"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « The Spirit Gives Life, the Flesh Counts for Nothing | Main | Why the Past Matters »

    On Organized Religious Institutions Taking Over the State Mechanism.

    I do not speak of politics much here but here the comments and presuppositions of a secularist I know overlap nicely.

    Comment: I want to prevent organized religious institutions from invading and taking over the state mechanism. No Catholic church telling the kings what to do. No Saudi ulamas telling the people what is and is not moral-legal. No theocratic state a la Iran or the Taliban. I dislike the capture of the state mechanism by a competing organization based on appeals to religious authority. Separate authorities for separate spheres. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.

    Response: I couldn't agree more. The depth of our depravity as human beings should preclude the possibility of giving this much power to any one man or group. However, I noticed a glaring absence from your list. It appears that you have overlooked the inclusion of your own view: postmodern secularism. Convince me that you do not intend to suppress other people's views by also including secularism on this list. By not including it, you exempt yourself from the limitations of the separation of church and state and thereby give yourself and proponents of your view free reign to exert power, while everyone else remains limited. Awfully convenient for you to claim this exemption, don't you think? Our system is one that originally allowed all views to participate in the free market of ideas. No more. You see, by excluding yourself from this list, you appear, from my perspective, to have become the very thing that you wish to avoid. Please explain to me how your viewpoint is any less susceptible to setting up a tyranny than any religion. In a democracy those who persuade more than 50% of the people are bound to institute laws more favorable to themselves while still giving minority parties a voice. But remember, we are a secular country but not a secularist country and there is a world of difference.

    Posted by John on July 9, 2013 08:18 PM

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