We hold these truths to be… huh?

When Solzhenitsyn gave his Harvard address in the summer of 1978, his words were like the scalpel of a surgeon with a fresh perspective on where the cancer was that was eating the patient at hand.  Solzhenitsyn had been witnessing the rot of the Soviet beast from the inside his entire life, and so his eastern eyes were able to see the growing maladies of the decaying West.  This is the type of perspective that is brought to the table by Vishal Mangalwadi, the author which I am quoting below.  Although his latitudinal starting point is closer to our world’s waist line, he sees the West clearly.  He makes comparisons and contrasts using his native Indian culture and offers his critiques without the air of bitterness or anger that is endemic to so many westerners who try to diagnose from the inside.  The following is taken from his book Truth and Transformation (2009), pages 110-111: 

The Bible and its supernatural worldview wrote the principal of human equality into America’s cultural DNA.  The Declaration of Independence begins with the assertion:  ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’  But Thomas Jefferson was wrong about one thing; human equality is not a self-evident, natural phenomenon; inequality is self-evident in nature and in society.

My ancestors were not dumb; to them inequality was obvious.  They explained it with the ideas of karma and reincarnation, and they institutionalized it in caste and gender discrimination.  Souls are born unequal, and to different castes and sexes, because of their good or bad karma in previous lives.  To be religious meant to respect these differences.  An upper caste person would be polluted if he touched a lower caste person, disowned if he ate with one, and maybe killed if he married one.

People like Jefferson thought that belief in equality could be grounded in the Enlightenment philosophy of universal reason and common sense.  But what is called “common sense” differs in every culture.  For instance, nearly all societies think it is common sense that women are inferior to men.  When Jefferson and Thomas Payne talked about common sense, they were drawing upon a peculiar attempt of the Scottish Enlightenment to find an epistemology that could be a secular basis for ideas revealed in the Bible.  The radical and God-given idea of human equality had so deeply penetrated American culture that it appeared self-evident to the founders.

Of course, most American atheists will tell you that they also believe in human equality.  But that is only because the Bible wrote that notion into America’s cultural DNA.  If atheists were writing the Declaration of Independence, they would have to write something like, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all human beings have evolved equal, and are endowed by natural selection with certain unalienable rights.’  But that would be absurd.  There is no observable, ‘natural’ way in which all human beings are equal.  Natural selection has never created political and social equality.  Equality is a moral, theological, or supernatural idea that evolutionism can’t support, because evolution is a theory created to explain inequality in nature.

God’s Word wrote the principle of human equality into the American soul by its insistence that all human beings, male and female, are made in God’s image.”

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1 Comment

Filed under Culture and Economics

One response to “We hold these truths to be… huh?

  1. Derek Smith

    Kirk,
    I’m likin’ it!
    Derek

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