I wish to associate myself with these comments from the Cake and Cosmology thread, made by a Muslim reader who writes under the nom de blog “Jones”:
Rod, I appreciate your courage and your patience in publicly making this case. I’m glad someone is doing it. I admit that I can’t do it myself. It’s been a big change in my life and personality.
At some point not long after graduating from college, I started veering in a “conservative” direction, and found myself having a lot of unacceptable thoughts. It’s taken me some time to size up the environment, but substantive free speech is a mirage for most of us.
I gave up the hope of having a coherent worldview or ideology that I could argue about with other people. Slowly, I accepted that it didn’t matter that much what other people thought of my beliefs. What matters is that they are right, and that they guide me rightly through the world.
When it comes to these differences that are, as you say, “cosmological,” I no longer really believe that there is any convincing people. There is not really even the possibility of a rational conversation. No one ever learns by arguing. No one ever learns from an alternative point of view, unless they are already ready. Unless the truth is already somehow resonating within them.
Honestly, I put my faith in this: the future is decided by those who show up. It remains the case that stable two-parent families with a mother and a father remain the best environment for raising children who will go on to be successful. No amount of legal shenanigans will ever change that. Let people try what they want; let them see, and feel, the consequences for themselves.
Just protect yourself—you and those whom you love.
You rarely talk (in detail) about the sexual chaos and disorder that obtains in the culture at large, but that is having serious effects, though they go under-appreciated. These are not linear trends; they will result in crisis points. Age at first marriage and overall rates of marriage are plummeting. People will eventually see the consequences, and they will react. Of course, things will be lost in the process, and huge amounts of human suffering might be incurred on the way—but that’s history.
Oh, and the country might never be the same again, certainly as far as its demographic makeup. But maybe that’s not such a big deal. Maybe, as you say when you talk about the Benedict Option, at some point your commitment to the state itself has to take a backseat to other things. You don’t become a bad person because you don’t love the state. Does every Indonesian have to love the Indonesian state?
I would add this: in a liberal state, the social structure cannot be the same as the legal structure. Of course we are seeing, maybe for the first time, a more invasive, far-reaching, interpretation of political liberalism that demands total commitment from citizens in terms of their values, mores, cultural habits.
There is basically no point in making the moral case to anyone who doesn’t already believe in it. The legal case, on the other hand, cannot depend on anyone’s actually sharing your religious beliefs. I think it’s more important than ever to insist on separating the two, though they keep being conflated. The only relevant norm here is reciprocity. What is most important to you? Well, how about if I treated you this way? Forced you to do this against your will? Reciprocity is how people—and peoples—who lack a common faith, culture, and worldview must interact. It’s simply a balance of power. Nothing more.
Invite us to your Eid party. We’ll come. I want my kids to play with your kids.