squishy liberal ChristiansComments
This is an uncomfortable thing for Jewish people to think about, but isn’t that actually a very banal baseline belief of all Christians and Muslims everywhere? Jews don’t evangelize like this, and I don’t think Hindus do either, but our world’s great crusading faiths certainly do and converting everyone is . . . the whole point! This is one reason — probably the reason — that whatever the electoral politics of the matter, it’s probably not a great idea to encourage politicians to “talk about faith” more. For America to work as an enterprise you need people with deeply held but mutually inconsistent religious beliefs to all work and live together peacefully. Rubbing everyone’s noses in the precise implications of other people’s beliefs (Christians think Jews shouldn’t exist, Jews think Christians are worshipping a false messiah, Protestants think Catholics worship idols, etc.) isn’t really helpful.
While all reasonable people can endorse the concluding sentiment, I think this post exemplifies a problem analytic philosophy types discussing religion. The fact is, squishy liberal religious people, who exist in very large numbers, exhibit an set of beliefs and justifications that wouldn’t stand up in the seminar room. Their epistemology might be described as flabby, lazy, incoherent. But really, that’s ok. Ecumenicalism can be defended on political grounds quite well, but it harder to defend as a coherent and logical worldview. Fundamentalists are a philosophical breath of fresh air, philosophically speaking. But the fact is most religious people are incoherent squishy liberals, and we should all be extremely greatful for that. They may present a less coherent worldview, but at least it’s a potentially morally decent one.