Thursday, March 8, 2012

O Ye of Little Faith

     It was news today that evangelist television personality Pat Robertson has decided the so-called War on Drugs has failed and that therefore marijuana should be legalized and controlled like alcohol. What does this prove? If nothing else, it clearly establishes that whatever strength religious convictions can give to moral positions is not always very great. If even Pat Robertson has embraced marijuana legalization, then reliance on religion as a bulwark for morality is misplaced. But of course this conclusion really is not news. Many (perhaps most?) religious people seem to hold their moral convictions lightly. Think of the number of divorced Christians you know. Meditate on the Christian denominations that now ordain homosexuals. Cogitate on the number of Christian women who violate their own Bible’s prohibition against immodest clothing. It’s one thing not to be a Christian and then reject the teachings of the Bible. It’s another thing entirely to claim Christian faith—and then reject the teachings of the Bible. At least for some people who assert Christianity, secular hedonism and political correctness are more powerful than faith.


  1. I don't often spring to the defence of the religious, but frankly I don't think the Bible is clear cut enough to give much in the way of guidance on most issues. If God did write it, he obviously wanted his followers to use their own judgement. The implication of that is of course that an atheist's morality is just as valid as a believers. But I think we knew that anyway.

  2. Historyscientist, I’m glad some in our little corner of skepticism are prepared to defend the religious. Among the many questions unresolved in my mind is to what extent religion—and Christianity in particular—can be helpful in sustaining the moral core of a free republic. For purely secular and historical reasons, I believe a free republic requires citizens who are self-regulating in their private conduct. Can Christianity help? Not to be too hard on Christians, who would be the first to admit they are sinners like the rest of us, but many of them have modified their doctrine and practice to accommodate the Leftist moral conclusions of the last 50 years. It’s a separate conversation whether such conclusions are good for the body politic, but as an empirical matter, the ability of Christianity to answer and oppose such conclusions is still an open question.

  3. Feel like you want to say that religious people, particularly Christians, are hypocrite.

    I'm not sure the world now will be better without religions which teaches the limits of what is allowed and what is not. Perhaps just let the preacher do their "good job", and then those who have critical thinking (like you do via this post) patted their butt if it is off track. On the other hand, secular hedonism and political correctness maybe more powerful than faith but not a guarantee to establish a better morality. Like symbiosis mutualism, both of them works on our life.

    There's always the "right" counterbalance the "left", and vice versa. I'm just imagining the principle of Yin & Yang, and not intended to promote it.

  4. Tikno, I think Christians would be the first to admit they are sinners like the rest of us. As for the world being better off without religions, I’m not actually sure that’s possible for human beings. We seem to be a religious species, so I think the trick may be to support the religions that do the most good. So, where Christianity says, “love thy neighbor as thyself” I’m supportive. Maybe you said it best of all when you spoke about balance.