In a previous post, I explained why I believe that materialism (the belief that matter is the only reality) cannot make sense of the truth of materialism.
My reasoning was hard to follow and this prompted me to try to reformulate my argument.
Platonism and Nominalism
According to Platonism, abstract objects not existing in space and time (such as numbers, mathematical operations, concepts such as “everything”, “nothing”, “everywhere” etc.) are real and necessary to talk about the world.
For instance, while considering the sentence
“All roses in my garden are red”
a Platonist will consider the words “all” and “red” as examples of abstract objects (or universals) which determine its truth or falsehood.
A Nominalist rejects the existence of abstract objects which are considered as being useful human conventions.
According to them, the above sentence can be rephrased as
“Rose number 1, 2, 3…. and N have roughly the same colour as tomatoes”
thereby seemingly doing away with the indispensability of abstract concepts.
It is important to realise that the plausibility of Nominalism stands and falls with its ability to reformulate such statements without the use of any abstract objects.
If abstract objects can be shown to be indispensable to give a meaning to a sentence, Nominalism is false.
What is the truth of materialism?
Materialists MUST be Nominalists as they reject the existence of anything not located in space and time.
At face value, the truth of materialism can be expressed in different ways:
“Everything is material”
“There is nothing immaterial”
“If A truly exists, A is material”
“If A is a real thing, A is material”
But is there a way to formulate this proposition without appealing to any abstract entities?
It seems to me that in that specific context, all words I have underlined are abstract entities.
Actually, in order to avoid a tautology (such as ‘all material things are material’), it appears to me that you must allow for the possibility that the “real thing” A could be non-material. And as such, A cannot be identified with any physical things of our physical universe (and combinations thereof).
Note that I am not saying that the underlined words cannot be interpreted nominallistically in other situations.
But here it seems impossible to me to express the truth of materialism while only appealing to material entities.
If I’m right about that, whenever we assert the truth of materialism we must resort to fictional unreal notions.
Are materialists cutting off the branch they are sitting on?
I’d be interested to learn if you think I’m wrong and that you know such formulations which do not merely shift the problem.
When everything is sexism , nothing is ? When everything is racism , nothing is ? When everything is mental illness , nothing is ?
My answer follows.
Sexism means that ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, you treat a person differently because of his or her gender.
Racism means that ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL, you treat a person differently because of his or her ethnicity.
Mental illness means you suffer from a condition which makes your life significantly harder than those of members of the general population.
The definitions of words stem from the intuitive understanding of ordinary folks and not from the wishes of ideologists.
I think that what I wrote corresponds very well to how the man (or woman) in the street understands these terms.
This has important consequences.
Let us consider that in the field of mechanical engineering, there are 20% of women and 80% of men. According to most feminists, there should be 50% of women having good jobs, otherwise sexism is at play. This is bullshit. The right proportion of hired females under those circumstances should be 20%.
By trying to force 50% (as they do in Germany and Austria), they unfairly give a female candidate much more chances to get employed just because she’s got two X-Chromosomes.
If feminists want 50% of women having jobs in that field, they should encourage more girls to orientate their studies accordingly instead of discriminating qualified men.
To the dismay of my liberal friends, I also believe that Arabs calling an innocent child in French suburbs “Jewish bastard” or “white bastard” are racists.
A lot of innocent Arabs suffer from discriminations in France but there are also Arabs who attack innocent white people out of racial hatred.
I’m an egalitarian. If I had a white-skinned son and an adopted black-skinned Lesbian daughter who had the same qualifications, I would like them to have EXACTLY THE SAME CHANCES.
Do you want to be bullied, ridiculed and dehumanised by a LIBERAL culture warrior?
Say to him or her any of the following things.
1) Systematic racism against afro-americans is alive and well in America in 2016. This shouldn’t be tolerated. But there are also innocent white kids who get bullied and battered just because of their skin colour. This should be called racial hatred and equally combated.
