Notes on Barr’s speech

We need religion as a foundation of public morality. 

1.) So the good of the nation blesses the morals of religion. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better (Heb. 7:7)

2.) Humans form moralities necessarily, i.e. absolutes defended by taboos and judgments about which fundamental beliefs are better than others. So why is religious morality preferable to whatever morality we have without it?

3.) The First Amendment gives freedom of religion while forbidding the state from defining what counts as one in the moral sphere (one wonders if this was the contradiction that Gödel noticed in the constitution). This gets exacerbated after Lemon commands excluding the religious.

4.) The relation between religion and morality is as complicated as the one between religion and sex or between science and the environment. Ask the Duke of Saxony, who enjoyed Luther’s defense of his realm against Müntzer’s insurrection against it, whether religious conviction is the foundation of public morality.

5.) First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered on behalf of all men for kings and all those in authority, so that we may lead tranquil and quiet lives (1 Tim 2 : 1-2) In spite of its millenarian and apocalyptic core, Christianity is tempered by the desire to be left alone to worship the Lord in peace.




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