Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
Gerhard Lukowsky (12/30/03) rightly promotes reason as an essential foundation of a democratic republic -- which he wants to have, however, not "under God".
Reason, like a computer (or like grammar), is a technology for discovering (or formulating) truth. It is about logical relationships, but does not by itself give us information, moral or otherwise, about concrete life or relationships. Reason is a way of testing whether or not statements are true, i.e., by seeing whether they are self-consistent or self-contradictory, and a way of making inferences logically.
But reason does not tell us what right and wrong are. Given some specific end, it can aid in determining what is helpful, i.e., what is logically consistent with that end (pragmatism), but not what is obligatory, i.e., morally right or wrong.
In order to give us moral information, such as whether individual rights are inalienable, there needs to be established a principle of obligation. Reason, by itself cannot do that. It can only test whether alleged moral claims are logically consistent. The Biblical worldview provides the only basis for obligation because the creator of something (like the cosmos) can alone determine its reason for existence, the only durable foundation for moral obligation.
Mr. Lukowsky's claim that "Christian theology and philosophy made no mention of the concept of individual rights" is astonishing. That is precisely what the Biblical story tells us, and is the only worldview which has consistently held such. Being made in the image of God (Genesis creation story) is every human being's charter of worth and value, inalienable (as per our Declaration of Independence) by any human agency. The Christian claim that Jesus died for every human being further underscores the Genesis message.
Neither secularism nor paganism can sustain such a view. And neither reason nor morality can long survive a cultural rejection of God. The drift from our American Biblical foundations of the 1600-1700's (combining reason and revelation), into the secular materialism of the 1800's (reason alone), followed by the post-modern disaster of the 1900's (trashing both reason and morality) gives the empirical evidence to show inherent inability of a world without God.
So, secularists who want a democratic republic without God want something
they cannot have except at the price of something they are unwilling to grant.
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