2) Nowadays, there is still an intolerable level of homophobia and misogyny in the Western World. We must not deny this but eagerly fight it. However,in 2016 the oppression of gays and females is MUCH worse in Muslim countries. They (and liberal Muslims who defend them) are much more in need of our support than Western females and homosexuals.
4) A man whose life has been destroyed by a false rape accusation is as much in need of our help and compassion as a woman whose life has been destroyed by a true rape.
5) While assessing the existence of real discriminations in the here and now in a given society (say America), you shouldn’t directly compare the whole groups of non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, blacks and Asians because these populations can be extremely different in terms of poverty, culture and many other factors.
Instead, while investigating academic success, unjustified police arrests, discriminations etc., you should compare homogeneous groups such as:
a) wealthy whites and wealthy blacks coming from wealthy neighbourhoods
b) poor whites and poor blacks coming from poor neighbourhoods
c) qualified men and qualified women applying for academic positions in philosophy or mechanical engineering.
6) Anti-black racism isn’t only a Western phenomenon. There are awful cases of persecutions of black Africans in Arabic countries as well. This is something progressive Arabs clearly expose and fight. Curiously, this is something progressive Westerners choose to completely ignore because it destroys their most fundamental beliefs.
7) Race-based affirmative action is unjust and inevitably upholds artificial divisions of humankind.
Instead, it should be replaced by a set of three measures
i) wealth-based affirmative action
ii) any enterprise must have the same amount of employees belonging to the ethnic minority as the amount of that ethnic minority among qualified candidates.
iii) public education in poor neighbourhoods must be extremely strengthened and improved through the intervention of the State. Much more money needs to be spent in these areas.
8) Discriminating a person because he or she is obese, unattractive or behaves oddly due to a mental health condition isn’t any less immoral than discriminating him or her based on race, gender or sexual orientation.
9) Stealing the wallet of a person swinging it around in the street is as immoral as stealing it from his or her closed pockets.
But given the bad mentality of a large number of people, it might not be wise to hold it in one’s hands while walking down certain streets.
Raping a sexily dressed and attractive woman is as wrong, egregious and wicked as raping a “modestly” dressed woman.
But given the bad mentality of a large number of men, it might not be wise to dress oneself provocatively under certain circumstances.
Liberalism, rationality and morality
I want to make it perfectly clear that what I wrote does NOT concern all liberals, but only the true “culture warriors” among them.
These people view themselves as the champions of truth, reason, decency and intelligence.
Actually, my numerous interactions with them have shown me they aren’t any different from nasty religious fundamentalists aggressively defending their cherished dogmas, without evidence and often even in the face of evidence.
I consider myself a progressive Christian because I believe that the Bible contains contradictions and errors and that we need to use our God-given conscience in order to figure out what is right and what is wrong in a complex world and to make moral progress.
And this all too often leads me to think outside the box, as the content of this post proves.
Frankly, I am ready to give up any of the nine “heretical” beliefs I laid out if you give me compelling rational arguments against them.
Insulting and dehumanising me would be definitely most entertaining (to me) 🙂
Alas, it is unlikely to change my mind in the least.
It is particularly embarrassing that many of these self-righteous “leftists” are self-professed Christians.
By bullying their respectful opponents and treating them like the scum of the world, they are dishonouring Christ who taught us to even love our enemy.
Then I said to myself, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise? I said to myself, “This too is meaningless.” For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!” Kohelet. Da sprach ich in meinem Herzen: “Wenn mir doch das gleiche Geschick widerfährt wie dem Toren, warum bin ich denn so überaus weise geworden? Und ich sprach in meinem Herzen: “Auch das ist nichtig!” Denn dem Weisen wird ebensowenig wie dem Toren ein ewiges Andenken zuteil, weil in den künftigen Tagen längst alles vergessen sein wird. Und wie stirbt doch der Weise samt dem Toren dahin! Kohelet. Et j’ai dit en mon coeur: J’aurai le même sort que l’insensé; pourquoi donc ai-je été plus sage? Et j’ai dit en mon coeur que c’est encore là une vanité. Car la mémoire du sage n’est pas plus éternelle que celle de l’insensé, puisque déjà les jours qui suivent, tout est oublié. Eh quoi! le sage meurt aussi bien que l’insensé! Kohelet.
