[lit-ideas] Re: "false inclusiveness of law over belief" or, vice versa, "... of belief over law"?

  • From: John Wager <jwager@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2010 20:46:02 -0600

I meant whatever seems to be correct gramaticaly and logically. But see below for one continuing possible disagreement.

Richard Henninge wrote:
John Wager wrote:

    On a more political point, the main problem with all kinds of
    "fundamentalisms" is that they seem to require everyone to
    subscribe to a system of beliefs that everyone in fact do[es] not
    subscribe to.  If 100% of a population believed in Islam, it might
    be quite democratic to make law entirely based on the Qu'ran.  But
    if even a few citizens do not subscribe to that system of beliefs,
    until they do, the foundation for law should be some system that
    does not require their buying into that religion.  Take your pick
    here: contract theory, or human nature, or some other
    justification for government, but the result is the same: There
    should always be a provision in law so that non-believers in a
    system of belief are not required by law to act as if they do.

    Buddhism isn't very conducive to fundamentalism, but the three
    traditions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism all seem to be much
    more prone to succumbing to ***the false inclusiveness of law over
    belief***.  This is really a very astounding position, when you
    think about it, because the whole idea of "revealed" truth present
    in these three traditions says that God has revealed in a special
    way to only some people certain fundamental truths or duties.  If
    fundamentalists really took revelation seriously, they would not
    want those to whom God has not (yet) revealed these truths to be
    held accountable ***for*** them, yet time and again these
    fundamentalists violate their own concept of "revelation" rather
    than practice the tolerance that such a conception of revelation
    would require.

Didn't you mean, John, just the opposite of what you said, i.e. that the conduciveness of Islam, Christianity and Judaism to fundamentalism is due to their traditions' seeming to be "much more prone to succumbing to..."--not-- "the false inclusiveness of law over belief," but to "the false inclusiveness of _belief over law_"?

One MIGHT expect fundamentalists to hold to the priority of belief over law, but the claim that ALL are bound by the law when it is based on one particular revelation seems to me more a denial of the centrality of revelation rather than a denial of the power of law. The paradox is that fundamentalists SEEM to say that revelation is central, but by making laws binding on all that are based on that, they promote the law as actually more important than revelation. It doesn't matter whether God has revealed something to me; I still must obey the law based on the revelation to someone else. Revelation isn't so central after all; law is.
Secondly, a quibble on a lower--merely grammatical--plane, in your saying that "[i]f fundamentalists really took revelation seriously, they would not want those to whom God has not (yet) revealed these truths to be held accountable _for_ them [my emphasis]," didn't you mean "_to_ them," since "for them" makes it sound as if they were responsible for them rather than just "responsive," à peu près, _to_ them?
Richard Henninge
University of Mainz


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