Secularism and Aged Care

Secularism and Aged Care July 15, 2012

My buddy John Dickson writes a provocative piece in the SMH that an increasingly secular culture and an increasingly aged population are disastrous. It will lead to a decline in aged care for those with intensive needs like dementia because secularism has no capacity to assign value to the mentally ill. He writes:

Yale’s great philosopher-theologian Nicholas Wolterstorff goes further in his book Justice: Rights and Wrongs. He argues that a rational justification for treating humans as ”inestimably precious”, regardless of capacities, can only be found in a theistic framework. Only if the abandoned infant on the hills of ancient Rome or the estranged resident in a Sydney dementia unit is created in the image of God, can we secure an intellectual basis for treating both individuals with the same dignity we afford society’s most able.

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  • Joe Rigney

    Which is why many Christians in America are reluctant to hand over our health care system to a secular government. (this is what Palin was getting at with her “death panels” comment).

  • Alphazulu99

    “…because secularism has no capacity to assign value to the mentally ill.”

    Jesus fucking Christ!!! Are you guys really that fucking deluded and ignorant?

    Try letting a little light into your deluded Jesus brains. You might start with this book:

    “Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment”–Phil Zuckerman

    Here’s a blub-“Instead of being bastions of sin and corruption, however, as the Christian Right has suggested a godless society would be, these countries are filled with residents who score at the very top of the “happiness index” and enjoy their healthy societies, which boast some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world, excellent educational systems, strong economies, strongly supported arts and egalitarian social policies.”

    And check out their rates of abortion and divorce, which are lower than the U.S.

    • mike h

      you sure know how to have civil discussion…

    • Luke Allison

      I’m wondering if you actually read the article in question? Dickson interacts with some of your ideas. I’m assuming you only read works that support what you already believe. Try reading some Wolterstorff. He teaches at Yale for crying out loud. Unless you think Yale is a bastion of Jesus-deluded brains?
      Not everyone agrees with Zuckerman’s premise. And that’s good, right? Isn’ that the point of a civil society?

      If you can’t respond to somebody you disagree with (even if you truly believe they are dangerous, deluded, and plain stupid) in a way that promotes discussion and healthy argument, what separates you from the fundamentalists you despise? The problem with armchair debaters is that they frequently say: “Read this book!” as though that takes care of everything. Christians do that, atheists do that, agnostics do that.

      But there is not a single book ever written which closes the book on these issues. People have been debating morality since time immemorial. And they will continue to do so. Only in a truly terrifying society would this type of thing be “closed” and therefore not fodder for debate. Is that what you’d prefer?

  • Tony C.

    Seriously? “a rational justification for treating humans as ”inestimably precious”, regardless of capacities, can only be found in a theistic framework. ”

    Inside a Calvinist framework most of us are going to be tortured forever for not being members of the elect. I guess that’s because we are precious. Or rather that’s a demonstration of how rational and systematic theology (or philosophy) always produces obscenities against itself.

    It seems to me that there can be no RATIONAL justification for treating humans as inestimably precious. Why? Because “Precious” is subjective and relational and rationalism deals with objectivity and dismisses the subjective and relational as “not real”.

    Hence rationality never leads to preciousness of anything.

    Instead we should be developing and encouraging empathy towards others – not our moral absolutes.