Raymond saw that the whole cave of Saint Barbe, by the village of Falck in Lorraine, was shaken. Raimund sah, dass die ganze Höhle der Heiligen Barbe beim Dorf Falck in Lothringen erschüttert wurde. Raymond vit que toute la grotte de Sainte-Barbe, près du village de Falck en Lorraine, où il se trouvait avait été ébranlée.
He looked at the apparition which was glaring at him in a way no mortal mind could have ever interpreted. Er schaute auf die Erscheinung, die auf ihn auf eine Weise blickte, die kein sterblicher Geist hätte je deuten können. Il observa l’apparition qui lui lançait un regard qu’aucun esprit mortel n’aurait jamais été en mesure d’interpréter.
“If you truly seek salvation, you won’t fail to heed my words and lay down the weapons you’ve deceptively acquired”, the otherworldly creature said. “Wenn du wirklich das Heil suchst, wirst du ganz bestimmt meine Wörter beachten und die Waffen fallen lassen, die du dir auf eine betrügerische Weise angeeignet hast”, sagte die Kreatur aus einer anderen Welt. “Si tu cherches vraiment le Salut, tu ne manqueras pas de prêter attention à mes paroles et tu laisseras tomber les armes que tu as acquises à travers ta tromperie”, dit la créature d’un autre monde.
“What are you talking about?”, he answered in a defying tone while swinging his sword. “Wovon redest Du denn?” antwortete er mit herausfordernder Stimme, während er sein Schwert schwang. “Mais de quoi parles tu ?”, repondit-il avec une voix de défi tout en brandissant son épée.
A sound vaguely resembling a laughter resounded in the cave. Ein Geräusch, das etwa an ein Gelächter erinnerte schallte in der Höhle wider. Un son ressemblant vaguement à un rire résonna dans la cave.
“I know you aren’t quite satisfied with the fate which awaits every creature of your kind.” „Ich weiss, dass Du nicht ganz mit dem Schicksal zufrieden bist, das jedes Geschöpf deiner Art erwartet. « Je sais que tu n’es pas tout à fait satisfait du destin qui attend toute les créatures de ton espèce. »
You know, the thing you call…Ah, what’s the word? Death? Ich meine…das Ding, das ihr so nennt…Ach, was ist das Wort? Tod? Je veux dire…cette chose que vous appelez…Ah, quel est le mot? Mort ?”
All your feelings, desires, dreams, longings and noblest achievements will inexorably trail off into space one day, am I correct?”, the unknown being replied. All Deine Gefühle, Wünsche, Träume, Sehnsüchte und edelsten Errungenschaften werden sich eines Tages unausweichlich in die Luft auflösen, nicht wahr?”, erwiderte das unbekannte Wesen. Tous tes sentiments, désirs, rêves, soupirs et tes accomplissements les plus nobles disparaîtront un jour inexorablement, n’est-ce pas?” répliqua l’être inconnu.
He sighed. Er seuftzte. Il soupira.
“I am aware you would do anything you could to quench your thirst for immortality”, the thing added. “Ich bin mir bewusst, dass du alles mögliches tun würdest, um deinen Durst nach Unsterblichkeit zu stillen” fügte das Ding hinzu. “Je suis conscient que tu ferais tout ce que tu pourrais pour combler ta soif d’immortalité”, ajouta la chose.
“Indeed. How could I not? My own life is what matters most to me”, he answered while whispering, fearful of being heard by other sons of man. “In der Tat. Wie könnte es anders sein? Mein eigenes Leben ist das, was mir am Wichtigsten ist”, antwortete er mit einer flüsternden Stimme, da er befürchtete, von anderen Menschensöhnen gehört zu werden. “En effet. Comment pourrait-il en être autrement? Ma propre vie est ce qu’il y a de plus important pour moi”, répondit-il en chuchotant, craignant d’être entendu par d’autres fils de l’homme.
