Not that they’re related, but the more or less concurrent rise of libertarian Ron Paul and demise of prominent atheist Christopher Hitchens give one pause. The sympathy that this author, as a progressive, feels for libertarians’ anti-war stance parallels that I feel for atheists’ anti-religion stance. But I not only lack sympathy for, but am fundamentally opposed to, what motivates those beliefs on both their parts.
Libertarians’ opposition to war is motivated by the belief that that a state should keep its gaze and its money within its own borders, no matter the carnage overseas. Atheists’ opposition to religion is motivated by the lack of belief in — however one cares to describe it — God, a higher power, or a greater intelligence.
My opposition to war is primarily for humanitarian reasons — death, dismemberment, incineration, all that fun stuff. Among the many reasons for my aversion to most organized religions is the proprietorship they exercise over the concept of God (which, in my estimation, is emphatically not a personal God — maybe only an organizing principle). Not to mention the wars they wage in His name — which is where we came in: the twain where progressives and libertarians meet.
Where atheists and I part ways is the deep faith in the greater intelligence and an afterlife (for most, a way station for rebirth) that I’ve evinced over the course of my spiritual* practice.
Still, in the end, libertarians and atheists get something right, while conservatives and religions next to nothing.
*A word that I’ve never been comfortable with because of its pretentiousness, but you get the point.
Cross-posted from the Foreign Policy in Focus blog Focal Points.