"The neoconservative faction, or should we say movement, is generally secular and often associated with the name of Leo Strauss. Kristol was one of those who never minded saying that he was a Straussian, and Strauss is unusual among the pillars of American conservatism in having been decidedly skeptical about religious faith. Here again, Kristol appears to have been contradictory between an abstruse, elite intellectual and the popular will: If I understood him correctly, he believed that religion was a useful tool for making people behave well, quite independent of whether it was true or not. If that should turn out to have been a paradox with a dry hint of cynicism, he very probably derived relish from it."This is a case in point as to why Christians in the U.S. and elsewhere must be careful not to become useful idiots in the political game and also to avoid reducing faith to morality and morality to mere values. I think Christians in this country for many election cycles made a Faustian bargain with the political right.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Morality is not faith and religion is not social control
Writing last week about Dostoevsky's assertion that without God everything is permissible, I wrote that the great Russian author is not arguing in favor of the God of the philosophers, let alone the God of the politicians who seek to use religion as a means of social control. In the final paragraph of his article for Slate about the passing last Friday of Irving Kristol, Christopher Hitchens writes this about the godfather of neoconservatism: