The Goodness of Violence?

What is the relationship between secular humanism, the desire for sex, anti-humanism, and the desire for violence?

Consider the typical Enlightenment argument in a nice AAA-1 syllogism:

All sexual desires are natural desires.
All natural desires are good.
Therefore, all sexual desires are good.

Then, consider in an identical AAA-1 syllogism a similar argument of some in the counter-Enlightenment:

All desires for violence are natural desires.
All natural desires are good.
Therefore, all desires for violence are good.

If we take the premise “all natural desires are good” seriously, we are brought to a troubling conclusion, what Charles Taylor calls anti-humanism: “Anti-humanism is not just a black hole, an absence of values, but also a new valorization of death, and sometimes violence” (A Secular Age, p. 638).

To follow Jesus, Christians must say not all of our natural desires are good (Matthew 15:19). We oppose 1) anti-humanism’s valorization of death and violence, and more controversially we oppose 2) secular humanism’s approval of sexual immorality.

Jesus says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19, emphasis mine).

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4 thoughts on “The Goodness of Violence?

  1. Here’s a thought. Would you say that our sinful desires are “natural” in every sense? I think they are in the sense that we have a sin nature inherited from Adam, but they also aren’t in the sense that to be human does not necessarily mean that we are sinful. If that were the case, we’d be less human in the new creation, and Jesus wouldn’t be human at all. That’s a bit off-topic, but that’s what came to mind.

    Secular humanism finds itself caught in an utter contradiction.

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    1. “Secular humanism finds itself caught in an utter contradiction.”

      It depends. A secular humanist who believes all natural desires are good and violence is bad is in an inconsistent position. A secular humanist who believes some natural desires are good and violence is bad is in a consistent position.

      So for example, when Lady Gaga says, “Born this way,” do secular humanists really take that seriously? What about a murderer or rapist who says, “I was born this way”?

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      1. Maybe I was a bit strong in using the term “utter contradiction.” But in the end, secular humanists, like all people who hold false worldviews, wind up being inconsistent somehow. Saying any desire is good or bad would be inconsistent because there’s no reason for desires to be considered good or bad.

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