The Un-Enlightenment continues..

When out-going Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, complained of a “growing hesitation” to reference religious belief in public debate I argued that “the only issue of matter is whether any argument put forward is rational.” As this recent case proves supernatural beliefs can conflict with necessary medical treatment. And there is an attempt to influence public policy in this area. As this Irish Times report notes, the author of Health Research Board-funded report from Trinity College Dublin’s Irish School of Ecumenics – “Committed to applied research at the intersection of politics, theology and religion” – Dr Katy Radford, has stated

“There can never be a one size fits all approach to religious practices. Because there is such diversity in people and in their faith practices, no blueprint can ever take the place of simply asking questions like ‘how would you like to be treated’, or ‘what would you like?,'”

Also of interest are these lines from the Health Policy Formation in a Christian Culture with Religious Minorities Project’s website

Simple multicultural policies in many countries are now coming under strain, and analysts acknowledge that the liberal strategy of ‘consensus by avoidance’ is in need of revision. The strain is for the most part a result of the failure of these policies to take religion sufficiently seriously.

More on the Un-Enlightenment here.

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  • Aldamir

    I remember back in the 1970s that the average smug English commentator on Northern Ireland affairs would always have a little chuckle at how backward and medieval we all were because of this quasi religious division in our politics.

    Now, 30 years later, post-Yugoslavia and post September 11 our politics look a lot less medieval and a lot more like we got to the 21st century first.

  • Damian O’Loan

    It is valuable that attention is being drawn to this issue.

    I would argue that the international campaign to increase the role of religion in politics is a response to the individualisation that has become the hallmark of our economic system. Since its economic basis is the raison d’être of our democratic system in its present state of decline (see Aristotle for an accurate account of this decline) I would view this as a means of decreasing egotism without impacting on commitment to consumerism.

    It is logical that the campaign has notable supporters in Ahern, Blair and Bush.

    From the point of view of the an engineering graduate, for example, why join the Army when life will be easier and more prosperous in the private sector. For patriotism? Less and less convincing to most people.

    And so, how can Ahern & Co reconcile the commitment to our scientific philosopy that has contributed to economic dominance with the need for irrational decisions, like laying down one’s life for country?

    I think they wager on religion being a sense of identity, a unifying bond that encourages obedience to greater power, that sits uneasily, but quite stably, alongside commitment to the scientific system in many, if not most, people. And they seek to capitalise upon religion (christianity) to take the role of patriotism.

    “our politics look a lot less medieval and a lot more like we got to the 21st century first.”

    Almost there, I think. But it’s rather that we’re all moving backwards together. Or rather, we’re being pushed, and this kind of blog constitutes valuable resistance.

    A multicultural Europe and America is a step on the road to ending the war on terror. Efforts will be made to expel non-Christians and homologise the population. So we can believe in an other who treatens us and must be destroyed – how rational.

  • DO’L

    And so, how can Ahern & Co reconcile the commitment to our scientific philosopy that has contributed to economic dominance with the need for irrational decisions, like laying down one’s life for country?

    I don’t think that religion is necessarily that irrational. Most people who have the bug actually think that there is something there. Giving one life for one’s country would be irrational in my opinion too. But to generally associate religion with these practices is inappropriate in my opinion. That is nationalism and patriotism, which are pseudo-religions that true Christians must resist.

    True Christianity comes down to a desire to save the world from the destruction of individualistic practices. True Christianity is the opponent of Capitalism, and the empires that fuel that destructive force.

    I learned from my own interpretations of the Book of Revelation which were very relevant to Northern Ireland in the 1970-1998 period that the world is now at a crossroads, where it can welcome Christ or suffer catastropically.

    Click on my name for more on those interpretations of the Book of Revelation.

  • greener fields

    “I learned from my own interpretations of the Book of Revelation which were very relevant to Northern Ireland in the 1970-1998 period that the world is now at a crossroads, where it can welcome Christ or suffer catastropically.”

    Proof that religion is irrational.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Damien,

    I couldn’t join an army that spends much of it’s time fighting proxy wars on behalf of corporate interests, which is what the war in Iraq was. Point out a clear and present threat, and you’ll see something different.

  • RepublicanStones

    As regards joining the army, it has been tarnished somewhat with Eisenhower’s military industrial complex out in the open. As regards paitriotism, its a case of whether or you agree with Samuel Johnson’s view of whether or not every man secretly thinks mean of himself for not having been a soldier.

  • “Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.”

    Proof that atheism is irrational.

  • Debbie

    How rational is it to deny blood to someone in hospital. I’m glad that religious belief was not allowed to stop the medical treatment. It ought to be hospital policy rather than them having to go to court.

  • George

    21st Century rationality, the move from authoritarian to non-authoritarian eugenics.

    How enlightened.

  • abucs

    We want a world where the decision to go to war is seen as irrational to everyone.

    To get that consensus on a world scale we have to engage in respect and principles with the world, not, as it was rightly referred to above – looking for consensus through avoidence.

    That thinking has been the mantra for the leaders/media of many western countries IMHO.

    This idea of ‘we the enlightened’ know best, and when you come to your senses, you will too, just builds up resentment and resistance and leads to a slowly increasing apartheid of minds.

    It can be seen in a variety of areas.

    Intelligent and respectful dialogue turns into indirect ridicule at a distance which further worsens the situation.

    The idea that our views are the right and only ones and that it is pointless to dialogue with the other because it is obviously wrong, seems to necessarily narrow the mind and could lead to explosive problems down the track.

    That seems very unenlightened IMHO.