How Times Have Changed

 Posted by on 23 February 2006 at 10:20 am  Uncategorized
Feb 232006

I’ve been listening to Leonard Peikoff’s excellent lecture course “Understanding Objectivism“, and I was struck by his assessment of the state of religion in the US back in 1983:

Now almost nobody is religious today in the way it was once the rule to be. The whole West in the medieval period was tremendously religious and today the most religious zealot in the United States would have been drummed out in the Middle Ages because he would be hopelessly tainted with secularism.

So religious is a dying phenomenon and I must confess I feel a certain sympathy or sorrow — not sorrow — but like I feel sorry for the way that these people are historically on the way out. Religion is fading all the time, so it’s not that big a factor in most people’s lives. It’s a casual utterance which they don’t really act on, although in some people absolutely it’s a real factor.

(“Judging Intellectual Honesty”, Lecture 11, CD track 5, time index 3:22)

Of course, since that time Peikoff has significantly revised his position. In his also-excellent “DIM Hypothesis” course, given in 2004, he makes a persuasive argument that religion poses the most significant (and still rapidly-growing) philosophical danger to the United States, far more than the discredited ideas of the secular leftists/collectivists.

It’s amazing how much things have changed in 20 years.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha