Monday, November 17, 2008

Radical Secularism is a Destructive New Religion

I came across this interview with Herbert London, President of the Hudson Institute, that complements the assertions I made in my "Appeal to Intellectually Honest Atheists and Secularists" video:

I'm very careful in trying to assert that it's not secularism itself, since secularism has been a very important anti-toxin against the extremes of religion. I'm talking about a kind of radical secularism - a radical secularism that believes in transnational progressivism, moral relativism, multiculturalism, a loss of confidence in the United States, "scientism" as opposed to science. There are a set of values that have come together and coalesced into what I would describe as a new religion.

Notice he is not by any means advocating a return to fundamentalist religion, but a rejection of the new fundamentalism which is a narrow, exclusive and myopic secularism.

Watch it!

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Nick M said...

I think you're slightly off-beam. Tranzi progressivism is not secularism anymore than burning "witches" at the stake is Christianity.

I think you play into the hands of the Dawkinistas by conflating secularism with rampant leftism.

And yes, I do believe in radical secualrism. I believe in the absolute seperation of Church and State. I think it's best for both and the only realistic way for the rest of us because the alternative is horrible beyond comprehension.

Abraham said...

I agree with you. If "radical secularism" means "absolute separation of church and state" then I am a radical secular as well.

What I'm warning against here is conflating the personal religious expressions of Americans and other Westerners (which "Dawkinistas" find intolerable) with bonifide religious GOVERNANCE in the Islamic world.

Unfortunately I've found most radical atheists to be leftists, except for a significant minority who are libertarian or objectivist types. If I generalize about them it is only in response to gross generalizations such as "all religions and all manifestations thereof are evil" that are common in "atheist" opinion.

Buraq Osama said...

The last time I spoke to an atheist, he literally tried to "convert" me at school. They had meetings...on Sundays.

I never received so much pressure from Mormons, Baptists, or Jehovah's Witnesses.

They claim to be "agnostic" which means they accept the religious beliefs of others, but within five minutes of a conversation with them it's quite clear they think you are a delusional idiot if you believe in God.

I feel there is no place in public school for church led prayer. We can all find a quiet place and free time to pray if we wish.

But the whole notion of "separation of church and state" is nonsense. The establishment clause of the first amendment is quite specific and quite clear. It is conflation to read the text as anything other than preventing an official "Church of America".

Having attended both Catholic school and public school, I found no particular religious indoctrination in the former. The priests were actually quite liberal.

The public schools in San Francisco are so bad that private school teachers send their kids to Catholic schools. I think it's very appropriate to rebate tax dollars to parents who wish to send their children to the private school of their choice or home school them. That is freedom of choice, not government support of religion. To believe the latter is to fall into the trap that tax dollars belong to government by default. School vouchers are a partial refund of OUR money that is not being used for public education.

There is no logical reason to exclude bible study groups from public school. The ACLU has a club there. Both activities are meaningful learning experiences done on school grounds but outside of school hours. Students can invite chums to church just as freely as anyone can invite a friend to smoke pot.

There is no reason the ACLU shouldn't defend the right of a high school valedictorian to praise Jesus for her success any less than they should defend her for thanking Malcolm X or Che Gevara.

The "separation" argument treads dangerously on the "Free exercise" clause. I recognize the deadly confluence of religion and state in islamic countries, but it isn't like that here and never will be.

Perhaps if I lived in the bible belt I would feel otherwise as those around me tried to proselytize me. My experience is limited. I would agree many forms of funding religion with public funds is wrong. But homeless shelters? Mangers on public property? Come on! Nativity scenes aren't Sharia law. We spend public funds on many displays of social diversity, why not the religion of more than 75% of Americans?

One person I read put it very well. He said that it is no less appropriate to study the philosophy of a 1st century Jewish carpenter than a 19th century Jewish economist.

There is absolutely nothing "horribly beyond comprehension" about having religion as ONE aspect of our culture. It is part of our social diversity.

I find myself in doubt of God and/or religion many times, but I do find comfort in prayer and fellowship in my church.