Comment on Pragmatism that Missed the Boat at the New York Times

You caught my interest straightaway by calling yourself “Pragmatist” and you fulfill it in saying, “In Trump, they see someone who doesn’t care about religion, but is more likely to support their views if it elects him.” You immediately go on to say,” The moral depravity of this position, of course, is clear to all thinking people.”

But I don’t think it is at all “clear to all thinking people.” That perhaps because you are the first person I have encountered to have even brought it up.

My clarity is that this behavior invokes one of the classic formulas for Pragmatism, i.e., “The Ends Justify the Means.” This is a formula for amorality because the selection of the “Ends” is beyond the scope of Pragmatism. Those ends, chosen for the arbitrary convenience of the Pragmatist, justify the means, however heinous!

[I just realized that this is so even if the means fail! At least in the formula, “If it Works it’s Good,” if it doesn’t work it’s not good.  I never thought I would find something not so bad about Pragmatism!]

Trump’s religious [sic] supporters are hypocrites as well, but Pragmatism is the unforgivable crime since in a world of amorality, the world of Pragmatism – unfortunately our world it seems – anything goes!

______________

My comment was a reply to a comment by Pragmatist to The Theology of Donald Trump – – The New York Times – Peter Wehner – July 5, 2016.

Pragmatist’s comment follows.  I address only his opening paragraph since after that, Pragmatism is no longer the subject:

No person who is a devout Christian could support Trump because of his religious beliefs. The Evangelical right (by which I mean the non-denominational, largely independent evangelical churches) is embracing him as they know Clinton will not support their agenda. It is a political calculation. In Trump, they see someone who doesn’t care about religion, but is more likely to support their views if it elects him. The moral depravity of this position, of course, is clear to all thinking people. Interestingly, I doubt he will feel indebted and will probably ignore them once he is done using them.

One asks why the Evangelical right does not see the issue Wehner raises, perhaps it is rooted in their notion of belief. Many believe the world is 6000 years old, reject evolution, reject modern cosmology, believe literally in a book that has had substantial “corrections” over the past 50 years due to better translations/older versions of texts, believe gays need to be “fixed,”, etc. This is a group which values belief over fact no matter how preposterous. The problem is an ecumenical one: they are out of sync with educated, mainstream Christian thought and have been acting contrary to Christian values as the author makes clear. It is not that the followers are intentionally unchristian, it is that they are easily led because they have sold out independent thinking and the use of facts in the dialogue.

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About Ghoh

My name is Joe, but username Joe was already taken. I am interested in politics, religion and ideas that are off the beaten path, whatever the subject.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Ethics, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, The Election and Beyond and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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