Replies on Relationships (with Chaplains and others)

Replies on Relationships (with Chaplains and others) October 9, 2013

My two recent posts on relationships (with loved ones – God included, and with the Yale Chaplain’s office) have both gotten responses I’d like to draw to your attention.  First off, JT fired back after I disputed the idea that Mass-goers were having time stolen from them by religion. Here’s an excerpt:

But that doesn’t respond to what I said. I bolded the important part. [If you’d rather be at home cuddling someone who means the world to you than sitting in a pew, then your religion has stolen a bit of your life. — interpolated by Leah] There are many people who would rather be doing anything other than church, or who subvert things they would otherwise do, out of fear of judgment, not because of any other reason. That’s where religion starts stealing people’s lives.

And Leah’s post even solidifies the content of mine. The meaning she assigns to her life is going to church. She goes because she wants to. It’s not externally assigned, but a meaning she’s given to her own life. But let’s not imagine that everybody at Mass/church isn’t wishing they were somewhere else. Let’s not imagine that every person of faith doesn’t wish to trespass upon the taboos of their faith, and would if only they could realize their faith is not true.

Eh, I think this is the point where our disagreement just dissolves to the overarching disagreement about whether religion is true.  I can write a reframe where an atheist feeling bored stuffing envelops for an anti-theist event is, by this definition, having time stolen from her, because she would prefer not to be doing this if she could realize her philosophy was incorrect.  Or that a boy who would like to take a physical relationship slowly, but feels constrained to “be a real guy” and get intimate quickly is having his modesty stolen by an oversexualized culture.

But at that point, we’re just both saying that “People would regret some things they do because they are consistent with their current philosophy if they found that their worldview were incorrect.”  Which I think we both agree is true and trivial.

I think the more interesting point of disagreement is whether you should expect to be discomfited by your worldview.  Is it evidence against a philosophy if it has taboos you’d like to transgress?  What if you don’t want to follow them, but you want to want to (i.e. like wishing you wanted to go to the gym).  I suppose we could sit down on Chesterton’s fence and discuss this point instead.

 —  —  —

In response to “Is it Hard Out Here for a Humanist?” (and every other piece on the Yale Humanists being turned down for membership in the Yale Religious Ministries), Chris Stedman has posted two statements: “Regarding the YRM Decision” and “Clarifying our Relationship with the Yale Chaplain’s Office.”. From the former:

Why Did We Apply?

We applied for membership in this group because the YHC is an intentional moral community. We weigh and discuss questions of ultimate concern. We are bound by a shared identity that speaks to our core values. Humanism is a worldview and life-stance that is, per the third edition of the Humanist Manifesto, “guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience.” Like many religious traditions, Humanism has a rich history replete with evolving ideas, narratives, and many profound thinkers. Importantly, it is an identity for people who are often classified by what we do not believe in.

He goes on to say that the YHC was denied membership because it is non-religious, but that no one is angry with each other and that YHC will work with the Chaplain’s office in other capacities.

I’m still completely at sea as to what the Yale Religious Ministries actually do, and what the rights and responsibilities of membership are, and whether Stedman and the Humanists think that all philosophical groups are a fit for the YRM.  I still think the Objectivist Study Group at Yale hits most of the benchmarks in that blockquote.  (Well, profound is always debatable, but I will confess I was more enthused about architecture after reading The Fountainhead).

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