All is through the glass darkly . . . and so the New York Yankees a soccer team by my say so aside, the political state metaphysically opposes the religious at every turn. It has so since the Renaissance. The birth of the modern world was the death of the medieval ecclesiastical. America’s hostility to organized religion is not as much of an anomaly for our society as it might appear on face; the profession of the free exercise of any religion notwithstanding, America does stand as a new order of the ages, thus in direct conflict with any theocratic reactions. It does have an innate hostility to any church that has real political power; it would have to. I don’t disagree yet, but there is a way where even this democratically inclined impulse to oppose church dogmas can work as a corrosive force on liberty. Nonetheless, American democracy is set in opposition to theocractic impulses by necessity.
To avoid establishing a state religion the United States must hold all religions at least suspect, much along the logical lines of the President de facto holding all citizens as suspects and potential enemies of the Constitution when he swears to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. But then this is also why religion has been cleaved to by the most reactionary of our politicians; there is no room to wage a healthy respect for nor a deep understanding of religion in America, not with the way we read, the way we think, the way we occlude our vision of the past–tempocentrism has been our most abiding dogma, even the most liberally inclined politically are its victims; moreover, especially the politically correct, those whose narrow constraints of correctness have begun to constrict liberty.
For an honest assessment of religion we would have to learn more, read more, and more deeply than we do or can; we would have to examine more evidence than we could be willing to do with how we have taught intellectual integrity. And here in the United States, and in direct contrast to how checkered this Catholic knows the history of the Catholic Church to have been, the Church still does not receive even treatment from the American Media, nor does it receive rational treatment from the American mainstream. Flip the coin of bourgeois secular civilization and you will come up with one side or the other of an anti-ecclesiastic minting. This would not be a problem except for how it has also left us mute in face of other political fanaticisms.
We have no way of speaking to religions at all; this is why Muslims scare the hell out of us. Many Muslims are fast becoming the only ones who can talk monotheism with any certainty, and, yes, without fanaticism, regardless of how many fanatics there are pretending to be Muslims. But most liberal American women I meet who find veils on Muslim women so unsettling do so mostly because of the masks they wear themselves at work but just as often at home in the mirror. The masks inside on the selves of the Self are the veils we all wear, Muslim women are just more overt than we would ever be willing to be.
In our culture’s guiding metaphysics at present, there is no truth, and mostly because without truth, anyone can say anything, really a marketplace way of managing the idea of free speech, which is what we have instead of Free Speech being a democratic way of managing the ecclesiastic. The internet also provides instant expertise, but where anyone can be an expert, no one is, but then this only reinforces “anyone can say,” which has always been the flip-side of “who’s to say?” The latter being the rhetorical question most popular in America.
We have a long way to go or return to if we are ever going to have trenchant and intelligent discussion with Muslims because that return would be to where Muslims have not left–and I am restricting my reference to Muslims to sane, rational, intelligent, educated Muslims. Seeing as there are a billion Muslims in the world there would have to millions of what/of whom I have described. But then there are millions of the stupid, the insane, the narrow-minded, the hateful, et cetera. The world is a confusing place because either in veracity or in metaphor (which holds a special kind of validity and veracity) God has allowed Satan dominion over the world. And as a metaphor, we must be able to see what this means for the world. I guess in the traditions of the BOOK, Satan should have dominion over the world, otherwise free-will would be incidental and perhaps moot.
How is it we ever believe we can avoid hubris? Perhaps that is in itself hubris.