Tuesday 17 December 2013

Spirituality and religion and ethics, continued

Further on the topic of spirituality and religion. (I've just sent something to Mark Ulyseas for Live Encounters January 2014. Not completely satisfactory. Not substantial enough.)

The well-known saying of Dostoievsky from The Brothers Karamazov came to mind: If there is no God, everything is permitted.

If God is dead, then man is the creator of values and of meaning (Nietzsche). This is, probably, at least a species of nihilism, where nihilism means that there is no inherent, intrinsic meaning to things, but that it is imposed on them by man.

In practice - as Nietzsche recognized only too clearly - this will mean that the strongest will impose his / their will on the others. The Overman, the Superman. The ideology for the Nazis. And the hidden, unacknowledged ideology of many others, including savage capitalism?

Stanley Hauerwas on the deep inconsistency and peril of the postmodern who, wanting to defend victims, ends up by not defending them, because what basis does he have for defending them rather than defending his own skin, or his own particular group? Rorty's ethnocentrism.

So: does God assure sane values? Does religion assure sane values?

Does the 'true hero' of Sartre, the atheist, have any light to go by?

Perhaps Lonergan would say yes: the inbuilt dynamisms, the transcendental notions.

Is he carried by the tradition? No doubt. And if that tradition is Christian, he is carried by it. As Gentile or Croce said: we are not Christians, but we cannot call ourselves non-Christian.

Or is it perhaps that we need to respect autonomy as against heteronomy, as Kant said?


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