This time he unmistakably heard the creature laugh in a shrill voice. Dieses Mal nahm er das schrille Lachen der Kreatur auf eine unverkennbare Weise wahr. Cette fois-ci, il perçut nettement le rire strident de la créature.
“My master wasn’t wrong about you. Mein Meister hat sich nicht über dich geirrt. Mon maître ne s’est pas trompé sur ton compte.
If you show us unconditional obedience, we shall grant you the deepest wish of your fragile heart. Wenn du uns bedingungslos gehorchst, werden wir den tiefsten Wunsch deines zerbrechlichen Herzes erfüllen. Si tu te soumets à nous sans conditions, nous exaucerons le souhait le plus profond de ton coeur fragile.
If you slaughter all our enemies in the tainted city of Gehenna, we shall save your soul from the eternal unconscious slumber in the colourless valley of Sheol it is currently heading to.” Wenn du all unsere Feinde in der befleckten Stadt Gehenna schlachtest, werden wir ganz bestimmt deine Seele vor dem ewigen bewusstlosen Schlaf im farbenlosen Tal von Scheol retten, wonach sie sich gerade richtet.” Si tu massacres tous nos ennemis dans la ville souillée de Géhenne, nous sauverons ton âme de l’éternel sommeil inconscient dans la vallée de Shéol, depourvue de couleurs, vers laquelle elle se dirige.”
He wanted to ask for more details, but the being disappeared instantaneously in a blur of reddish mist. Er wollte ihn nach mehr Einzelheiten fragen, aber dann verschwand das Wesen augenblicklich in einem Wirbel rötlichen Nebels. Il voulut lui demander plus de détails, mais l’être disparut instantanément dans un tourbillon de brouillard rougeâtre.
It didn’t take long before he decided to completely surrender his own heart to darkness. Es dauerte nicht lange, bevor er sich entschloss, sein eigenes Herz der Dunkelheit völlig zu übergeben. Cela ne dura pas longtemps jusqu’à ce qu’il décidât de soumettre complètement son propre coeur aux ténèbres.
I’m an egalitarian. This means I strongly believe that the well being of every human being is equally important regardless of his or her gender, skin colour, ethnicity or any other feature he is not responsible for.
This conviction of mine leads me to have some ideas many proponents of political correctness and Progressives view as profoundly heretical.
I believe that the current notions of affirmative action and positive discrimination are flawed and unjust and should be redefined with respect to (low) life-standards solely.
It will mean that employers can choose to hire candidates from under-represented groups provided that they are as qualified for the role as other applicants.
A manager will be able lawfully to hire a black man over a white man, a woman over a man, or homosexual man over a heterosexual man, if they have the same skill set.
It is not the same as filling quotas or giving someone a job just because they are a woman, disabled or from an ethnic minority – that would be unlawful.
Positive action is also not the same as positive discrimination, which gives applicants from disadvantaged and under-represented groups preferential treatment in the recruitment process, regardless of their ability to do the job.
An employer cannot offer the job to a woman, or someone from an ethnic background, purely to improve the company’s gender balance.
I want to go into the sentence I emphasised.
Let us consider the following situation.
Lawrence is a straight white man struggling with poverty to such an extent he can no longer afford paying the rent for his cheap flat despite his best efforts.
Laura is a straight white woman coming from a rich family and possessing two houses.
Lawrence and Laura have the same skills with respect to the job they’re applying for.
According to the principle of affirmative action, the employer shall say what follows to Lawrence:
“I’m afraid I cannot give you the job because a woman with the same abilities wants it as well and I’m morally obliged to privilege her. I’m well aware you’re extremely poorer than her. I know that if she doesn’t receive the position, she would still lead a very wealthy life whereas you would plunge into an unspeakable misery. But that doesn’t play any role at all. You must understand that (historically speaking) white males have oppressed females whereas the reverse isn’t true. Therefore, you should accept the fact you have to be discriminated by virtue of having the same gender as the oppressors.”
