Notes From Babel

Bruce Ledewitz Says Secularism Needs Religion

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From today’s Huffington Post column, “Secular Life in Post-Christian America”:

As I have argued on this blog and in my book Hallowed Secularism, the easy assumption that secular culture will be healthy without religion may prove to be false. Secularists have an unwarranted confidence in themselves and in a new cultural formation. In contrast, I think raising children without religion is quite difficult.

Let me take a specific example. Daniel Dennett came to the New School in New York City in March and told an audience that they should all repeat to defenders of religion that “people can be good without religion.” Dennett presumably exults in the decline of Christianity.

But religion by and large does not claim that it makes people good. Instead, religion, and especially Christianity, begins with the proclamation that people are not good. We lie, we cheat, we steal, we cheat on our spouses and we allow a billion people in the world to live on a dollar a day.

Which is more realistic about human nature, Dennett or the classic Christian view? And what, and for that matter how, will you teach your children the truth about such matters?

Undoubtedly, the decline of religion is inevitable in a scientific culture. Something, however, must replace religion’s wisdom and insight. I assume that whatever that something turns out to be, it will have to borrow from the best of what religion has to offer if it wants to be successful in promoting human flourishing.

I agree, obviously, as I’ve suggested repeatedly.

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Written by Tim Kowal

April 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Posted in Religion

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