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Kingdom of Priests


“Europe Is Dying,” Says Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Blaming Darwinism

posted by David Klinghoffer
Wow, I don’t know how I missed this headline from last month, in the UK’s Daily Record. British Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks really pulls no punches:

Chief Rabbi blames population fall on ‘selfish’ Darwinians 

EUROPE is “dying” because the continent’s secular culture has made people too selfish to have children, the Chief Rabbi has said. 

Lord Sacks said European society’s focus on consumerism and instant gratification had left little room for the sacrifice involved in parenthood. 

Describing this as “one of the unsayable truths of our time”, he warned: “We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.” 

The Chief Rabbi’s provocative comments came as he delivered the annual lecture for theology think-tank Theos in central London last night. 

He argued that neo-Darwinian attacks on religion — typified by Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion — were leading to a population crisis in Europe. 

Lord Sacks pointed out that Europe was the most secular region in the world, and also the only continent experiencing population decline. 

He said: “Wherever you turn today — Jewish, Christian or Muslim — the more religious the community, the larger on average are their families. 

“The major assault on religion today comes from the neo-Darwinians.” 

The Chief Rabbi said being a parent involved a “massive sacrifice” of money, attention, time and emotional energy. 

Referring to an ancient Greek historian to make his point, he questioned where this selflessness could be found in modern Europe. 

“In that culture, where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born?” he said. 

“Europe is dying, exactly as Polybius said about ancient Greece in the third pre-Christian century.” 

Lord Sacks added: “Albert Camus once said, ‘The only serious philosophical question is why should I not commit suicide?’. 

“I think he was wrong. The only serious philosophical question is, why should I have a child? Our culture is not giving an easy answer to that question.” 

Lord Sacks, 61, has been Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since 1991. 

He was knighted in 2005 for services to the community and interfaith relations and awarded a peerage in July this year.



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Yirmi

posted December 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm


I don’t think books like Dawkins’ are the real cause of the population decline in Europe, though I guess neo-Darwinians may have something to do with it. Europe has been becoming secular for a long time, due to various causes, not just Darwinism, but influence from socialist anti-religious thinking, a tradition of French secularism, the participation of churches in fascist regimes, etc. People are often having less children in the more religious countries — Italy is quite religious compared to Norway or England, but has a much lower birth rate. Some of this just has to do with how expensive it is to raise kids, and the fact that women with career aspirations are delaying childbearing or forgoing it altogether, since they know the men won’t help raise the kids much anyway.
R Sacks is right that people aren’t having children because they don’t have a moral system telling them that all that sacrifice is worth it. In fact they have a moral system telling them that the more children on earth, the worse the planet is — for environmental reasons. While I’m generally supportive of environmentalism, I abhor this reasoning, since how could the sum total of pollution and resource consumption caused by an individual outweigh the worth of an individual human being? That’s part of the problem — the lack of belief in the inherent worth and sacredness of human life.



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Your Name

posted December 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm


‘Lord Sacks said European society’s focus on consumerism and instant gratification had left little room for the sacrifice involved in parenthood’ Lord Sacks is a great man with many good ideas.
I agree that consumerism and instant gradification have led to a lot of problems and contribute to population decline in Europe, but World population should decline. Science and religion should cooperate to help the world preserve its limited resources. Many religious people have children not because they are unselfish, but because their religions tell them to, or because the are unable to secure birth control or they don’t care enough not to have so many children even though they can’t afford to feed them.
Surely there is more depth to his position than what was presented here.



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Mergatroid

posted December 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm


The title of this post is:
“Europe Is Dying,” Says Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Blaming Darwinism
while the key phrases in the article are:
“The major assault on religion today comes from the neo-Darwinians.”
(This is about the assault on religion, not on Europe dying.)
and
EUROPE is “dying” because the continent’s secular culture has made people too selfish to have children, the Chief Rabbi has said.
(This is about secular culture, not Darwinism per se.)
David, I’m afraid that you let the incendiary and sloppy original headline, “Chief Rabbi blames population fall on ‘selfish’ Darwinians” get the better of you.



