Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Moyers on fundamentalism

Bill Moyers recently spoke at the Union Theological Seminary on the topic of religious fundamentalism and the American government. The text of his address is must reading. I'd excerpt and describe the article, but I couldn't do it justice. Just go read it.

Link via the nut.


Agent 31 said...

I always thought the most compelling argument was two-fold:

1.) Mixing religion and government for any reason, "positive" or "negative" has always ended poorly. Check an encyclopedia and look at the downfall of every empire in history. It's not a coincidence. Religion is the anti-thesis of reason.

2.) America was founded on a "separation of church and state" tenet, and that has always been part of the reason for our success. We've been able to govern based on the will of the people and by good, rational sense, rather than the will of a disembodied God.

Charlie said...

Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.

-- James Madison, Memoral and Remonstrance

The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

I was interested in the Harris citation, "...we desperately need to reaffirm the principle that it is possible to carry out an analysis of social life which rational human beings will recognize as being true, regardless of whether they happen to be women or men, whites or black, straights or gays, employers or employees, Jews or born-again Christians. ..."

It's a string of opposites, and then "Jews or Christians." Eh? Not "atheists or religionists?" Other than the divinity of Jesus, what social issues do orthodox Jews and Christians disagree about?

Perhaps Harris was just saying that atheists automatically come up with the principle that it is possible to carry out an analysis of social life which rational human beings will recognie as being true, by definition. I'll chalk the omission up to that.

Orange said...

Well, Atheist, I see that as a rhetorical device more than an exhaustive listing. There are races other than black and white and gender identities other than gay and straight; some people are neither employee nor employer, and many other ilks of religious/nonreligious groupings. But I do like the conclusion in your second paragraph!

The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Nod, I know it was off-the-cuff and rhetorical, but I still bristle when I see atheists willfully omitted from discussions that should include us as equals, the way feminists rightly bristle when they see "men" where the expression should be "people" or "men and women".