Two aspects of the secular: independence and criticism

1. A secularist society would have independence from religious institutes. This entails that the state and religious authority would not be one and the same.

2. A consequence of being autonomous from the state, is that religion can criticise government; and government, religion.

Spinoza in the TPT maintained that a good society is one where people can think what they want, and say what they think, freely…sound familiar?

Very often we give too much authority and credence to the state. Who will police them? Charities can do some good; and so can religious groups.

Criticism is the moral of the enlightenment. Not just criticising religion, but also state, and society. Nothing is immune to critical evaluation. I think its a great thing that the Catholic Church are criticising the proposed medical plans of the government; personally I wish they used a vatican doctor who may have a medical background, rather than some hierarchical official; I know the Vatican has those medical experts…(where are they hiding?!). I’d rather listen to a dentist give me advice about teeth, than a holistic therapist; likewise, I’d rather listen to the word of a medical doctor about a health issue than someone without those credentials.

I think its a good thing that the Church criticises the state (and that the state has to listen to them like any other [non-priviledged] interest group). The Catholic Church, just ilke the Muslim Council of Britain, is a community which represents a section of Britain’s community. Of course, the state doesn’t have to listen to them…

So, this whole ordeal made me think:  Is it ironic that the enlightenment society could be an uncomfortable one [not to suggest that this is an enlightenment society in any way]? Perhaps I should think harder about the bleak Iron Cage of Modernity.


One thought on “Two aspects of the secular: independence and criticism

  1. I agree that part of the benefit of secular society is that powerful ethical traditions have voices that can influence government. We need these vital counterbalancing forces.

    But I must ask: secularist society? Is “secular society” not sufficient? A minor terminological quibble, I’m sure. 😉

    In my younger days, I never quite got to grips with the Catholic Church, but recently I have come to believe that it’s no bad thing to have a tightly hierarchical branch of Christianity that can voice its opinions on the world stage. It would be nice if the Papacy could make more of an effort to build bridges with the Muslim world, however.

    Best wishes!

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