All The More Reason


What a Load of Bollocks.
September 15, 2006, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

If some of the utterances of Pope Benedict in his Bonn speech have inflamed the ire in the delicate souls of the Muslim Brotherhood, may I offer this quote from the same text as a rallying call for believers in reason.

 In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. 

This distinction between ‘positivistic reason’ and ‘reason’ more generally, by which the act of faith and superstition is elevated to the plain of the rational is mealy-mouthed. The Pope is not saying that there is an equivalence between these two standards- that would be one thing- but, rather, that ‘positivistic reason’ should be subordinated to this spurious species of ‘super reason’. I find that offensive in the extreme.  
 

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5 Comments so far
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Personally, I find it hard to take offense to something that I don’t understand. If someone called me a feisty jolly-jumper wagon puller I’d probably be confused more than anything. Just because the Pope has decided to make an assertion about the limitations of ‘positivistic reason’ doesn’t make it any more true. (not that you’re necessarily saying it does, only that you find it offensive)

Comment by Jonathan Smith

Bafflement would have been an appropriate response had his intentions been more obscure. His attack was, in essence, an attack upon reality. The Pope is patting us on the head, telling us that the end of the argument has been reached, all the while insisting that he is a sherry trifle.

What I find offensive is the claim for the moral high ground that this entails; something too readily ceded by ‘non-believers’.

Comment by allthemorereason

In order to understand the true message the Pope is sending, the entire speech deserves to be read. The last sentence before the discussed quote, the Pope states: “…theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.” He main goal is to assert that theology has a rightful place in the academic dialogue.

Comment by McFly

I still think that the above quote can be criticised, even without the context of the speech. Of course theology, like any other philosophical inquiry, has ‘a rightful place in the academic dialogue’- the question though is where it is right to place it. What the pope says in his final paragraph leaves no room for any doubt as to his opinion on this question. He disputes the fact that ‘positivistic reason’ is a ‘universally valid’ form of philosophy (an argument marshalled to the cause of fellow travellers who would put creationism, or its pseudo-scientifically named ‘intelligent design theory’, on a par with the theory of evolution.)

The quack who promotes ‘colour and light therapy’ or ‘aura consultations’ will complain that his remedies are ‘alternative medicines’, misunderstood by the medical profession. But the standards of blind-testing dictates that there is no such thing as ‘alternative medicine’- just ‘medicine’ or ‘not medicine’. Similarly, there is no such thing as ‘alternative reason’- just reason and unreason. Religion belongs firmly in the latter category.

Comment by allthemorereason

Hey friends, Thank you !

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