Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Why we failed

The Catholic Herald have presented an excellent article on why the Church and the pro-life movement failed to make any difference with the HFE Bill. He says that the movement failed because it allowed the Bills supporters to define the terms of the debate.

Again question has to be made to SPUC's policy on not engaging in the political process here. Haldane one of the finest philosophers in the Church said:

"Having rather abstract debates about the nature of the human person, or something of that sort, it's very unclear how those are going to deliver policy results, It's very clear how utility will"

For Haldane, the Church's failure to make a convincing case has exposed a deep flaw in British Catholicism.

"I do feel, I'm afraid, that Christians have de-intellectualised over the last few decades," he says. "The current intellectual resources that Christians have available to them are very limited. We are just not able to present very good arguments. Not that the arguments aren't there, but we don't know what they are very often or how to articulate them."

He suggests that those who have tried to defend Christianity have often appealed to sentimentality, which, he says, is a dismal gift to the likes of Richard Dawkins.

"People say: 'For all that science and technology have contributed much to the development of society and economic well-being, we must have respect for the faith perspective. When I hear the words 'we must have respect for the faith perspective' I know we're in trouble. Somebody who says that doesn't have something substantial to offer. It's trying to gain the benefits that properly belong to rigorous and serious argumentation from the residual halo that surrounds the idea of religion. That is meat to Dawkins, because it tells him that these people are on the run."

Make no mistake about it, this bill should be a wake up call to us all and if we don't start engaging in the debate, we're in trouble.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

faith perspective - eugh! Haldane is right.

But of course, the arguments are all on our side, it's just that we don't present them coherently, or we make holes in them by campaigning for compromises. Remember the ten people in an eight person lifeboat thing they probably made you talk about in RE? Do you chuck someone out to be sure of rescuing the rest? No.

The arguments are tight, coherent and convincing - but any whose proponents appear to hold it only theoretically is not going to convince many people.

We have to argue and act consistently. We will probably only ever get compromises. But we must always always argue consistently, and thus never promote anything that is not in line with what we argue.

And between times keep the lonely elderly company and babysit for single mothers and offer housing and work to women under pressure to abort etc.