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Lauren

posted December 22, 2009 at 6:57 pm


A tad absurd…if anything in “Darwinism” your legacy is in your genes; that is you “live on” in the genes you pass down to your descendants. Evolution, among other aspects, is reliant on reproduction.If anything, “Darwinism” would result in a increase in birth rate not less.
“I agree that consumerism and instant gradification have led to a lot of problems and contribute to population decline in Europe, but World population should decline. Science and religion should cooperate to help the world preserve its limited resources. Many religious people have children not because they are unselfish, but because their religions tell them to, or because the are unable to secure birth control or they don’t care enough not to have so many children even though they can’t afford to feed them.”
Exactly.



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Emily with the Kippah

posted December 22, 2009 at 7:56 pm


I’m also a bit confused – I could buy how Darwinism (based on his life work on his “Survival of the Fittest” hypothesis) would make people more selfish (looking out for their own survival). But a decline in population?
People in America who cry “secularism is evil” tend to also cite “sexual immorality” and “lax sexual mores” as a result of secularism. It might be different in the UK, but I think a lax in sexual mores would imply more people having sex without regard to any consequences, pregnancy included.
Since conservative religious people tend to define a very narrow avenue for sex to “appropriately” take place within, the more religiously conservative the population gets, the less sex would ultimately be had by the devout. after all, not everyone is going to get married, and I believe Isaiah once comforted the eunich by saying, “do not say, ‘I am a bare tree'”… having children is not everyone’s priority. It’s a good thing, too, because there are many people out there who would not make good parents – some of whom are abusive.
Overpopulation is a serious problem. We should be concerned about the sacredness of life, but if life is not brought into the world to begin with (by conception or by breath), there is nothing sacred created that needs fussing over.



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David Klinghoffer

posted December 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm


Emily, the argument is that religious people tend to reproduce while the secular much, much less so. You’d predict on this basis that a secular Europe would also be a depopulating Europe where a religious minority, Muslims, could hold increasing influence, and that’s exactly what has happened. In the sense that Darwinism is a key foundation of secularization, if not *the* key foundation, you can see where the Chief Rabbi is coming from.



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Emily with the Kippah

posted December 22, 2009 at 11:26 pm


I actually don’t see how Darwin’s theory of Survival of the Fittest (a 19th century text) is the key to secularization – I always thought that Europe’s “Period of Enlightenment” in the 1700’s was the beginning of the true secularization: In which people grew tired of oppressive monarchies who were “Divinely” appointed, and sought out democratic revolutions. Science and reason triumphed. Traditional organized religions such as Catholicism, which have a highly political hierarchy, started to give way to Deism, which is quite “liberal” by comparison. The start of the Enlightenment might actually be placed in the late 17th century, which is when several political revolutions took place overthrowing monarchs, and Newton’s writings were published. Napoleon granted Religious freedom to France, even to Freemasons, who were quite unpopular. These United States were founded upon such a principal as well, with the mostly Deist Founding Fathers very sensitive to how extreme religious fervor and favoritism could cause war and make governments go crooked.
Darwin published “on the origin of the species” at least 50 years later, and was actually quite an unpopular theory upon first publication – even among fellow scientists, who saw the holes still present in it and hesitated to follow. Lamarckism (which has since been disproven) was much more popular. Darwin of course recognized these holes and appealed for future generations to study and fill them.
If the argument is that Darwin planted the seeds for secularization, I just don’t by it. I would say those seeds were planted in the Renaissance, when people like Galileo were challenging, among things, Geocentrism and the idea that the Pope held the only correct understanding of the mechanisms of the universe. If the argument is that Darwin caused a down-turn in religious piety, well I also don’t buy that, since people like Bauer, Marx, and Engels were publishing works declaring religion to be incompatible with a high-functioning society years before “Origin” was published.
But at the very least, it seems that the crux of the Rabbi’s argument is that secularization is causing the “death” of Europe, not Darwin specifically. I think a lot of people give Darwin much more credit than he deserves. Even modern evolutionary theory doesn’t seem to give him the power anti-evolutionists do.



