Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An Interesting Exercise

I broke my silence on a Lutheran message board I used to frequent often.  Frankly, I did so because I became tired of a refrain which seemed to pop up time and again.  Perhaps you have heard it before:

"We do not have the right to impose our faith/morals upon anyone or shove them down their throats."

Now, such a statement might seem like a no-brainer.  I mean, no one likes to have anything shoved down their throats.  No one wants to be told what to believe.  No one wants to be told what to do.  Everyone wants to be free and have the freedom to do as they please.

However, complete freedom is actually anarchy.  In order for us to co-exist with one another, there must be agreed upon rules which govern how we live.  I mean, I simply cannot go and take something from another person.  That's stealing.  It's one of the rules we live by.

Of course, most people agree that we do indeed need some rules so that we don't live in anarchy.  However, we tend to have a difficult time figuring out just what those rules should and should not be.  I would personally argue this is why we have quite a bit of social anxiety within our culture these days.  Many different worldviews are competing for supremacy in the rules department, and they are trying to exert their influence within our society.

There's the Christian worlview.
There's the conservative worldview.
There's the liberal worldview.
There's the Muslim worldview.
There's the secular humanist worldview.
There's the postmodern worldview.

Oh, and I could list more than a dozen others, but I hope you get my point.

To try and enable some sort of dialogue between people who hold worldviews, some academics have asserted that when engaging in public discourse, one should leave one's faith behind.  One is free to discuss one's faith in private, but it should not affect the public sphere.  Among the myriads of fallacies with this approach is the fact that all worldviews are predicated upon assumptions which are grounded in faith, not reason.  Yet, most folks fail to acknowledge that--especially those who resort to the refrain "we can't shove our faith/morals down the throats of others." 

So, to expose that fallacy, I challenged folks on that Lutheran message board to give me a secular based, rational argument for universal health care.  No faith arguments are allowed. 

It's been fun watching the fireworks fly, and perhaps I am enjoying it a little too much because I am on the board arguing from a secular, evolutionary based worldview, and it's driving some folks nuts.

Yet, it is quite the interesting challenge to leave one's worldview behind and argue from another.  It really stretches one's brain.  And it also shows just how unwilling we usually are to even assess our own assumptions about the way we think.

I offer my readers this challenge: pick an argument and see if you can argue it from a different worldview.  See if you can check your faith at the door and approach things only from reason, science, and logic.  Or, if you are an athiest, see if you can argue things from a faith-based perspective.  Let me know what you find out.

No comments: