Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Critical religion: can't we all just get along?

The following was written 22 March 2007:

Rudolf J. Siebert, "Critical Religion in Antagonistic Civil Society: Towards Discourse and Cooperation among Civilizations (II)," paper prepared for Association for the Sociology of Religion, Montreal, Canada, August 2006.

This article shows up what obscurantist bullshit this whole enterprise is. I note that it is heavily indebted to Habermas, which doesn't say much for him. But more importantly, liberal religionists are trapped within their own irreconcilable contradictions, trying to have their cake and eat it too.
If the citizens learn to know, how to handle in the consciousness of their own fallibility and non-violently, i.e. without tearing apart the social bond of their political community, this factum of cultural pluralism, then they shall recognize, what the secular decision-foundations, which have been firmly written into the constitution of their state, mean in a post-secular society. This is so, because in the dispute between the claims of religious faith and scientific knowledge the culturally, i.e., aesthetically, religiously and philosophically, neutral liberal constitutional state does in no way prejudice necessarily political decisions in favor of the religious or the secular side. The pluralized communicative and anamnestic rationality of the public sphere of the citizens follows the dynamic of the secularization as it compels and forces in the result the even and equal distance between strong religious and secular traditions and cultural contents. However, the communicative and anamnestic as well as proleptic rationality of the public sphere of the citizens remains ready to learn, and thus osmotic ally open toward the religious and the secular side without losing its independence and autonomy. In this context, the scientific enlightenment of the commonsense, which is often full of prejudices, illusions and delusions, has to be accomplished. In this context, the cooperative translation of religious material and potentials from the depth of the mythos and religion into the secular discourse of the expert cultures and beyond that into the communicative action of the everyday life world and even into the economic and political subsystems of civil society, has to be performed. In this context, the long inherited dispute between religious faith and secular knowledge has to be carried out. . . .
As I said, liberal religionists have to do some fancy dancing to have it both ways.

There are recommendations for dialogue and reasoned discourse. But note:
We must admit, that in the present world - historical situation no real reconciliation between the religious and the secular, revelation and autonomous reason is possible. Precisely therefore, we suggest, that the discourse between the religious and the secular should at least not be closed up fundamentalistically, or scientistically and positivistically. To the contrary, we suggest an open dialectic between faith and knowledge, revelation and enlightenment, in order from there to derive guidance also for the relationship between church and state, religious and secular education. Such openness does not hope for the return of mysticism to religious orthodoxy, or from secular enlightenment to mysticism. The secular may concretely supersede the religious: the secular may not only critique the religious, but it may also preserve, elevate and fulfill it in alternative Future III – the reconciled society.
The recommendation is self-contradictory.
However, already in the present transition period from modernity to post-modernity such open dialectic between the religious and the secular, revelation and autonomous reason, faith and knowledge can, nevertheless, make possible the cooperation between religious and secular people, believers and enlighteners toward a project world ethos. It could be centered in the Golden Rule, which the Chinese Religion, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism. Christianity and Islam and other world religions have in common.
This is bullshit. Liberal religionists can find whatever pretexts they wish within their religions, but the fact is that rational dialogue can only occur on a rational, atheological basis, or not at all..
The Golden Rule in all its different forms can conquer the jus talionis. The practice of the Golden rule would be the end of the lex talionis. The analysis should not stop with the realistic assertion that the Golden Rule can not be practiced and thus the lex talionis can not be broken, Men like Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Archbishop Romero practiced the Golden Rule even in its extreme form by following the fourth and fifth commandment of the Sermon on the Mount. It is rather so that the psychoanalytical and critical sociological and critical theological analysis must begin precisely with the question: why is it not possible for some people to practice the Golden Rule and why must they remain under the spell of the mythological jus talionis? When others can liberate themselves from this ban and do to others, as they want to be treated.
This is a fantasy typical of the self-deluded liberal religionist. First, they want to reduce everything to metaphysics and individual psychology. Then they call for a sociological analysis of individual psychology? Which is it going to be, and which takes priority?

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