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Your Name

posted December 23, 2009 at 2:23 am


Another factor, seems to me, contributing to increasing childlessness is an economic system that takes most people out of their homes and out of contact with family for the majority of their waking hours. In such a system, children are pure burden: economically all cost and no benefit. In a society focused around family farms and shops (gasp: bourgeois!), children are an economic benefit, plus, they actually spend actual time with their parents and can learn life from them rather than from the bureaucratic shills we park them with in the modern West, who, by-the-by, teach them to ridicule and villify their parents. In such a system, it’s mad to raise children.
On Darwinism: the actual picture of the world is that it is made up of groups in dire, mortal competition with one another — competition to outpopulate the other and take over his land and resources (as we plainly see in Europe). I do not accept the assertion that the world is overpopulated. Rather the poverty of the majority is the result of inefficiency and corruption that leads to underutilization and waste. The world would be overpopulated if it were still hungry and sick after everyone were using Western technology to produce food and medicine instead of half the population living in the stone age.



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Steven J.

posted December 23, 2009 at 3:40 am


David, you yourself have argued that Darwinism spurred the Nazis (whose goals including drastically raising the “Aryan” birth rate) in their attempts to wipe out and replace “inferior” populations. You argue that it spurred the Communists in the USSR and the PRC to massive campaigns emphasizing self-sacrifice (and, in the USSR, again, increases in the birthrate). Yet Lord Sacks argues that Darwinism does not lead to increased attempts to pass on one’s genes or to extravagant efforts to remake society, but only to selfishness and a concern for one’s own narrow interests (which are unlikely to include genocide, which is a lot of work, or even extreme racism, which requires subordinating one’s own preferences to those one thinks are good for one’s race).
At least one of you has to be wrong. Granted, in my own humble opinion, if it’s only one of you, it’s more likely to be you (since evolutionary theory simply doesn’t have the implications you read into it, and Hitler burned Darwin’s books, while Stalin shot biologists who preferred Darwin to Lysenko), but presumably you yourself don’t feel that way. So are you exposing Lord Sack’s errors, or announcing that he has converted you from your former views to new ones?



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Ray Ingles

posted December 23, 2009 at 11:24 am


“Your Name” – In such a system, children are pure burden: economically all cost and no benefit.
A lot of people have been told that, without God(s), life can be nothing but economics. But it’s quite possible to dispute that claim.
You also characterize ‘Darwinism’ (why isn’t Relativity called ‘Einsteinism’?) as saing “the actual picture of the world is that it is made up of groups in dire, mortal competition with one another”. I suggest you read David Sloan Wilson’s “Evolution For Everyone” to learn what that’s not the case.
But hey, let’s assume (a) that ‘Darwinism’ (rather than, say, increasing wealth and decreasing infant mortality) actually led to people to have fewer children,
and (b) it also presented a ‘picture of the world’ that led to ‘Social Darwinism’. How would that have anything to do with whether or not ‘Darwinism’ were true?
Oh, and a while ago I did some calculations on population density – you can read them at the link below my name. It turns out that, with current technology, it’s simply not possible to support the current population of the Earth in the style that Westerners have become accustomed. Better tech may one day help, but for now, we have choices to make.



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Dan

posted December 23, 2009 at 5:18 pm


There is a difference between natural selection and artificial selection. Genes are probably the unit of selection, not an individual’s choice.
This is utterly ridiculous from a scientific standpoint.
Just because the scientifically ignorant want to blame Darwin doesn’t make the claim valid. I want to blame Rutherford Hayes for the recession; it doesn’t make it true.
Why not blame technology, over-crowding, education, religion, or bad German techno music?



