Religion Vs. America
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
13-02-2014, 10:34 PM
Religion Vs. America
I thought you all might find this interesting. I first saw it in The Voice of Reason by Leonard Peikoff. It is a speech he gave at the Ford Hall Forum in 1986.

He contends that there was a flaw in the founding of this country that sewed the seeds of the country's destruction. That flaw was the attempt to combine the political ideas of the age of reason and the enlightenment with the ethics of religion. I think he is right on the money. I think the country has moved much farther away from reason and liberty towards faith and force since then. I was just out of high school in '86 so I really wasn't paying attention but just in the last 15 years and especially in the last 10 the move seems to be accelerating.

I'm pretty new here and I wasn't sure which forum to put this in. I started to post it in philosophy but since it deals with religion I thought it belonged here instead. It is really long but I think you'll enjoy it. I'm interested to see what you all think. Incidentally if I don't respond right away it is because I'm very behind in my work because of an injury and so I'll be away from the computer a lot. I'm mostly posting it because I thought it would be interesting to you all.

Here is the link: http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?id=5360

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-02-2014, 11:09 PM
RE: Religion Vs. America
I don't think his argument in whole, really makes any sense. First we have this,

Peikoff Wrote:My answer is now evident. America does rest on a code of values and morality--in this, the New Right is correct. But, by all the evidence of philosophy and history, it does not rest on the values or ideas of religion. It rests on their opposite.

...and then later this

Peikoff Wrote:There was a flaw in the intellectual foundation of America from the start: the attempt to combine the Enlightenment approach in politics with the Judeo-Christian ethics. For a while, the latter element was on the defensive, muted by the eighteenth-century spirit, so that America could gain a foothold, grow to maturity, and become great. But only for a while.

I understand where he's trying to go, which is to argue that ethics should be based on enlightened self interest and not assumptions about the inherent worth of things, but he never really ties that to what the founders should have done differently. Afterall, they weren't writing a philosophical tritease on ethics, they were trying to put together a government that could effectively fend off Brittain, France, and Spain, and something that would not quickly turn to despotism.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-02-2014, 11:12 PM
RE: Religion Vs. America
Oooh boy...

I am the closest thing you can get to an objectivist and I will state that this is one point where I depart from it. Strongly. Objectivists tend to say that people who fall for religion are immoral and/or cowards and I disagree. While I dislike religion there are those for whom it is a net positive and I wouldn't deprive them of it provided they leave me alone.

Second point is that statement is blatantly WRONG. Our founding principals are secular, and they are very contrary to church teachings. In fact the religiousness of the country was falling until the great awakening.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes natachan's post
13-02-2014, 11:39 PM
RE: Religion Vs. America
I was having similar thoughts a few days back.
Thread-Christianity-Is-Un-American

But this version of is to ought? Dunno.

"What we need is an integrated, consistent philosophy in every branch, and especially in the two most important ones: epistemology and ethics. We need a philosophy of reason and of rational self-interest, a philosophy that would once again release the power of man's mind and the energy inherent in his pursuit of happiness. Nothing less will save America or individual rights."

History gives us examples of where a "consistent philosophy" becomes ideology which becomes dogma.

I think the philosophy already exists but cannot be imposed it must be allowed to evolve.

But then, no one's asking me.

Shy

Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-02-2014, 11:46 PM
RE: Religion Vs. America
(13-02-2014 11:12 PM)natachan Wrote:  Oooh boy...

I am the closest thing you can get to an objectivist and I will state that this is one point where I depart from it. Strongly. Objectivists tend to say that people who fall for religion are immoral and/or cowards and I disagree. While I dislike religion there are those for whom it is a net positive and I wouldn't deprive them of it provided they leave me alone.

Second point is that statement is blatantly WRONG. Our founding principals are secular, and they are very contrary to church teachings. In fact the religiousness of the country was falling until the great awakening.


I think you're right about that. I felt that way for a long time. Then I thought back to how many things I accepted on faith. Was I a bad person because of it? I don't think so. I would be now if I used it knowing it is irrational. I think the vast majority of people are raised to think of faith as just another path to the truth and most don't examine their beliefs that closely. I know I didn't for a long time. I think that a person is immoral if they know that faith is an unreliable way to gain knowledge and they go ahead using it anyway.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: