Don’t Look to Secularism if You Want to Bathe in a Kinder, Gentler World

Don’t Look to Secularism if You Want to Bathe in a Kinder, Gentler World August 25, 2016

Unacceptable beach outfits by Republican secularism’s current moral standards (Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884; Wikimedia, PD-Old-100)

The problem of violence is an inherently human problem. It is unavoidable, because violence is part of the human condition. Even something as quotidian as eating food is based upon doing violence to plant and animal life.

51gpccW4V0L__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Some secularist ideologues claim to have solved the problem of violence by scapegoating religion. Their argument about the better angels of secularism is based upon the following premises:

  • religion is violent
  • if you get rid of religion then the world will become less violent
  • blame any persistence of violence on the remnants of religious belief
  • continue eradicating religion as much as possible
  • anticipate world peace

The main problem with this solution to the problem is that it’s based upon these false premises. Religion is not inherently violent, instead, as Rene Girard has argued, religions frequently are, among other things, systems for addressing problems of violence, problems that preceded them, problems as old as humanity. Therefore, getting rid of religion will most likely make the world more violent, because it will sweep away ritual prohibitions whose functions include the management of violence.

Another problem with this narrative is that it reproduces the doctrine of Original Sin (along with redemption) without admitting it, much as Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein–three of the greatest modern philosophers–did according to Stephen Mulhall in his notable book Philosophical Myths of the Fall.

51pbZrWl46L._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_To be honest, I don’t actually see these overlaps as problems, but the atheists who might be in denial, the sorts that hate fellow atheist John Gray for pointing these obvious facts out, might be disturbed to see that their anti-religious ethics and hopes are based upon tradition, even worse, a religious tradition!

This brings us France’s violent repression against the burkini, which undermines the myth of secularist tolerance as The Guardian reports:

Authorities in several French towns have implemented bans on the burkini,which covers the body and head, citing concerns about religious clothing in the wake of recent terrorist killings in the country.

The images of police confronting the woman in Nice on Tuesday show at least four police officers standing over a woman who was resting on the shore at the town’s Promenade des Anglais, the scene of last month’s Bastille Day lorry attack.

After they arrive, she appears to remove a blue long-sleeved tunic, although one of the officers appears to take notes or issue an on-the-spot fine.

The photographs emerged as a mother of two also told on Tuesday how she had been fined on the beach in nearby Cannes wearing leggings, a tunic and a headscarf.

The reason for the whole scene?

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