Monday, May 15, 2006
"The difference [is] between a world-view, based on empirical evidence or reason or personal experience and open to debate, and a religion, based on an inerrant text or revelation or church authority and closed to doubt . . ."
The distinction drawn is Andrew Sullivan's. Now, here's my question. Sullivan claims to be a Christian - indeed, to be a real Christian, unlike Christianists who have wrongly fused a distorted understanding of their own faiths with a political agenda.
So: does Sullivan believe that Scripture is "inerrant"? Does he base his faith in "church authority"? Are his religious beliefs "closed to doubt"?
Sullivan wants to protect the liberal political order from what he sees as a threat from religious authoritarianism. But he also wants religion to import a liberal attitude towards its own truth claims from the dominant liberal political order. This is, in fact, precisely the dynamic that Peter Berkowitz teases out of John Rawls' work on religion and liberalism. It's also precisely what the theocons are reacting (if Sullivan is right, over-reacting) against.
If Sullivan would simply admit all this he would be far less annoying.