Friday, October 05, 2007

Way to go, Rowan

The Archbishop said "We do hear talk from some quarters of action against Syria, or against Iran". Any miltary action would be "criminal, ignorant...and potentially murderous folly".


Clive Bates said...

What does he know about anything? He believes in a lot of ludicrous myths designed to fill the gulf of ignorance and keep the peasants suppressed during the Dark Ages.

When someone rejects evidence, reason and argument as a matter of principle as their main professional activity, why should you take seriously their views on geopolitics or anything else?

Caspar Henderson said...

I agree that religious doctrines are quite inadequate when it comes to explaining the non-human world. Science now does that job superbly well (although some religious traditions have, on some occasions, presented contexts that foster some intelligent thinking - for example Jainism and mathematics). Rowan Williams seems to recognise this when he warns that those who interpret the Christian bible literally (and, I guess, other religious texts, although he is careful not to say that) are making a category error, and will lose. In other words, he does understand the power of evidence.

Religious traditions do contain insights into what it means to be human and how to live (along with a lot else, good and bad). The compassionate study of those traditions can lead to further insight For this reason at least, people who still count themselves part of a religious tradition - however metaphorically they may interpret it -- can be valuable for progressive thought. The Civil Rights Movement in the US had input from secularists but was -- agruably -- powered by religious people such as Martin Luther King.

As may be evident from this, I don't hold with religious traditions and think they need to be scrutinised with energy and rigour. But I am also wary of extreme Richard Dawkins-style hostility. I recommend Jonathan Haidt on moral psychology and the misunderstanding of religion, to which I linked in a post here)