Traps to avoid #4

Stephen LaFrenie

"4. The Rationalism Trap. There is a commonplace—and false—theory that reason is completely conscious, literal (applies directly to the objective world), logical, universal, and unemotional.
Cognitive science has shown that every one of these assumptions is false. These assumptions lead progressives into other traps: assuming that hard facts will persuade voters, that voters are rational” and vote in their self-interest and on the issues, and that negating a frame is an effective way to argue against it."

Canadians are spiritual and moral human beings. Their morals are not guided by statistics and empirical data or rational afterthought. Our morals are guided by gut feelings, our emotions and life experiences. We are guided by that voice deep inside ourselves that tells us clearly what is right and wrong. For some that voice connects us to life, some to God, and some to the Universe. Some of us don’t see a difference in these three. We have mistakenly tried to dismiss human spirituality based on achieving religious equality by banning it from public view, as if we were trying to push it underground, into a back alley like we do prostitution, drug dealing and a myriad of other social dilemmas. We have a rightful separation of Church and State but we cannot separate God and State because we cannot separate God from a person of faith. We need to see the difference between preventing one religion or religious sect from dominating the public view and preventing the expression of spiritual faith itself. There is nothing stopping a person from praying in a public place and shouldn’t be. There is however something wrong with requiring everyone around you to stop and listen. There is no need to prevent the expression of faith and prayer in the House of Commons or at the beginning of a school day. This can be done with a dedicated moment of silent meditation and building a quiet, private meditation room within schools and other public buildings. You can’t open the day with a prayer from each and every religious sect even on a rotating basis but you could honour all faiths by allowing that moment of observation. In many Peel District Schools in Ontario there is allowance for Muslim students to congregate in a private room to observe Friday prayers. This was a simple solution to a simple problem. As far back as 1994 while I was a visiting artist in the schools I can recall seeing Muslim students in High Schools kneeling in alcoves, under stairwells, anywhere they could find because again you can’t separate Faith from Human Being. I once observed a man walking in a hurry down the street. He stopped and looked at the sky and since it was sundown he stopped, took off his jacket and laid it on the ground and knelt to say prayers. When Christian organizations argue that God is no longer in the schools it is a deceptive argument in many cases because they tend to argue the recitation of Christian prayer over the loudspeaker. This is not honouring religious observation, this is evangelism and that is where society should draw the line.
We don’t have labour justice in Canada because people sat around and deciphered data. We have labour law in Canada because people were being mistreated and reacted. It was fought for. We have a social safety net and equal rights for the same reasons. Secularism cannot solve everything and it is this feeling of spiritual abandonment that affects how people are reacting politically. That is the success of conservative agendas and republican agendas. They address the spiritual needs of voters. True this is predominately Christian based versions of morality but it has an effect across the spectrum. People of other faiths do not see themselves reflected anywhere and this is a mistake. We need to sidestep the trap of sectarianism but not back away from understanding that spiritual faith plays a major role in the lives of Canadians. We have to define a moral right and wrong course of action based on an understanding from where Canadians derive these moral directions and reflect the commonality of spiritual expression. Instead we have become lost in ‘spiritual semantics’ of sectarianism to the point of denying the very relevance of faith itself as a solution. This is most prevalent within the NDP which in my opinion is weighed down by the animosity of many of its core supporters to public religious expression.

You can argue that religious faith is not rational but you can't argue the human need for spirituality and the fact that our morals come from somewhere undefined by science and data.

This blog reflects my personal opinion.
It is not official Green Party Policy.