chick
  • rosanna davidson topless beach
  • Sexy girl and boy kiss
  • sexy mature mar women dating info
  • ebony girl spanking mexican girls sex movies Funny naked girl videos
  • young sri lankan teen
  • futerrama amy and leela lesbian sex
  • black spring break videos
  • koreans in japan by regions
  • girls sticking cocks between their tits ebony bitches anal
  • find a girl for threesome
  • 9725519474
  • asian teen strapon lesbians
  • naked women nude girls naked lists
  • free filipineo sucking cock videos xxxrated massive mellon boobs gallery benifits of male anal sex Ebony asses pics Grandma anal fuck white guy seduces black girl
  • shemale tube videos
  • Laure manaudou sex tape video
  • young barely legal sex movies free direct xxx anal sex videos
  • hardcore fucking huge tit xxx
  • sexy indian house wife pic
  • soccer mom movies
  • petite coats in womens sizes
  • historical erotic pictures
  • watch wife fuck stories
  • sexiest celebrity ass
  • nicole video
  • teen instructional sex actual naked home videos
  • black man fucking white ass
  • latin lesbian sex movies teen stocking videos
  • muscular naked black men with erections
  • petite blonde girls nude
  • asian teen gravure models
  • 4771183365
  • teen hotties nude vids
  • mature does young boy on slutload
  • free videos of wired pussy
  • tel aviv sex girls
  • videos of hot naked guys
  • diana dors movie the unholy wife tracy adams hampster streaming video erotic travel and sex travel big boobs that are sexy