This is obviously a thought experiment but I think it illustrates very well the problem of current notions of affirmative action.
I must say that in such a situation I can’t help but feel a profound moral indignation. It is hard not to conclude this is collective punishment, the idea that individuals ought to be punished for features they’re not responsible for.
To see how morally problematic this really is, let us just consider what a Hebrew (and brown-skinned) prophet (namely Ezekiel) wrote more than 2500 years ago.
But in that specific case, their own morality is inferior to that of the ancient Hebrew prophet.
He spoke out for justice and emphasised the fact that children aren’t responsible for the sins of their parents and shouldn’t be punished or disadvantaged by virtue of their being their sons or daughters.
Western fans of political correctness think that someone ought to be disadvantaged by virtue of his or her having the same gender or skin colour as people having systematically committed wicked acts.
This isn’t moral progress, not even moral retardation but moral regression.
Rethinking the foundations of affirmative action
I don’t think, however, that the whole concept of affirmative action needs to be jettisoned. I just believe it ought to be redefined.
Obviously,many non-Christians agree with these principles which resonate well with our deepest moral intuitions.
This leads me to the following definition of what positive discrimination ought to be.
PDLS (Positive Discrimination based on Life Standards): all things being equal, a person with a lower quality of life and well-being (he or she isn’t responsible for) ought to be privileged and advantaged.
I also think this ought to be related to the consequences of not being hired on well-being, as my example with Lawrence and Laura made it clear.
I even think that it may be moral to hire such a person even if he or she has slightly inferior skills in comparison to the other candidate.
It is worth noting that my own definition of positive discrimination would still lead African Americans (and Arabs in France) to benefit on average from more advantages because of crying inequalities resulting from history.
I strongly believe, however, that we are falling into a moral trap if we define this more favourable treatment in relation to skin colour, gender or sexual orientation in and of themselves, for the reasons I gave above.
So, if a black and a white man, a gay and a heterosexual, or a male and a female have the same level of well-being and quality of life and not receiving a particular job would have the same impact on them, I don’t see why one of them ought to be discriminated or advantaged.
If, however, a black person not receiving this job would have far more difficulties than a white person to find another one (owing to lingering racism), then her well-being is certainly going to be more affected in the future.
Consequently, according to my own concept of affirmative action, she ought to be favoured.
But in that particular case, I just can’t follow the progressive crowd in good conscience.
Still, I do respect their right to disagree with me on that point.
It is a pity that many of them don’t have this attitude towards me and don’t try to engage any rational conversation but instead resort to emotional bullying, calling me a sexist pig or a white supremacist for holding my egalitarian views.
In many respects, politically correct Liberals can be as callous, self-righteous and arrogant as Conservatives.
On average, both camps seem far more interested in defending their cherished dogmas and making ideological points than in humbly seeking the truth and walking towards authentic justice and love.
Fortunately, I also got to know quite a few folks who respect other views and strive for a friendly dialogue.
It is my genuine hope that this blog post will provide people with food for thought, regardless of whether or not they’ll end up agreeing with me.
It was about my pointing out that anti-white racism is real and should be combated as much as any other kind of racism.
While I don’t necessarily agree with everything she wrote, I find her thoughts really profound.
I have come to think that part of the reason we have failed in the Western world to handle the problem of race productively is because we don’t really understand the problem we are dealing with. We tend to think of racism as interpersonal animus motivated by an irrational dislike for certain races. So the answer must be to fight this interpersonal animus where ever it shows up. However, as we have seen, this isn’t all that effective.