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Mark2

posted December 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm


Ray Ingles, thank you for suggesting we read David Sloan Wilson’s work, the same David Sloan Wilson who says that atheism is a stealth religion:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-sloan-wilson/atheism-as-a-stealth-reli_b_76901.html



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Ray Ingles

posted December 24, 2009 at 9:31 am


Mark2, I don’t have to agree with everything that Wilson says to recommend reading him. Check out his definition of ‘religion’ and see if you agree with it…



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Turmarion

posted December 25, 2009 at 1:17 pm


Emily with the Kippah: I would say those seeds [of secularism] were planted in the Renaissance, when people like Galileo were challenging, among things Geocentrism and the idea that the Pope held the only correct understanding of the mechanisms of the universe.
I just want to give you a high-five, Emily, and state my appreciation for someone else pointing out the ramifications of the replacement of geocentrism by heliocentrism. As I’ve pointed out before, the debate on geocentrism vs. heliocentrism is almost an exact analogy to that between ID/creationism and evolution, and that (from the point of many believers, anyway) the effects of heliocentrism were indeed negative. By David’s logic, we ought then to “take a second look at” the heliocentric model. Of course, even he isn’t going to argue that maybe the sun does go around the Earth; so he always refuses to speak to this analogy. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not the only one that noticed this.



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Harriet B

posted December 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm


Is having children, that much of a sacrifice? People here, are told not to have many children.
Some people enjoy having children. Others don’t.
Every child born, should be welcome, wanted and loved.
What does Darwinism have to do with it, anyway?



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David N. Friedman

posted December 26, 2009 at 11:47 pm


Rabbi Sacks made his statement and David K agrees–so do I. Yes–we easily link the influence of Darwinism and “neo-Darwinism” to the impulse to reduce population. It is a credible sentiment given the power and influence of the atheists who underpin the secular domination of current Western culture.
Emily, Deism had almost no influence in Early America and there were almost no Deists anywhere in the nation during our founding and when the Declaration and Constitution was written. The Bible was the strongest source of political, religious and moral influence. The whole Deist myth really might irritate anyone who has studied American history so I appeal to your sensibility and to stop spreading such a statement simply because certain secular historians love to make the claim.
Europe is not the only continent in decline of population–it is a problem worldwide and with the exception of the Orthodox community in Israel–all other population growth–the exception to the global rule–is with Muslim nations. Indeed, there is a great need worldwide, in general, for more babies and this has become a new problem because it is a new, sick impulse. The secular left, inspired by atheists who are neo-Darwinists–want to “save the planet” by reducing human life. This is not simply tragic and a sick joke (to save the planet— let the people not replace themselves), it is a big problem. A favorite text of the Left in this respect is the book: Ishmael. Perhaps the worst book ever printed.
First, we can acknowledge the problem. Then we can shout down the myth that overpopulation is the larger reality given world-wide population stagnation (with the exceptions cited). The death of Europe will be followed by the death of Canada and then the death of the US. We need many more babies if there is going to be a future for this planet. “Be fruitful and multiply!”



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churchmouse

posted December 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm


“The death of Europe will be followed by the death of Canada and then the death of the US. We need many more babies if there is going to be a future for this planet. “Be fruitful and multiply!”
It’s not about population IMO, it’s about community. Individualism has crept into the Christian Church worldwide. Politics works when we are one voice or loss of community will be the result and society breaksdown. And for Christians the expression of Community is Christ. The kingdom of God has to be involved in everything. And it must emerge out of friendships that form around persue and express some common uniting passion. That passion especially for the majority of Christians is unfortunately NOT Christ. Society today…..is the religion of ME. And because of it we are in trouble as a culture.
In John 17 Jesus prayed that we be united in ONE body and used the GodHead as its parallel. But the world sees the Church and believes it is not important anymore. In all the Gospels except John we are COMMANDED to spread the Word and live by it. We are to use it to make all our decisions. We are to make disciples of all nations. Does the Christian Community do this today? Not really. Europe has become totally secular, America, Canada are close behind. John said BE THE GLORY OF GOD. And there lies the problem. The Community instead of showing off Christ, puts Him on the backburner.
We should exist to make Christ-like disciples by forming relationships in community for the purpose of intentional growth. That is stopping and as a result, we as a country are in a mess. Believing in God is not the same as trusting God. And in America God has been stripped from everything public.
From the information I have read there is no over-population crisis. Those being born are not replacing those who are dying and populations in many parts of the world are declining. I agree with Harriet, having children involves self sacrifice and dedication. A lot of people today are to involved with themselves to want to do what it takes to raise kids. Also in most countries it is legal to kill your own unborn children….abortion is used as a form of birth control and its an easy out for a woman who does not want children.



