We define our identity always in dialogue …

Charles Taylor, in Multiculturalism

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Well, Charles – yes and no.  That is not always so and such a thought has its hazards, its dangers, it destructive quality, it deadly denial, its foolishness.

What do I mean?

The others with whom you engage in dialogue may be wrong.  Often they are. They may be crazy.  Often they are.  The may be intentionally hurtful.  Often they are.  They may be self-serving.  Often they are.  Trendy?  Yes.  Shallow? Yep. Ignorant?  Very often. Clueless? Indeed.  Faithless?  Yes.  Wrong, seemingly flawlessly so?  That, too.  A combination of all of the above?  Oh, ya.

Folks we live among loons.

Truth is identity from dialogue requires greater discretion – the understanding that others (culture at-large, included) can be destructive.

The disordered and lost souls you encounter require that you keep a healthy distance.  So too a disordered culture.  Discretion counts.

The traditional time-tested manner of grounding yourself in an orientating identity is through religious narrative – for they encapsulate a collective understanding of the human person and the nature of human experience recorded over centuries.

So dialogue with religious narrative is helpful – it is, after all, a distillation of recorded human history – the story of human beings, their behavior and their longings.  It follows that a dialogue with believers is likely to be a safe and communal experience.

Yet, what about non-believers and a dialogue with them?  Where is the common ground? How are they grounded in meaning?  What can they tell you of your identity?

Take secular humanists, for example?  Atheists?  Agnostics?  Those who reject God altogether and have no religion?  Researchers call them “nones.”  They are now about 23 percent of the American population.  How does that dialogue work?

The secular humanists are all about “reason,” and the supremacy of science, and ethics in place of morality.  You see this in Bernie Sanders – his God is government, and his faith is socialism.  Good luck.  Hard to find a religion in either Mr. Obama or the Clintons.

Voters in Montgomery Country, Maryland, have nominated a secularist for Congress.  The candidate carries the Democrat label and leans hard Left.

I’ve lived years in that Country. Very educated people.  Wealthy.  Dumbest people I’ve ever seen collected in political office in one place in my whole life. Big on government, not on religion.  Toes barely touching the ground.  Identity is quite differently defined among those folks.  Very Democrat-Left. Good luck with them.

We face now, like it or not, a question in this land about our identity.  Are we Americans?  Do we see value in this?  Are we religious?  Do we see the role of faith in our nation?  Its history?  Our life?  Or does paganism suit us?  Child sacrifice?  Euthanasia? Gender confusion?  Fatherless homes? Cradle to grave dependency on the Nanny state?

Elections are now about identity.  

The Democrat Party’s largest identified religious group is those who do not identify themselves as religious.  They number 28 percent of the Party of the Left.

In contrast, those who claim religious affiliation in the Republican Party – 86 percent.

This gross distinction might explain why Hillary is so easily accepted by the D’s, and why the D’s have little difficulty with the Clinton’s perpetually troubled behavior, their trust issues.

Be that as it may, it sure gives pause to those who find their identity in politics, in dialogue with others and the culture at-large.

Shalom.

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