Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Whose Values?

Remember history telling us about the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth and settled in Boston? They wanted to reform and purify the Church of England and after moving around a bit set sail to the New World seeking religious independence and freedom. They were not simply “radical Puritans”,” they were Separationists. They feared their sons and daughters were becoming deculturated so it was best to “get out of Dodge City”. They wanted to have nothing to do with the established church.

Fortunately, these Pilgrims were not only motivated by religious fervor but also by common sense. Because a minority including Miles Standish and John Alden were non-believers the colonists drew up America’s first constitution. This document became the basis of civil intercourse in Plymouth. They understood that any creed that substitutes faith for reason is incompatible with religious tolerance.

Reason is the only basis on which men can live peacefully with those who disagree, knowing that reality is the common court of final appeal. Only reason makes possible an objective theory of the good, one holds that the private immorality of other is not per se one’s concern. On the religious theory of the good, there is no such thing as private immorality: anyone’s “sin” stands as an affront to God and simply can’t be allowed.

On such basis, how can one tolerate “evil” done by those who worship the wrong God, or perform “blasphemous” rituals – or no rituals? The social danger of fundamentalism, whether Christian or Islamic, is what follows when dogmatic faith in sacred texts replaces reason.

Now I’m really not that literate to write all that stuff above by myself so I had do a little plagiarism from a pretty smart guy from Gainesville, Florida named Leonard G. Shurtleff and from Harry Binswanger, Ph.D. from the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif.

This blog ties in with my preceding blog and in regard to petitions I hear that are being circulated in Peoria. I haven’t seen any of these petitions personally. Probably will.

I leave you with this thought: “Human beings are an evolving species, morally as well as physically. An imperfect world is not the same as a worthless world”. (Anonymous)

I close with a comment made to me by a member of the JS Editorial Boards when I mentioned “values common to all of us” who asked “whose values, yours”? Good point. Maybe the JS should be asking the same question now to some others beside just me.

I suggest we should look carefully at what is going on here in “rivercity”. I’ll listen to the moral policemen and women if the values they are talking about are common to promote a civil society.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Great Article.
Thank you. Keep up the watch.
We'll be reading.