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Mergatroid

posted December 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm


David M. Friedman, I liked your post. You might be interested in wiki’s entry on the religious affiliations of the Founders of the U.S.:
Lambert (2003) has examined the religious affiliations and beliefs of the Founders. Some of the 1787 delegates had no affiliation. The others were Protestants except for three Roman Catholics: C. Carroll, D. Carroll, and Fitzsimons. Among the Protestant delegates to the Constitutional Convention, 28 were Church of England (Episcopalian, after the Revolutionary War was won), eight were Presbyterians, seven were Congregationalists, two were Lutherans, two were Dutch Reformed, and two were Methodists, the total number being 49. Some of the more prominent Founding Fathers were anti-clerical or vocal about their opposition to organized religion, such as Thomas Jefferson (who created the “Jefferson Bible”), and Benjamin Franklin. However, other notable founders, such as Patrick Henry, were strong proponents of traditional religion. Several of the Founding Fathers considered themselves to be deists or held beliefs very similar to that of deists.



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Mark Lewis

posted December 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm


Europe’s population decline won’t last long, historically speaking. By sometime in the 22nd century, the population will be increasing, because by that time the population of Europe will be mainly Islamic.



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David N. Friedman

posted December 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm


Mergatoid, if you wish to confront the desist myth–you need to cite the Founding Fathers who were deists. Some cite Franklin (clearly not Jefferson simply because a political opponent once accused him of being a “Deist” as a curse word–an accusation)but this must be seen in context.
So there might be one and that one with a big asterisk. Any more? Saying “several” does not answer the issue. Wiki is going to play along with the Liberal anti-religious spokespeople that occupy high positions in academia. They are making it up–that is to say, they are lying. Further, the religious character of Early America cannot possibly be in dispute give the centrality of the Bible as an educational tool and hence, the fact that nearly EVERY university was founded with an explicit Biblical mandate proves the point. In this context, Deists were barely tolerated and they surely were not leaders. Deists had little chance of even holding a local office much less be selected as a national leader–it is an absurd notion and perhaps the easiest myth to disprove in the lexicon of liberal lies. The trouble is they make the allegation at every turn and this proves that liars have great potential power.



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Mergatroid

posted December 29, 2009 at 2:36 am


David Friedman, are you aware of this quote by Ben Franklin?
“Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.”
Jefferson might have been Christian, but he wasn’t the type of Christian that would cause many to boast of his Christianity:
“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
If he wasn’t a deist, then he was a Unitarian.
None of this is meant to refute your statement about the importance of the Bible in minds of the Founding Fathers. But there’s importance and then there’s importance.



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Mergatroid

posted December 29, 2009 at 2:45 am


According to one site that tries to “debunk the deist myth”, there were six deists, four of whom became Episcopalian or Presbyterian later in life. Those 4 being: Cornelius Harnett, George Washington, James Wilson, Hugh Williamson
It’s hard to read the name George Washington and your statement, “Deists had little chance of even holding a local office much less be selected as a national leader” in the same sentence.



