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Back in the Saddle Again

In Christianity & Atheism on July 30, 2010 by thesignalinthenoise Tagged:

After five states, four flights, a cruise (of sorts) to christen some friends’ new sailboat, some vacation, some lobbying, some fun, some family, a funeral and a long time being a long way from home, I’m back.  I have a lot of catching up to do, but wanted to comment quickly on this to re-open for business (from here):

“And as for the idea of the secular. Why can people not understand that the secular is not anti-religious? It is indifferent to religion or irreligion. It is the space in which religious and non-religious can gather to settle their problems and learn about the world without interfering biases from idiosyncrasies of belief.”

The secular needn’t be anti-religious, I agree.  Indeed, I want a secular government even though I don’t want a “naked” public square and have no axe to grind with the secular in general.  However, when so many of the leaders of what passes for secularism in this country are so loudly and clearly anti-religious and insistent upon the silly idea that religion and science are somehow “incompatible” and that much of what we hold dear “poisons everything” and ought to be eradicated, should we really be surprised by the confusion?  Moreover, is it reasonable to expect people routinely accused of being irrational, delusional and stupid to gather sweetly with their accusers to “settle their problems and learn about the world”?

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2 Responses to “Back in the Saddle Again”

  1. Welcome back.

    Unfortunately secular is a word that is being misused. Really it only means a government that is not theocratic. Government is by, with and from the people and so are the laws.

    Not religious is what people mean when they say secular. A devout evangelical is secular if they accept a government that is run outside of religious doctrine, but by secular governing mechanisms.

    “Secularism” is what we have in many democratic societies today. The USA is secular.

    So in that light when you write:

    “However, when so many of the leaders of what passes for secularism in this country are so loudly and clearly anti-religious and insistent upon the silly idea that religion and science are somehow “incompatible” and that much of what we hold dear “poisons everything” and ought to be eradicated, should we really be surprised by the confusion?”

    It makes no sense. Reagan, Lincoln and Washington were all leaders of secularism.

    But here is the real issue. Do you want this to be a ideologically monolithic nation or a pluralistic one. And more importantly do you want people like me to be welcome in fair discourse in the public arena or not.

    That is the real quesiton. And I will give you how I really feel. I am not welcome in the public arena. What I want gets mischaracterized and smeared. It is OK to present non-religious people as horrible and immoral when we are not. It is OK to want that we have no voice in the public sphere.

    That is the real problem. There are no equal playing grounds at all. In fact the current pledge of allegiance already excludes me. Should I move to another country? Or can I be here and be E pluribus Umum? Is this a christian nation or a nation for all who want to participate in a secular country where deeply religious of many denominations (not just Christian!) and those who don’t believe at all are all welcome? What about asking if you are a good person, not if you have the right label (“christian”).

    I will claim the following: I am much more “christian” than many christians I meet. I like the moral philosophy of Jesus. I treat people kindly. But I get stigmatized not for being good, but for being “anti-religious”.

    Is that what you want? Or do you want something where I am human too?

    But let’s get back to delusion.

    William Craig Lane said that islam is false preaching. Should Muslims be offended. Ann Coulter tells jews that they need to be perfected. Should jews be offended. My moderate Muslim friends say that Christianity is the faith of the misguided. Should Christians be offended?

    But we forget all this and instead think that atheists are horrible. That’s the one offense we cannot forgive.

    See the point is that you are bound to offend if you have a different world view and say it clearly. Atheists do think that religion isn’t real hence a kind of delusion. That is not meant to offend any more than to say that Jesus is God or that Muhammad was the last prophet or that Buddha told us the right way.

    That is not accusation, it’s not insult. It is different world views.

    But one group gets vilified the most. I’m sure you understand which one it is.

  2. “However, when so many of the leaders of what passes for secularism in this country are so loudly and clearly anti-religious and insistent upon the silly idea that religion and science are somehow “incompatible” and that much of what we hold dear “poisons everything” and ought to be eradicated, should we really be surprised by the confusion?”

    Yes we should be surprised at the confusion, because (as you surely know) the antecedent is a minority opinion.

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