Thursday, June 4, 2009

Atheists Can't Last Long

James Matthew Wilson put up an essay on Burkean Conservatives. Very interesting reading. However, the following quote from Burke, "We know, and it is our pride to know, that man is by his constitution a religious animal; that atheism is against, not only our reason but our instincts; and that it cannot prevail long." seems to me to whistling past the grave yard. More and more Westerners, American and European alike, claim no religious affiliation. That doesn't mean they are largely atheists, but in fact atheist is the fasted growing self categorization.

And then James says this: "The apparent sovereignty of government in the face of “natural rights” breaks down when confronted with the supernatural sovereignty of the Creator. Or rather, human society is not merely patterned on the natural world, it is informed by its function to bring men to perfection, to aid them in becoming suitable for eternal life. At the heart of Burke’s politics is an eschatology-one that refuses to follow the path of the Revolutionaries and become immanent."

The supernatural sovereignty of the Creator? How many ways can I disagree with him? Even so, I wish the last bit of that quote were true, given how little the first part is. If James weren't seeking to immamentize the eschaton, he would leave the rest of us alone and quit insisting that souls exist, that ensoulment is meaningful, if only we would believe like him. He is free to believe as he chooses, as we are free to accept the consequences of whatever we choose, however little James might think of our choices.

Which I most fervently don't. Believe like James Matthew Wilson, that is.

I can't imagine about whom James is talking here, "If we hear someone deprecating something we deeply love as mere sentiment, we may often fail to provide a convincingly rational riposte, but we may well (depending on the circumstances) be right to punch him in the mouth." :)


PS and update - James Matthew Wilson, I know damn well you see me. >:)

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