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David N. Friedman

posted December 29, 2009 at 9:15 pm


I acknowledged Franklin and said that is one. But I could throw many, many quotes at you to demonstrate the extent to which Franklin went to hide his feelings. In public–in one of his better known public acts–he stopped the deadlocked Convention in a call to prayer. Deists do not pray to a God who listens. Franklin’s reputation was secured in his early life and his Poor Richard’s Almanac which took off on well-known Biblical virtues which he echoed. Truly–if he began life as he ended it–he never would have had the standing and respect he was able to achieve in the mind of the public–and he was never elected to public office.
For Washington–c’mon. Washington characteristically was the man to call for a day of national Thanksgiving. Again–if any one today would read his writings–they come off as equivalent to the most hard-core fundamentalist. These were people as a group who saw themselves as the New Israelities–who saw themselves acting out a Biblical drama as witnesses to God. There can be no doubt, Mergatroid, about Washington and almost every darn one of the Founding Fathers. Line em up and count them down.
This is the necessary context for all the statements one can put forward: as Washington said on the first Thanksgiving Day..”It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for His benefits and humbly to implore his protection and favor…” This is prima facie proof of the total lack of Deism in America. Washington is saying like an Orthodox Jew that we must act as a sanctification of God’s name, that His will and His favor is shown in the world to those who carry His message and His laws.
Jefferson had problems with the New Testament but far less about the “Jewish Bible.” Sure, Jefferson in today’s terms would be considered to be very conservative–in his time–he was a free-thinking liberal but this was in context of such stuffy, stringent Bible thumpers–most rational people would feel forced. He had pointed criticism for many of the ministers around him because he was smarter than almost all of them. Do not confuse this contempt for God’s supposed representatives with the depth of respect he had for the Bible.



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Mergatroid

posted December 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm


“I acknowledged Franklin and said that is one.”
You /barely/ acknowledged him with the words “So there might be one and that one with a big asterisk.”
“In public–in one of his better known public acts–he stopped the deadlocked Convention in a call to prayer. Deists do not pray to a God who listens.”
Maybe Franklin reasoned that a time-out for prayer will work (ie help break the deadlock) for the /other/ people there.
“Do not confuse this contempt for God’s supposed representatives with the depth of respect he had for the Bible. ”
Eh, when I quoted Jefferson’s dismissive statement about the virgin birth, did that sound like I confused his contempt for “God’s supposed representatives with the depth of respect he had for the Bible”? Perhaps the following quote from Jefferson makes the point even more starkly: “We find in the writings of his biographers (ie the four gospels)… a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications.” And you still think he was more Christian than deist?
“This is prima facie proof of the total lack of Deism in America.”
Maybe the deism was located primarily in the elite thinkers.
Concerning Washington, what I claimed about him was from a site that takes /your/ side. True, you don’t see many deists talking about providence. Maybe I’d say that he /leaned towards/ deism as opposed to Christianity; I’m not sure. I could also have included this statement: “..Presbyterian minister Arthur B. Bradford, who was an associate of Ashbel Green another Presbyterian minister who had known George Washington personally… wrote that Green, “often said in my hearing, though very sorrowfully, of course, that while Washington was very deferential to religion and its ceremonies, like nearly all the founders of the Republic, he was not a Christian, but a Deist.”
(I will allow the phrase “like nearly all the founders of the Republic” to refer to the previous phrase, as opposed to the subsequent phrase in the sentence.)
“There can be no doubt, Mergatroid, about … almost every darn one of the Founding Fathers.”
Well of course. I didn’t deny it. I showed from a site that took your position that there were a measly six deists, whereas you claimed there was maybe only one.



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David N. Friedman

posted December 30, 2009 at 11:39 pm


Where are your six deists, Mergatroid? Name them. Franklin is one with a very big asterisk since Franklin is no one near what a modern liberal secularist might think–much closer to a Reform/Conservative Jew but for the sake of argument, as I said, I will give you Franklin. Where are #’s 2-6?
The Jefferson quotes are simply not honest. Again, simply because Jefferson had significant problems with what is called the New Testament–this does not make him a deist. Jefferson was a theist and was very serious in his knowledge of the Bible and you are not being fair to history and fair to the subject to indicate he held nothing but critical views.
People are simply running in contempt of American history. Again, almost every single university founded in America was founded with a mandate of Biblical scholarship. Every tiny school house used the Bible as its principal means of instruction. Every school kid knew Biblical verses by heart. Many early Americans read Hebrew fluently–American towns took the names of Biblical place names as their own with regularity–the evidence is way too overwhelming to dispute and yet in firm control of their power and position–the liberal elite attempts to do this with impunity. They conclude Jefferson and Madison, Washington and even Adams were all Deists–based on–absolutely nothing. They simply make the allegation over and over and people unfamiliar with the subject follow their nonsense. It is really sad.



