home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |
  An American Manifesto
Wednesday August 20, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

TOP NAV

Home

Blogs

Opeds

Articles

Bio

Contact

BOOK

Manifesto

Sample

Faith

Education

Mutual aid

Law

Books

BLOGS 14

Aug 2014

Jul 2014

Jun 2014

May 2014

Apr 2014

Mar 2014

Feb 2014

Jan 2014

BLOGS 13

Dec 2013

Nov 2013

Oct 2013

Sep 2013

Aug 2013

Jul 2013

Jun 2013

May 2013

Apr 2013

Mar 2013

Feb 2013

Jan 2013

BLOGS 12

Dec 2012

Nov 2012

Oct 2012

Sep 2012

Aug 2012

Jul 2012

Jun 2012

May 2012

Apr 2012

Mar 2012

Feb 2012

Jan 2012

BLOGS 11

Dec 2011

Nov 2011

Oct 2011

Sep 2011

Aug 2011

Jul 2011

Jun 2011

May 2011

Apr 2011

Mar 2011

Feb 2011

Jan 2011

BLOGS 10

Dec 2010

Nov 2010

Oct 2010

Sep 2010

Aug 2010

Jul 2010

Jun 2010

May 2010

Apr 2010

Mar 2010

Feb 2010

Jan 2010

BLOGS 09

Dec 2009

Nov 2009

Oct 2009

Sep 2009

Aug 2009

Jul 2009

Jun 2009

May 2009

Apr 2009

Mar 2009

Feb 2009

Jan 2009

BLOGS 08

Dec 2008

Nov 2008

Oct 2008

Sep 2008

Aug 2008

Jul 2008

Jun 2008

May 2008

Apr 2008

Mar 2008

Feb 2008

Jan 2008

BLOGS 07

Dec 2007

Nov 2007

Oct 2007

Sep 2007

Aug 2007

Jul 2007

Jun 2007

May 2007

Apr 2007

Mar 2007

Feb 2007

Jan 2007

BLOGS 06

Dec 2006

Nov 2006

Oct 2006

Sep 2006

Aug 2006

Jul 2006

Jun 2006

May 2006

Apr 2006

Mar 2006

Feb 2006

Jan 2006

BLOGS 05

Dec 2005

Nov 2005

Oct 2005

Sep 2005

Aug 2005

Jul 2005

Jun 2005

May 2005

Apr 2005

Mar 2005

Feb 2005

Jan 2005

BLOGS 04

Dec 2004

The War over Medicare Drugs Government Workers Earn More

print view

A Question of Belief

by Christopher Chantrill
November 18, 2005 at 4:30 am

AS EVERYONE knows, the world is moving progressively down a path of secularization, away from a traditional language of myth and magic and towards a reality-based world of science and logic. Why then, asks Frank Furedi, is the modern world full of “life coaches, lifestyle gurus, professional celebrities, parenting coaches, super-nannies, makeover experts, healers, facilitators, mentors and guides?”

These modern sources of spiritual authority seem to have stepped into the social space formerly occupied by traditional authority figures.

Yes, it has become fashionable to treat traditional forms of authority — monarchy, church, parliament — with derision. Criticism of traditional institutions has become so prevalent that it bears all the hallmarks of classical conformism. Scientists, doctors and other professionals have also experienced an erosion of authority. But the diminishing influence of conventional authority has been paralleled by the rise of a new ‘alternative’ one.

So we have the curious situation today that people distrust politicians but trust celebrities. Sir Bob Geldorf possesses the moral authority to browbeat elected politicians about aid to Africa. People question the actions of the scientifically-driven drug companies and trust the folk remedies of the herbalist.

The people that patronize herbalists and shop at natural foods stores are often the same people that are contemptuous about the beliefs of the creationists and Intelligent Design folks.

It is perhaps too extreme to say that people who don’t believe in God will believe in anything. But they certainly will believe in something, and if they do not submit themselves to the moral authority of priests and ministers they will submit themselves to the authority of life coaches and gurus.

Perhaps Paul Bloom is on to something in “Is God an Accident” when he writes that children from an early age learn to differentiate between moving objects and immovable objects. They project into the moving objects the notion of purpose. Moving, objects, “psychological things” possess “minds, intentions, beliefs, goals, and desires.” If humans develop the notion of purposeful things as a way of explaining to themselves the behavior of moving things, then it is a short step to ascribing purpose to the whole world of moving objects and the Author of it all.

When you decide that the Author is dead then you soon find you need to replace Him with substitute guides. You still need to learn about your purpose in this world and to divine the purposes of others. You head off on a journey to the other side of the world and find yourself back where you started.

|

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


 TAGS


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


mysql close 0

 

©2007 Christopher Chantrill