The thing is that back when racism was motivated by this sort of irrational hostility towards a group of people based on race, people didn’t just walk around being nasty to certain groups. They actually set policy which had as its goal putting certain groups at a disadvantage and not allowing them to escape that disadvantage. Often this was done openly for the benefit of the dominant group. For example, it was quite common for discussions of employment to revolve around the need to protect jobs for white men, thus justifying discriminating against women and people of color. We tend to think that these discussions from the past aren’t particularly relevant to the present since we no longer engage in that sort of thinking. However, that doesn’t mean that the problems created by the past go away all by themselves. A good example of this is housing discrimination. After WWII, while white Americans were able to buy houses using the GI Bill, neighborhoods where African Americans were allowed to buy homes were excluded from eligibility for GI loans and other conventional forms of financing. When African Americans figured out ways to buy homes anyways, realtors and bankers engaged in shady practices which resulted in many African Americans losing their homes and those who didn’t were left with homes that were worth less than people had paid for them. Those who lost their homes or never could manage to get a house, were forced into unsafe, poorly serviced neighborhoods. And this is how we ended up with our crime ridden inner cities. We forced people to live there and then blamed them for not being able to overcome all the obstacles placed in their way. So that’s a problem which we created and which is still with us today. But because we think that racism is only about whether one particular person is nice to another particular person, we don’t really understand how unsafe minority communities are the result of racism, much less what to do about it. A lot of people don’t even understand why we might have an obligation to do something, in fact. So we don’t.
Then there’s the fact that people rarely dislike other groups of people for purely irrational reasons anymore. Generally, they have reasons they dislike other people. They don’t like the way they act, talk, dress, their attitudes, their morals, etc, etc, etc. So a lot of people feel like they are being forced to pretend that what they find unacceptable is not problematic for the sake of PC. However, what I have learned is that the things that people are most likely to point to as legitimate reasons for disapproving of another group of people was the direct result of a wrong done to them or their people and a set of insurmountable obstacles they were facing. For example, I have known some of these infamous black men who have children with multiple women, wind up in jail, etc, etc. Every single one of them suffered horrendous abuse growing up. (I am completely convinced that it should be possible to look at any pathologies present in any given African American family and trace them directly back to their people’s experiences during slavery. Women who were raped by their owners did not go on to have healthy relationships with other men. Men beaten by their owners and overseers did not go on to raise their children with patience and time-outs.) All of these men were raised without dads. (The US government went through a period where it would not provide assistance to families with a man in the home. So we’re not innocent in creating that situation.) All of them had witnessed terrible violence both inside and outside the home while growing up. They usually desperately want the love and approval of a woman, but have poor relationship skills and they are attracted to women with similar trauma histories who also have poor relationship skills. These men didn’t just wake up from comfortable lives one day and decide to act an ass. They needed help long before they got to the point of impregnating people and causing trouble. But we have nothing but contempt for these men.
At the end of the day, I think that we simply have not faced the depth of the damage done by our racist past. What we see as increasing levels of pathology, immorality and the like are actually the fruit of seeds planted in our societies long ago reaching harvest time. I think that once we understand the problems that way, we can start finding practical solutions that will make a real difference. But Americans are obscenely immature. Any solution that starts with having compassion on someone who they don’t think deserves compassion is a no-go. Poor Americans vote Republican because they believe in a world where good people get rewarded and bad people get punished. It’s a fantasy, but one that they put their trust in because, after all, they are good people. So if those who share their belief that good people should be rewarded are in charge, they will be rewarded. Or at least they will be able to take some satisfaction in knowing that the bad people (who just so happen to be disproportionately African American) get punished.
Anyhow, sorry this is super long, but it’s a complex topic and one that I’m convinced is generally poorly understood.
There is absolutely no doubt that the white dominant class in America committed atrocious crimes whose consequences can still be felt.
I certainly want justice to be achieved and the wounds of the past to be healed.
Interestingly enough, France has a similar history concerning the housing policy.
After World War II, French capitalists fostered a massive immigration of workers from their Arabic and black African colonies. They did that because this manpower could be paid much less than the salary they would have had to give to Europeans. They decided to put all of them into public housing apartments plagued by poverty and bad life standards.
It was sheer madness to have massively imported workers with a very different cultural background, concentrated them within poor suburbs with awful life conditions, discriminated them and then expected that everything would be just fine.
That said, I must also emphasize that I reject the idea of a collective culpability of the white race (if there really is such a thing in the first place).
