Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Secularism Bites Pope

Every so often, religious leaders come up with a real doozy. This week's award-winning bit of illogic comes to us straight from the Vatican.

According to the Pope, "secularism" is undermining democracy because it doesn't follow natural law.

That isn't the grand irony here - in fact this Pope has made similar comments in the past.

However, there's two absolutely lovely tidbits in Lifesite's synopsis that are quite hilarious when you think about them:

Because it is not a matter of faith, but a form of moral reasoning that is "accessible to all nations creatures," the natural law can form the basis for dialogue in civil society, the Pope observed, and society can reach a consensus on fundamental moral questions.

Okay - if natural law is not a "matter of faith", then why does the Pope think the following claim holds even a cup of water?:

The crisis can only be overcome, he said, by restoring an appreciation for the natural moral law "in conformity with right reason-- which is participation in the eternal Reason of God."

Now, if I read this logically, the Pope has just invalidated himself - first his argument claims that natural law is not a matter of faith, and then he turns around and argues that natural law in fact must be interpreted through a faith.

It's not quite an outright contradiction, but it is nonetheless contradictory. Either it is true that natural law can be understood outside of faith, or it is not. Claiming that it must be "understood through faith" is like trying to thread a camel through the eye of a needle.

Thanks Pope Ratz, but I think I'll stick to my own "secular relativism" that enables me to actually consider new ideas and evidence. I might have to think a bit harder before I decide on something, but at least I'll have actually thought about it for myself.

1 comment:

dragon said...

Ah, natural law... shall we go back to some first principals and consider the behaviour of animals to each other in the untouched wild? We some really nice examples of "natural moral law" there.

The moral of this story, boys and girls, is that the lion with the sharpest teeth and claws is always morally right.