March 1, 2016

Immanuel Kant: The Forefather of the Dictatorship of Relativism

Immanuel Kant
The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, is considered the central figure of modern philosophy. Much like Descartes, Kant, was a pious man whose intentions seemed noble. The primary aim of his philosophical efforts was to restore human dignity to its rightful place in a world that increasingly worshipped science. Kant described his philosophy as "clearing away the pretensions of reason to make room for faith". His most important work, The Critique of Pure Reason, was dry, impenetrable and immensely influential in its assertion that reason is the source of morality (not God). In his Critique, Kant states:
The conviction [of faith] is not a logical but a moral certainty; and because it rests on subjective bases (of the moral attitude), I must not even say, It is morally certain that there is a God, etc., but I must say, I am morally certain, etc.
Kant’s philosophy allows individuals to choose their own visions for morality, since moral truth (according to Kant) cannot be arrived at using theoretical reason. Each individual’s conscience acts as a personal "lawmaker" for subjective morality. Kant’s assertion destroyed Aquinas’ medieval synthesis of faith and reason. It also directly contradicted the Church’s understanding that moral norms are discovered in objective truth as found in the natural law, not the creations of an individual’s conscience. More than any other thinker, Kant is responsible for making morality a matter of subjective opinion not objective truth found.

Moreover, the modern-day notion that faith and reason are contradictory not complementary is largely owed to Kant who believed it was impossible for religion to be the subject of reason, evidence, argument, or even knowledge. Rather, religion was a question of feelings, motives and attitudes. The consequences of this shift have been catastrophic. Catholic apologist. Peter Kreeft, notes:
[Kant’s] assumption has deeply influenced the minds of most religious educators (e.g., catechism writers and theology departments) today, who have turned their attention away from the plain "bare bones" of faith, the objective facts narrated in Scripture and summarized in the Apostles' Creed. They have divorced the faith from reason and married it to pop psychology, because they've bought into Kant's philosophy.
Kant’s philosophy has shaped contemporary society in numerous ways. The mindset that all religions are essentially the same and the idea that religion does not concern facts and objective truth are byproducts of Kantian thought. Any assertion that your faith is true — objectively true, true for everyone — is seen as arrogance. Increasing attacks on Christianity and expressions of Christian belief are symptomatic afflictions of the "Dictatorship of Relativism" for which Kant laid the groundwork. The moral vacuousness so rampant on university campuses and in society in general, also of Kantian design, has caused many to loose faith. May the true nature of man, and the moral law which governs him, be made known.

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