I am still plowing through Keller's Reason for God and as usual, I'm finding it much easier to keep flipping its pages as opposed to taking time for reflection. I really need to develop a better rhythm of reading, studying and reflecting when I pick up nonfiction. I digress.
After my last post, I realized two things. One, I need to keep these posts much shorter. Two, I need to preface these posts with an apology to Keller. I have no doubts that I might be doing him a disservice in these summaries, but I am trying my best to remain true to his thoughts as I post some *hopefully* succint reviews of each chapter.
The last section of the first objection chapter, There Can't Be Just One True Religion, deals with the solution that some propose: to keep religion completely private.
Contemporary political scientists, sociologists, etc have argued that in public sector conversations, one should "not argue for a moral position unless it has a secular, nonreligious grounding."
Is that even possible? Does such a all-inclusive code of ethic, removed from any absolute truth, even exist?
Should "religious people" be forced to leave behind a part of themselves when entering public dialogue? These are significant questions to be wrestled with, especially in light of the current presidential race.
If we zoom out and define religion, Keller says it is a "set of beliefs that explain what life is all about, who we are, and the most important things" that we should spend our time on - our "master narrative." It follows then that everyone argues a position from their "narrative", even if it is an implicit "religion."
Are there "neutral and objective arguments" that would convince everyone in the political arena that we must not starve the poor? No, says Keller.
Keller argues that we cannot find neutral ground, because there is no neutral ground and we should not therefore be expected to leave behind, or privatize, our "religion." Everyone has an implicit code of ethic, whether they argue it from an evolutionary psychological position or from the Quran or from the Bible.
He touches on this in more depth in later chapters.