Doing God

Not been tempted to interject yet in the PM “Christian Country” vs the BHA Open Letter response, but there is one point I need to make.

Fact: we are a Christian country in the sense that not only cultural but also deep and long-standing institutional “traditions” have arisen from Christian values.

That says nothing exclusive about whether equivalent values could not have arisen from any other religious or secular traditions, nor whether the values inherited from Christian tradition were themselves inherited from earlier mythologies and practices, nor continuously evolving with parallel traditions.

It also says nothing about God or belief in any god, or modern religious and secular practices of any current population. Christ was a human prophet, or at least the imperfectly-attributed preachings of a collection of human prophets, together with a whole lot of baggage concerning mythical and metaphorical explanations and exhortations.

Humanist values may not need a Christian tradition, but they don’t need amnesia either. It is (probably) possible to build a fairly comprehensive set of rules of thumb regarding human behaviour starting with the golden rule, though it is equally improbable that the golden rule could itself be derived from first principles in any absolute sense. The point is we’d need “our values”  enshrined in some “tradition” – we can’t afford every human to learn every value by individual empirical experience, nor by popular vote in each generation.

Life is not a repeatable experiment.

On the big questions, of time and causation, the origins and composition of the universe, even science long since left empirical falsifiability far behind, so let’s not tie-up real-life politics with the scientistic neurosis of exclusive logical objectivity.

[Post Notes]

[Previously here. And update here, Miliband “Jewish but not religious.”]

[Plus 8 arguments.]

[Post-Archbishop. Finally, as usual, the (now ex-)Archbishop agrees with me. “Cultural memory is strongly Christian”, unless of course you are a wilful amnesiac, as I said. He uses the expression “post-Christian” in the sense of post-Modern, as in not excluding Christian, but taking it further. I’ve always seen him as “extra-Christian” much to the annoyance of practising Christians in his time. Too clever for the Archbishop’s good, but the lord-spiritual spot-on as usual. He and Wilby make a great double-act as the post-Archbishop said to the Archbishop.]


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