Re: War and oil in the UK papers (long)

From: george murphy (
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 11:55:35 EDT

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    Glenn Morton wrote:

    > Bill Yates wrote:
    > >This gives rise to my second question:
    > >Why do these other groups not see this and implement the same values in
    > >their society in order to achieve the same progress?
    > >
    > >Any answers?
    > Not answers but speculation. The people in every culture like their culture.
    > It is what they grew up with and what they were trained to live in. Even
    > here in Scotland with the similarities in language and culture, I miss some
    > of the subtle clues to feelings and attitudes because I wasn't trained as a
    > child in this culture. Thus, it is hard for people in one culture to match
    > the values in another culture. If those values are required for economic
    > growth, then growth will be lacking in cultures that can't mimic those
    > important traits.
    > And I wouldn't automatically claim that Christianity mimics the traits you
    > listed earlier in your note: worth of the individual, belief in liberty,
    > democracy, and a free market capitalistic economic system. For 1800 years
    > Christianity aligned itself with despotical dictators whom we call kings.
    > There was little worth ascribed to the individual, little liberty, no
    > democracy and no captialist system because everything belonged to the king.
    > Thus the inability of Islamic societies to free themselves from their
    > despotical dictators is not that much different from Christianity for the
    > first 1800 years of its existence.
    > And ironically our push for democracy in the Arabic world (which we should
    > do) probably will backfire. In Algeria several years ago the military
    > canceled an election because pre-election polls showed that the islamic
    > fundamentalists, who were campaigning for an Islamic society which would do
    > away with elections, was about to win. I saw the other day that Bush was
    > pushing Musharref to have free elections in Pakistan. If they had truly
    > free elections, we would have another Afghanistan on our hands, only this
    > one would have nuclear weapons. The real problem is the intellectual
    > isolation of the Islamic world. No alternative viewpoints are viable there.
    > And this leaves us in a real quandry because of our view of the worth of the
    > individual. Do we truly give the freedom to a society to vote in people who
    > say we must die?

             Today's Beacon Journal has a reprise of 9-11 related editorial
    cartoons. In one of them one person says, "You have to look at it from their
    point of view. Modernism's not for everybody." The other person replies, "How
    come the Amish don't have suicide bombers?"

             The Amish, while often quite successful economically, have deliberately
    rejected many aspects of modernism and the fruits of success that are
    with it. Radical Islamists want those fruits without having the type of modern
    culture that can produce them. They feel that they should have them because
    theirs is a success oriented religion, & their enraged because it doesn't work.

             As to Glenn's closing question, the Romans had a saying: _Salus
    reipublicae suprema lex_ - safety of the state is the supreme law. It's lousy
    theology but when restricted to the political realm there is a
    certain amount of
    truth to it. If there is no safety in the ordering of society then talk of
    individual liberties is vacuous.

             & an historical note: Certainly there's a lot to criticize about the
    "Constantian settlement" & medieval political systems but there was not 1800
    years in which "everything belonged to the king."
    The idea of absolute monarchy in Christian Europe didn't really emerge until a
    relatively short-lived period in the 17th & 18th centuries - which of course
    doesn't mean that the peasants had much in the way of civil rights in
    the Middle



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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