Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Can an Atheist be a True Conservative?
There are such people, even on the web, that claim to be conservative!
It has been stated by Russell Kirk and others that it isn't a prerequsite to believe in God to be a conservative. One merely has to skip the first item in my post below. To me, this means the individual atheist has created his own morality, and then aligned himself with the majority of conservative thought. Perhaps he has found a moral system to adopt somewhere in the philosophical world, and it just happens to agree with conservatism. Not that the conservative movement rejects these atheists immediately, since the movement needs all of the political support that it can find.
But, there is a gulf in this thought process between the atheist-conservative and the Christian-conservative, at least as I see it, if only because God has gone missing for the atheist. This creates a gap that cannot be breached in serious matters. The atheist does not believe in an after-life, hence his orientation on government legislation and decisions is strictly for here and now--heaven on earth today, as it were.
It is difficult to understand how the atheist would help the Christians to retain their place in the United States, their prayer in schools, their symbols of faith in the public square, such as are on most government buildings in the nation, or their allegiance to the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, founded as they are on the Creator. In fact, it is the atheist ACLU that has been fighting to secularize the nation for the last 30 years, which is a decidedly anti-conservative act if there ever was one.
How is it that one atheist can be ultra-liberal and secular, while another atheist can be, in his own mind, a conservative? The answer must lie in the moral code the atheist adopts, irrespective of religious moral codes. To try one example, the atheist could agree with the practical provisions of the Ten Commandments--thou shalt not: murder, steal, lie, covet, or commit adultery--and pass on the parts that relate to God. He then could go on to adopt the rest of the conservative principles, just passing when God is the subject.
This is where the problem lies! Will he pass, or will he vote with the rest of his brethren, or if in a position of power, will he opt to downgrade the Christian world? This is not evident from any external sign, since he professes perhaps 99% of the conservative dogma., with 1% held in secret for the occasion it is needed. Do we take him, an atheist, at his word in this day of attack on religion? It is not clear to me.