Thursday, 9 April 2009

Thank God For Secularism

Three recent items from the news/blogosphere tie in nicely today:

Lindsay Perigo's recent PR "Obama Gets One Right" two days before a Woman claiming she was the "anti-Christ" kills herself and her son, a week after a new survey revealed New Zealanders were more likely to believe fortune tellers than have no doubt God exists.

That isn't to say that religion is always a bad thing; indeed the development of Protestantism during and after the Reformation helped to build a base (along with, most importantly, the re-discovery of ancient Greek thought in the Renaissance) upon which the modern, post-Enlightenment world rests. I certainly don't think much of fortune tellers, either.

However, more often than not religion is used as an excuse, justified or not, to commit horrible acts (9/11, for instance). So, a redeeming feature about New Zealand is that, certainly in public affairs, religion takes a "back seat" to more pressing issues.

That doesn't mean we're all anti-religious people; knowing many religious people myself, the great majority of them are good people, and live good lives. What it means is that religion doesn't have to come first all the time, and doesn't dominate politics.

Which (and take note) is the full and final outcome of the Reformation: by stressing the personal relationship with God, Protestantism allowed for the development of classical liberalism, and the development of the true tolerance and freedom which allowed ideas and thoughts to thrive. So while America didn't develop as a direct result of Christianity, the predominant version of Christianity in the US did allow for the Enlightenment ideals on which America is founded.

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