The god proposition is supported not by fact, but by faith. At the end of the day, the final word that the religiously-disposed have is to say that “It is so because I believe it to be so,” before covering their ears. For them, this trumps everything.
This is the hook that caught Descartes when he confronted the issue, and then backed off very quickly. “I think,” he said, “Therefore I am.” This is fine. He is self-aware therefore he is sure he exists. He cannot be entirely sure that he exists as he perceives himself or that anything that is around him is as he perceives it, but he does make a very convincing argument, based on the progression of rational logic, that it is so (and thus takes several hundred pages to confirm what any pragmatist already knows. But that’s an aside.) However, when confronted by the idea of God, God must exist, he says “Because he cannot imagine a world in which he does not.” Oops.
Witch-burning is out of fashion in the West these days. Fortunately. But the intolerance that caused it is still with us, and it’s getting more strident. The Internet has given voice to some whose opinions, frankly, are odious, and ‘multiculturalism’ that shameful abrogation of the moral values of our secular society, makes it increasingly difficult for anyone to express legitimate criticism of some of the nastiest ideas put forward by what is, frankly, a thoroughly poisonous group of people.
Today, the victims of the intolerance are not witches or pagans or dissident Protestants, Catholics or Jews. They are ordinary decent people who have been brought up to believe that they have a right to speak freely. After all, the US has a Constitution that enshrines it, and through all those long years of the Cold War, the one thing we in Europe held most dear was that in our culture, freedom of speech was assured, for without it, there would be no freedom at all. If we were to be ‘better dead than Red’ and we would have been, it was in the name of Freedom of Speech that we should have faced our nuclear Calvary.
Political correctitude has evolved into an intolerant, totalitarian, supremacist ideology. One that shouts down dissent and resorts to ad hominems like ‘racist’, ‘bigot’, ‘misogynist’, and ‘Islamophobe’, to derail debate and elicit knee-jerk support. In many ways, left-wing apologists bear a striking resemblance to apologists for Islamism. Just as Islamists have intimidated far too many people, media outlets, and governments into squelching dissent, so has the politically correct left. Just as Islamists believe their ideology to be superior and sacrosanct, so does the politically correct left. Just as everybody must respect Allah, the Quran and Muhammad, so must everybody respect politically correct ideals: if you don’t, you’ll feel the wrath of adherents.
Don’t get me wrong . . . I like liberal ideals like minority rights; gay rights; women’s liberation; inclusion; affirmative action; and support for the poor, disadvantaged, and downtrodden; etc. These values have made our country strong, prosperous, and free. The problem is not our values: it’s how we apply them to domestic and foreign policy.
The recent exchange between Hollywood star Ben Affleck and writer Sam Harris on Bill Maher’s popular show has highlighted the fundamental problem of the ‘liberal left’. The crux of the argument rested on Affleck’s Politically Correct presumption that it is never acceptable to criticise another culture. This view holds that all cultures are equally valid and that persons inside the dominant culture – in this case a Post-Renaissance, post-Christian European one – may never criticise any aspect of another culture, which in this case was Islam.
Now the rights and wrongs of the argument are clear to anyone who watches the exchange, which is here: (http://youtu.be/vln9D81eO60) and I advise readers to do this. They will see that Harris maintained a reserved and non-confrontational position throughout, whereas Affleck behaved like a hectoring bully.
Affleck, while wrong, was only iterating the underlying viewpoint of the culture he espouses, which he calls ‘liberal’.
World War Three has been much talked about in the seven decades since World War Two ended. At that time, almost all of Europe and large parts of Asia were in ruins, scourged by years of brutal, mechanised, industrial war.
Since the beginning of that peace, war has raged incessantly throughout the world. It has never stopped. The killing, the butchery, the rapes, the genocides, the ethnic cleansings. Mass rapes, murders, enslavements. Whole cities destroyed, nations impoverished or obliterated.
Has World War Three begun?
As I write, war is raging in the Middle East, in Africa, in Asia. Why? If the end of World War Two heralded in an ‘era of peace’, then why is there so much war? And how fragile is that peace?
I was asked today if I was a ‘liberal’. Now in all honesty, until quite recently, I would just have said ‘yes’ and moved on. Simple, easy, checks the right boxes. But the world is not as it was; liberalism has become infected with some appallingly bad ideas that we have to stand up to and defeat. So when I analysed ‘what I am’ I came up with this: a socially aware, libertarian, scientific, secularist.
So, for this week’s Friday Politics, what does being a socially aware, libertarian, scientific, secularist, mean and why is it not the same as being a ‘liberal’?
The Hadith constitute the third pillar of Islam. They are ‘commentaries on the life of the Prophet.’ They are second in authority only to the Qur’an itself. The other pillars are the Qur’an and the Sirah . Together with the Sharia these form the ideological basis for the ‘religion of peace’.
Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the literal word of Allah. The Angel Gabriel transmitted it, exactly as spoken, to Mohammed. He memorised it because he couldn’t write. You make your own judgements as to how accurate his recall was likely to have been. (The Qur’an was not actually written down until some 80 years after Mohammed’s death, which is also worth considering.)
We wake to a morning of black tragedy in Europe as it has, again, been scourged by a Muslim terror attack. This great continent with its myriad and vibrant culture, that has given so much to the world, is on the long march to its final Calvary. And all I can say, my heart breaking, is ‘I told you so.’
Yesterday, the 14th of July, a Muslim terrorist hired a truck and drove it at speed through the crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. Weaving from side to side to kill as many as he could, the driver, a Franco-Tunisian, brought death and horror to a 2-kilometre long section of the Promenade des Anglais, on the seafront. At least 84 people were murdered and another 18 may not survive their injuries. The killer’s name was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel. The attack is typical of those carried out by Daesh, aka ISIS or ISIL.
Bastille Day is as great a family celebration in France as Christmas is, perhaps even more. Children, among the dead and maimed, were out having fun with their parents. Whole families were run over. Wives were murdered in front of their husbands as they shared a brief moment of happiness.