Monsters on the cultural landscape

The prestigious Catholic weekly The Tablet reports…

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said that tendentious notions of equality, freedom and tolerance are “three monsters on our cultural landscape” that formed part of a new and “very, very dangerous” secular religion.

Speaking in Leicester Cathedral, the Cardinal said:

‘What worries me today is the development of a kind of negative tolerance. For the sake of tolerance the Government forced the Roman Catholic Church to close its Adoption Agencies because we were not able to accept politically correct law which said that all agencies have to accept homosexual couples if they wished to adopt. This went against the conscience of Catholic teaching which asserted that the best way of bringing up children was with a father and a mother. Thus the agencies have had to close for no good reason because homosexual couples could adopt from any other agency. All this for the sake of tolerance. For the sake of tolerance we must not allow a person to wear a cross so that Christianity is not expressed visibly. In the name of tolerance it seems to me tolerance is being abolished. Our danger in Britain today is that so-called Western reason claims that it alone has recognised what is right and thus claims totality that is inimical to freedom. No one is forced to be a Christian. But no one should be forced to live according to the new secular religion as if it alone were definitive and obligatory for all humankind.’

He said that “the new secular religion” was “not pure reason but rather the restriction of reason to what can be known scientifically – and at the same time the exclusion of all that goes beyond it”. He added: “It is very, very dangerous.”

He went on: “The propaganda of secularism and its high priests want us to believe that religion is dangerous for our health. It suits them to have no opposition to their vision of a brave new world, the world which they see as somehow governed only by people like themselves.”

The new religion of Secularism and its fanatical supporters like Richard Dawkins are determined to enforce their will and shove their ‘faith’ down society’s throat.

But some Muslims have questioned whether the churches as a whole are really willing to resist the challenge of secularism.  Muslim philosopher Shabbir Akhtar in The Quran and the Secular Mind (2008) comments provocatively (p.7):

‘We must note that there are now few authentically religious Jews and Christians in the West even among the clergy and the rabbinate. All intellectually sophisticated Jews and Christians are secularised and, in their attitudes towards domestic issues, as opposed to foreign policy, are typically humane capitalists whose religious beliefs serve as a decorative veneer on their underlying secularised religious humanism. All charges are variations on the stock Muslim accusation, rooted in the Qur’an, that Jews and Christians have achieved a cosy accommodation with the world – or with modern secularism, in our day – at the cost of being unfaithful to their dogmatic traditions. Modern versions of Christianity and Judaism appear to be carefully disguised variants of secular humanism. Predictably, therefore, many Jews and Christians, unlike virtually all Muslims, live conscientiously and comfortably within the arrangements of the liberal secular humanist state. Islam is now unique in its existential decision, though not intellectual capacity, to confront rather than accommodate the secularist world-view. It is a faith whose adherents are sounding a lone note of courageous defiance in the battle against secularism while other trumpets are blowing retreat.

3 replies »

  1. As an Anglican Christian priest I was concerned to read the views of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, whom I have always listened carefully t,o but with whom i have noticed a growing tendency, prevelant amongst us older people, to be somewhat dinasour-ish! That is stuck in their ways and views. Always there must be, with such people, an intransigant, dogmatic view; black is black and white is white. This is simply a power trip.

    Harrange enough people for long enough and a fundamental interpretation will emerge. Nowhere is this more eveident in Roman Catholicism, fundamental envangelical groups, and extremist Muslim activists.

    Our God, our Supreme Being, however we refer to the Almighty, is a force, power, an energy that sets us free to discover for ourselves the truth. we have already the guidelines; the Hebrew and Jewish scriptiures, the Quran are given that God may reveal to us the truth. In knowing that that truth is set in the context of love; of love of God, our neighbours and our self we are liberated from secularism and all forms of hedonist temptations. For it was Jesus who said, ‘you shall know the truth and will make you free’.

    It is not in contesting secularism, sectarianism, racism or bigotry that the struggle against these things will be conquered, but in the promotion of love, peace and tolerance. Of living with a sense of purpose, that peacefully seeks, by example, to eliminate injustice, poverty, famine and bigotry. it is in the joy of knowing that we serve a living, almighty, omnipotent, apophatic God, that we can put back into our world the harmony of God’s creative power.

    • ‘Apophatic God’ I like that! There is something in the Quran that corresponds to that concept:

      al-Ikhlâs – The Purity

      In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

      Say: He is Allah, the One and Only!
      Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
      He begetteth not nor is He begotten.
      And there is none like unto Him.

      – translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

      Al-Ikhlâs is sûrah (chapter) 112 of the Qur’ân, and is said to be one of the earliest revelations that the Prophet Muhammad received from archangel Gabriel.

      The Arabic root of the word ikhlâs is kh-l-s which means to be purified, refined, or to express loyal. The very concept of refining and purifying signifies the burning away of all impurities, leaving nothing but the very essence of that which was sought, Allah, the ultimate recipient of our utmost loyalty and sincerity.

      Such a purification is the burning away of all of the worldly misunderstandings, concerns and desires that separate us from the One; the One and Only upon whom we depend, the One and Only who is our foundation rock, the Eternal One and Only.

      As a further testimony to the unity of the One who has created all of mankind, note the striking similarity in the Bhagavad-Gita written in India a thousand years earlier:

      You are the One Creator of all the worlds,
      and of that which moves and that which does not move,
      You alone are fit for worship, You are the highest Teacher,
      In all the worlds there is none equal to You.

      – Bhagavad-Gita 11:43

      from Living from the Heart

  2. Cardinal Cormac and his Church would have us return to the “good old days” of the Church when gays were burned along side heretics. The “Monsters on the cultural landscape” are the pedophile priests and their Church that continues to cover up their crimes.

    Meanwhile, Islamic countries like Iran, Afghanistan continue to stone adulterers, and punish women for being raped.

    No thank-you! I like our secular laws and culture.

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