Not a philosophy post (sorry, Huenemann, to religify our blog), but of interest to those interested in religion and culture:
As a former Anglican (Episcopalian) and now Catholic, the recent Papal invitation to Anglicans to convert has been of considerable interest. It appears some, and perhaps many, will take the Pope up on his offer (the Archbishop of Westminster has already expressed his interest). There are lots of things at work here, and this article in the Times does a nice job of sorting some of them out.
5 thoughts on “Religion, Culture, Politics”
There are some pretty funny responses to this around the internets: Richard Dawkins, Glenn Greenwald.
Dawkins needs to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. The armchair psychology attribution of motives in this article is beyond irresponsible. Why does anyone take this kind of horse shit seriously? The number of neo-atheists who deserve to be considered serious intellectuals and conversation partners is quickly dwindling. I used to think Dawkins was a little more level-headed than Hitchens. Apparently not. What kind of tolerance (much less “free thinking”) is there when you refuse to admit that someone could have a sincere and principled difference of opinion concerning the morality of homosexuality? He knows people actually make arguments about these things, doesn’t he? But no, anyone who disagrees is just called nasty names. Impressive display of “intelligent argument”, Dawkins.
Greenwald’s article mischaracterizes Benedict’s engagement with Islam. Benedict has challenged Islam to return to Islam’s own Hellenistic roots. I would have thought that neo-atheists would approve of a call to have our religion be compatible with reason (a rejection of the radically voluntaristic character of some Islamic theology and a call back to the intellectualist tradition that is in the Islamic tradition).
Both articles seemed pretty overblown to me.
I’m not sure Greenwald has taken on the mantle of neo-atheism. I don’t think he was that far from accurately characterizing Benedict’s response to Islam given the way Ross Douthat framed it. But I think Douthat was pretty speculative.
At first I thought the Dawkins bit to be funny, but then it just kept going into nonsense (of course I should talk, considering my last column). I don’t agree with Kleiner’s (via his Catholicism) views on gay marriage or whatnot, but I know him to not be a bigot, and that goes for catholicism, as I understand it, as a whole. I respect it most of the christian churches precisely because I know I disagree with it on philosophical levels, not ones of emotion (if they were bigoted or promoted hatred etc.) I don’t understand or agree with some positions (the females as priests bit, perhaps kleiner could give a quick explanation here. Mind you Harrison I ask out of sincerity and not out of divisiveness), but I know they aren’t built from blind ignorance or compromise with some culture (ie the Mormons’ ban of black men from priesthood that they explained through the war of preexistence and yadda yadda). I certainly don’t think it makes them misogynists or ‘evil’ and that bit about the alter boys is not only tired but pathetically stupid. I don’t hold Kleiner or his church accountable for the Crusades and the bloodier parts of the European invasion, why should I do so for the actions of some of its members?
Sorry for rambling. I’m also still amazed at the controversy regarding the speech in…Jordan?…regarding faith and reason. I’m not sure what the hell it was supposed to be over.
Here is a pretty good general explanation of why ordination is restricted to men: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0001.html
Catholics take extremely seriously the nuptial analogies in scripture and the nuptial meaning of the Church and her sacraments (particularly the Eucharist). The restriction has nothing at all to do with sexism (claims about a lack of competence or intelligence or anything like that in women). The Church is a differentiated body, and I don’t think equality demands identity. In fact, I think the demand for identity is potentially harmful, since it might damage our understanding of the natural complementarity of the two sexes (see the Theology of the Body).