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Mergatroid

posted December 31, 2009 at 2:26 pm


“Where are your six deists, Mergatroid? Name them.”
I hesitate continue this conversation if you won’t even read my posts. I named them already.
Just to remind you that I DO believe the /ethics/ of the Bible was a big influence of almost all the founding fathers, I’ll just say so.
However, I’ll point out one thing that John Adams ratified:
“The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” — Treaty of Tripoli, article 11



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Abambagibus

posted January 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm


Wouldn’t the Darwinian impulse impel its species, Homo sapiens among them, to naturally propagate any way anyway, even beyond the concerns of things such as the aforementioned split infinitive? Yet self-indulgent throngs who reckon themselves more sophisticated than even nature herself and who wallow in the wisdom of knowing that the ego is greater by far than the society that sustains it claim to aspire toward intelligence.
Against the horrid consequences of overpopulation, many opine that population decline is a good thing, … a kind of universal necessity which they kindly induce from the particular event a sufficiently dying Europe and her historically significant cultures, soon to be significant no more. Apparently the thought that the relatively affluent populations who recline in the cultivation of an unwittingly waning intellect should be fading in the glare of the impoverished over-populations who would rise to delete them with faith over reason, passion over intellect, pleasure over pain, has been latently applauded by the thoughtful of the former as a good thing. It reminds me of the burning of the library of Alexandria and the applause of the many who had found it a threat to their thinking that their way of thinking was the only way to think. Consider that, poverty and foodlessness notwithstanding, the typical so-called third world country follows the Darwinian will-to-populate quite well, whereas the moneyed sophisticates don’t.



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Rilke's granddaughter

posted January 19, 2010 at 12:04 am


I came late to this party, but boy is the OP is a piece of silliness. Darwinian evolution rewards the SUCCESSFULLY REPRODUCTIVE; anybody who claims Darwin or the theory he roughed-out requires in any way discouragement of religion is failing to use basic logic.



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Mark2

posted January 19, 2010 at 8:30 am


Rilke, did the OP say, or imply, that this discouragement of religion is required? If you’re going to say an article is silly, you had better represent it accurately.



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Rilke's granddaughter

posted January 19, 2010 at 11:15 am


Mark2, try reading the OP next time, please.



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Mark2

posted January 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm


You bluff. Tell me which line.



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Animal Wisdom: The Voice of the Serpent
Our family watched Jaws together the other evening -- which, in case you're wondering, I regard as responsible parenting since our kids are basically too young to be genuinely scared by the film. The whole rest of the next day, two-year-old Saul was chattering about the "shark teeth." "Shark teeth g

posted 3:56:33pm Mar. 16, 2010 | read full post »

Reading Wesley Smith: Why the Darwin Debate Matters
If the intelligent-design side in the evolution debate doesn't receive the support you might expect from people who should be allies, that may be because they haven't grasped why the whole thing matters so urgently. I got an email recently from a journalist whom I'd queried on the subject. "All told

posted 5:07:12pm Mar. 15, 2010 | read full post »

The Mission of the Jews
Don't miss my essay over at First Things on the mission of the Jews to the world. This, I think, the key idea that the Jewish community needs to absorb at this very unusual cultural moment, for the time is so, so right. Non-Jews are waiting for us to fulfill the roll God gave us in the Torah. Please

posted 6:14:16pm Mar. 05, 2010 | read full post »

Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult
Of all the regrettable cultural forces that Darwinism helped unleash, perhaps the most surprising and seemingly unlikely is its role in sparking the creation of modern occultism. Charles Darwin himself could not have been less interested in the topic. But no attempt to assess the scope of his legacy

posted 2:04:11pm Mar. 04, 2010 | read full post »




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