I once discussed with a former colleague from Morocco and I told her:
“Racism hasn’t any color. The seeds of hatred, intolerance, bigotry and xenophobia can take root everywhere” and I then went on evoking the case of French children being bullied in schoolyards owing to their being white.
She became really angry.
“But haven’t you seen what France did to us? Aren’t you aware of all the horrors they inflicted to us during the colonial time?”
I wasn’t willing to engage an unproductive verbal fight and so I just left.
While she isn’t an evil person by any means, her words (reflecting what countless people think) are extremely offensive from a moral standpoint.
To see how, let us first consider what a Jewish prophet loudly proclaimed 1600 years ago.
This ancient text is extremely strong in that it went against the widespread concept that children of wicked people should be retributed for the misdeeds of their parents or that their current suffering was a divine punishment (a notion which can, incidentally, be found in other Biblical passages).
More than twenty centuries later, this very notion hasn’t been erased everywhere, alas.
The conversation I had with my former colleague is a sad example of this state of affairs.
If punishing children for the crimes of their parents is morally abhorrent, how much more horrendous is it to bully and hurt someone just because he or she has the same skin color as a group of oppressors.
It is depressing that if anyone dares to speak out about the reality of anti-whit racism, the Slaves of Political Correctness (SPC) shoot from the hip and become morally indignant.
I’m convinced that far from promoting peace, their fanatical denial of this phenomenon fosters a vicious circle of hatred.
Indeed, white folks who have been victim of such hateful acts are likely to join far-right groups after having been ignored or even ridiculed by all mainline politically correct parties.
I’m persuaded that a society where skin color no longer plays any role can only be created through a battle against every kind of hate regardless of its source and object.
Following a discussion about my last post “Ed”, a British atheist asked a terrific question which gave rise to an interesting and enriching conversation.
Ed: Marc, thanks. I am interested in the hiddenness aspect. You say in the piece: “The problem of God allowing many people to remain in the dark about his true nature (divine hiddenness) could be partially solved by considering His leaving freedom to man AND salvation not being dependent on holding the right beliefs while dying.”
Would this include the atheists like me who consider the evidence points strongly away from theism?
Me: Hi Ed! Thanks for your wonderful question.
I can only answer you what Pope Francis stated:
“You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
Let me give you an analogy. I believe that hardcore libertarianism (the idea that the State should NEVER intervene even if poor children are starving) is a wicked system.
I do believe that numerous rich people wanting to preserve or enhance their privileges aren’t sincere when they pretend to be intellectually convinced this is the best system for us all.
YET I also recognize that many libertarians are SINCERELY convinced this is the case and that private donations can take care of the poor.
The same thing could be said about atheism. I find no atheistic arguments convincing.
But I acknowledge the fact that sincere and kind people might disagree with that assessment IN GOOD FAITH.
I also believe there’s nothing wrong at all with respectful atheistic philosophers trying to rationally defend their worldview.
Ed: Great Marc. I take it that when you said “The problem of God allowing many people to remain in the dark about his true nature (divine hiddenness) …” your view is similar to mainstream here: if atheists could overcome their prejudice then they would see the evidence for God as clear, as Rom 1 suggests. Have I read you correctly?
Me: There are two issues which need to be untangled here.
Consequently, I’m not bound to believing that everything he wrote in the book of “Romans” is free of errors.
I certainly don’t think that ALL atheists “capture the Truth” IMMORALLY even if I think this may very well hold for SOME of them.
It is, however, not really clear this is what the apostle meant in the first place.
He might have had a cultural rather than individual responsibility in mind.
2) Do atheists think as they do due to prejudices?
It is my contention that all humans walk by faith AS I JUST DEFINED IT.
P.S: capital letters don’t mean I’m angry. 🙂
I greatly appreciated the respectful tone of Ed.
In the context of the culture war raging in America (and to a lesser extent in the whole English-speaking world) we see two bunches of extremists fighting anyone disagreeing with them in a flurry of over-generalizations and straw-man arguments.