Secularism

River

New member
What is secularism?

Why does it matter?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
It would seem that the current government of the United States is moving away from secularism. :mad:
 

River

New member
It would seem that the current government of the United States is moving away from secularism. :mad:

It is difficult for a nation to remain secular when so many people are deeply religious, in more or less the same sort of way (having more-or-less the same religion). Especially when that religion claims to have the one and only "truth" about all important matters.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Yeah, I guess we do have that problem ...
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
Secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institution and religious dignitaries.

One manifestation of secularism is asserting the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, or, in a state declared to be neutral on matters of belief, from the imposition by government of religion or religious practices upon its people.

Another manifestation of secularism is the view that public activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be uninfluenced by religious beliefs or practices.
Why it's important: as Brandeis pointed up in "The Right to Privacy" (1890), the greatest right is "the right to be let alone" -- in this instance, to not be discriminated against for not fitting readily into some sort of community standard.
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I remain unconvinced that so much of the population is "deeply religious" as is so often claimed.

Consider polls about voting. The national Census found that an overwhelming majority of citizens would agree with the statement "I voted in the last election"... but a significant chunk of those couldn't answer the follow-up question, "Where is your polling station?" Clearly, they hadn't voted at all in recent years. Fully 1/3 of elegible voters haven't turned out for Presidential elections since 1900; in recent years it's more like 40%-50%, yet the majority will swear (vehemently) they voted, because that's the expected behavior.

In like manner, I suspect that many citizens might have their predispositions -- a nice word for prejudices -- but do not attend religious services regularly (if at all).

Plenty of people claim to be Christian, yet it's not as though there is some Bureau Of Standards that determines whether they act upon some standard codified set of beliefs. (Most Rightist hate-groups claim (with impunity) to be Christian.)

This claim can readily be made even if they have never belonged to a church, or cannot quote a single passage from their supposed Holy Book.

Per Wikipedia,
A 2013 survey reported that 31% of Americans attend religious services at least weekly.

In 2006, an online Harris Poll found that 26% of those surveyed attended religious services "every week or more often"

In a 2009 Gallup International survey, 41.6% of American citizens said that they attended a church, synagogue, or mosque once a week or almost every week.
In NONE of such examples were followup questions presented, such as "which church do you attend?" much less any attempt made to verify that they did indeed make such an onerous pilgrimage. I feel it's reasonable to guess there's a significant degree of fudging, & that "almost weekly" is more like "every month or maybe three."

Per "the American Values Atlas published by the Public Religion Research Institute (2017)," 24% are self-described "unaffiliated" (by comparison, Catholics make up 20%). A 2014 Pew Research Center poll found similar numbers, with most Unaffiliateds (15.8%) being "nothing in particular."
 

River

New member
I've learned to give a wide berth to some folks, to leave them entirely alone. :):p
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Our current administration is merely marketing itself as moving away from secularism. Think about it. Who is easier to manipulate, those who believe in something or those who don't?
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
Okay, that makes more sense to me now.
_______________

On the one hand, I've met plenty of "atheists" & "skeptics" over the years who were True Believers shopping for a cause, & turned into fullblown fanatics when they came to roost. So I'd have to say that a "non-believer" is not automatically immune from flights of illogic, merely lacking in convenient excuses.
________________

It's true enough that people with a worldview significantly dependent upon "faith" are vulnerable to being manipulated by others, so long as that belief system is activated & turned to other purposes. One definition of faith is "belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence."

Someone once said, "I don't have 'faith' in anything I can't eat, f@ck, or put in the bank!" :eek: Though I was shocked, I soon realized that this is kinda MY way of facing the world; as Mom told me, "Trust... but verify!" (& "Always forgive -- never forget." ;))

Having "faith" leaves one open to behaving as-if-true with stuff that CANNOT be proven, demonstrated, or verified. Logical absurdity, really; I mean, I'm more altruistic than most, but when I donate to the Animal Shelter, I at least know that the shelter exists even though I don't verify what's actually done with the cash & supplies I drop off.

So, present Believers with another absurdity that has a few commonalities with their belief system, & a "resonant" connection might draw them in closer. Since they're ALREADY in the habit of hypnotizing themselves into "belief," it's like watching a hypnotist take advantage of a suggestion previously implanted by someone else.

The big bonus is that since they're already accustomed to "believe two impossible things before breakfast," those initial connections don't really need to have ANY reality, the "believers" are open to accepting memes that a fully rational person would reject outright -- for instance, that mass shootings (schools, clubs, churches) are all staged performances by professional "crisis actors" hired by the Liberals just to make the NRA look bad & take away the free access to firearms that was granted the United States in the Old Testament. (No, I'm not making the first part up -- go to Snopes.com or FactCheck.org & search crisis actors.) (Though I wouldn't be surprised to hear some Righty claim the latter.)
 

MADadventures

New member
Might being agnostic be considered being open to the possibility of something beyond our scope of understanding but not being bound to it's will, whereas secularism leaves the individual to acknowledge there are things that cannot or need not be answered by a book and their outcome is determined by their own will?
 
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vinsanity0

Active member
Might being agnostic be considered being open to the possibility of something beyond our scope of understanding but not being bound to it's will, whereas secularism leaves the individual to acknowledge there are things that cannot or need not be answered by a book and their outcome is determined by their own will?

Agnosticism is the belief that if there is a God we would not be able to understand it. Therefore, even if we were bound to it's will we wouldn't know it.

Secularism is a political belief. It doesn't matter what anyone believes as long as religious beliefs stay out of government.
 
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