Monday, June 27, 2016

Why 'progressive' and 'traditional' religion will never agree on some things

Rod Dreher again, in an excellent little article, "Progressive Religion, Orthodox Religion" (American Conservative, June 20, 2016), writes:
Richard Rodriguez is a gay California Catholic, and a very fine writer, even when I disagree with him (such as in this entry). His reaction to the Orlando massacrecaptures the core difference between left and right among the religious, and why we will never be able to agree on some things:
Here is the plain and dangerous truth facing the cosmopolitan world: In the opinion of many millions of Jews and Christians and Muslims, the Abrahamic God of the desert is a homophobe.
The desert religions of Abraham — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — were shaped by an encounter with a God who revealed himself within an ecology of almost lunar desolation. In such a place, the call to belief was tribal, not individualistic. Sexuality was an expression of faith to increase the tribe. Allegiance to God and to one’s ancestors was fulfilled by giving birth.
You see the logic: According to the holy writ of Abrahamic religion, God says gay sex is wrong. But we believe, in God, and we believe gay sex is not morally wrong. Therefore, God believes gay sex is not wrong. 
And he explains away a very deeply ingrained teaching of Abrahamic religion — one that, at least in Judaism and Christianity (I don’t know Islam well enough to say) by asserting that we’re more advanced than those desert savages.
This is not reasoning. This is rationalization.
There's a lot more to the article, but as the antithetical positions come down, according to Dreher, to this:
The orthodox says: “We can’t diverge too far from this map, or we’ll get lost.” 
The progressive says: “What? That map is way out of date. We’ll redraw it. It was just somebody’s opinion. We know better now.” 
The orthodox says: “What’s ‘better’? You have no way of knowing if your new coordinates are accurate. How do you know if they correspond to reality?” 
The progressive says: “Huh?” 
This is why we cannot resolve things between us.
[Hat tip to JM]