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The modern transition: from religion to liberalism

July 8th, 2009 · 1 Comment

On Liberty at 150

John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty isn’t always convincing, but after 150 years it is still worth reading, writes Andrew Norton
On Liberty
By John Stuart Mill
First published 1859. Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Penguin Books, and many other publishers.

It is important for secularists to study the liberal tradition (Mill may not be the best source for this) when they get into false arguments with religious traditionalists.
The reason these traditionalists are insidious is that in the name of spirituality they are really denying freedom (unwittingly or not) and voiding the complex gains of liberal philosophers (or their proto-liberal sources, like Kant or Hegel) and their insistence on ‘autonomy’, and ‘religion within the limits of reason’, etc, etc,…
As you confront the existential situation of modern secularism the siren song of religious tradition can sound especially persuasive, especially next to the flatfooted confusions of scientism, or darwinism.
But the way to the future was glimpsed clearly at the dawn of liberalism.
Note that the idea of freedom is as much a challenge to scientism as anything in the muddled superstitions of religionists.

The basic architecture of liberalism, that is of free men in a free society, is clearest in the seminal works of Kant.
This venture in man’s self-consciousness is as profound as anything in religion.

(Note that Armstrong is beginning to challenge scientism, imitating who one wonders, while she would never challenge darwinism, bad for book sales. False prophet indeed)

Tags: History · liberalism · The Eonic Effect

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 The Gurdjieff Con » Religion vs the liberal world // Jul 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    […] Karen Armstrong is another of the type we have exposed repeatedly here: promote the revival of religion, as anti-modernism, without realizing the deeper strain of the truly religious in the evolution of freedom. […]

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