Friday, November 10, 2006

Religious Liberty Part IV

Belief in conscience is likewise being eroded by post-modern thought. Modern scientific belief has alternatively taught that human moral ideas and religious ideas are either a development of evolutionary processes, a set of mere chemical reactions to stimuli, or a set of social constructs. None of these things can be proved scientifically because the history of moral development, the existence of God, and the existence of conscience are not subject to proof or refutation through controlled scientific experimentation. But those who would go beyond the bounds of science under the name of science have been eager to dispel a belief in God or His moral laws in order to further what they perceived as their own liberty. However, that rather than achieving liberty, belief that science has dispelled morality or faith in God results in slavery and tyranny. The modern atheistic governments of communism and fascism have far outstripped the inquisition in the incorrect application of force.

Because the dictates of moral conscience go against some of the desire for license, the west has allowing the gradual elimination of freedom of conscience. Here in California, we already have attempts at legislation which would force pharmacists to prescribe medicines whose effects they consider immoral or would require doctors to perform procedures that they consider immoral. It is not enough for those who advocate license in experimentation or sexuality to have an illegitimate liberty to carry out their inappropriate desires, but rather they seek government not only to approve but to mandate that others approve of their actions.

Like truth and conscience individual rights are likewise endangered. Post-modernism questions the existence or importance of the individual. As a result, the more popular post-modernism becomes, the greater danger to the continued existence of individual rights. The courts have also rejected the theistic worldview as a foundation for western jurisprudence. Without the belief in a God who gives rights, rights are purely a matter of positive law and can be eliminated through the amendment of the Constitution or through statute. Unless we believe along with the Declaration of Independence that there is a creator who endows humans with unalienable rights, all rights are perfectly alienable and can be dispensed with through proper legislation.

The rise of radical Islamo-fascism is also a threat to these rights. Vishal Mangalwadi did not speak to this problem, but it is clearly a real problem in the West today. On the one hand, some people wish to react to Islamo-fascism by allowing the rule of law and the existence of individual rights to be compromised in order to appease the Islamo-fascists. Rather than acknowledging that women have a right to equal education, freedom from abuse and freedom from slavery to a patriarchy, western nations are beginning to allow radical Muslims to create enclaves which practice an extremely radical version of Sharia law that discriminates against women and strips them of the relative equality they have achieved under in the Christian west. Islamo-fascism also forbids freedom of conscience. Inhabitants of Muslim societies are free to believe in and practice Islam. While they may tolerate the existence of other religions to some degree, social rules discriminate against them, people are not free to convert from Islam to Christianity, and Christians free to proselytize and seek the conversion of Muslims to Christianity in an open and public way. True freedom of conscience requires not only the ability to place ideas before people, but the ability of people to embrace those ideas. Without the freedom to proselytize and the freedom to convert, there is no religious freedom and no freedom of conscience. The attitude is similar to the attitude that prevailed in some places in the West at some times. But it is an attitude that we ultimately have chosen to reject because of the three foundations opf religious liberty.

So if we give in to radical Islam, we lose the foundations of religious liberty. But likewise some people seek to suppress our liberties in resisting Islam. The beliefs of the Islamo-fascists have led some westerners to redouble their efforts at preaching moral relativism and post-modernism. But you cannot defend against a false belief in no belief at all. Only a real truth will triumph against a false one. The radical left has also sought to suppress conscience as they perceive that radical Islam is in part driven by a warped view of moral conscience. Radical Islamists are critical of pornography and homosexuality in the West. As a result, some westerners redouble their efforts to have not only freedom to engage in the use of pornography or in homosexual acts, but to suppress the conscience of others who disagree with them concerning the moral status of those acts. And last, there are those who seek to eliminate individual rights in order to protect us from those who would eliminate individual rights. Contrary to popular belief though, the Patriot Act and the acts of the current government in the war on terror have not limited the individual rights of American citizens nor compromised the inalienable rights of non American citizens. But attempts to treat rights as purely a matter of positive law rather than as flowing from the nature of God Himself and His order in creation do threaten the continued existence of individual rights. The insistence of many that rights are purely a matter of constitutions rather than a matter of the divine Logos threaten to relativize rights and allow their future elimination.

So, with respect to religious freedom we walk a sort of tight rope in the West. But in a sinful world, most good social practices are always on some kind of knife edge or another. Human beings are perpetually falling into some social sin or another even as they succeed in eliminating some other social sin. But despite the fact that life is a constant struggle, we must continue to struggle for the existence of religious liberty and freedom.

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