Russell and Duenes

Freedom, Democracy, and Secularism: Do These Go Together Best?

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Hunter Baker, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Union University, has a thoughtful and even-handed piece in this month’s Touchstone Magazine (my absolute favorite magazine, to which I highly recommend you subscribe). Entitled The Soul of Liberty, Baker critiques the thesis, popular in our day, that freedom, democracy, and secularism go together. He briefly compares the underpinnings and fruits of both the French Revolution and the American Revolution. Those these two revolutions occurred at roughly the same time, the motivations behind them were quite different, as were the targets of their venom. They also proved to have greatly divergent effects. I’ll leave you to read the piece, but I found this concluding quote particularly important,

Our civilization is like the flower. It did not simply arrive fully formed and beautiful. It grew and developed over time in response to certain nurturing events (like rain, sun, and wind) acting upon its foundation, which was fertile ground. The things that we value in our civilization also grew and developed in response to certain nurturing events acting upon their foundation, which, in the West, has largely been the Bible. If we separate ourselves from that foundation and simply declare ourselves to be appreciators of things like freedom and democracy, but not of the soil from which they sprang, questions arise: Why do we believe in those things and not in others? What were the reasons that led us to believe in those things in the first place? If we no longer believe those foundational reasons to be valid, then on what basis can we consider the concepts of freedom and democracy themselves to be valid?



Written by Michael Duenes

May 13, 2012 at 11:47 am

Posted in Duenes, Government, History

Tagged with , ,

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