Has the concept of secularism been perverted?

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limetang
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If I ever read the word secularism in a newspaper, or hear it spoken on the news, or hear it spoken about by friends and acquaintances I almost always find that it is being used to describe something that is not secularism. I find more often than not it is being used to describe something pertaining to atheism.

Now there is nothing wrong in my opinion with atheist proselytism (for lack of a better word), but some form of atheistic advocacy movement is not secularist movement, it is an atheistic advocacy movement.

Secularism is in simplified terms advocacy for the separation of church and state. Which if you asked most people they'd say they were completely for, because it it affords protection to those who do share my beliefs as well as to those who don't. It's fair. But many of these people would not tell you that they were secularists. And this is purely because the word has been distorted. In modern minds it no longer means separation of church and state, it means atheist advocacy.

And so called secularist societies aren't helping either:

The secular coalition for america says :
"The Secular Coalition for America represents the viewpoints of nontheistic Americans"
http://secular.org/constituency

Secular women says:
"The mission of Secular Woman is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women"
http://www.secularwoman.org/about

The secular student alliance "is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit. We work to organize and empower nonreligious students around the country. Our primary goal is to foster successful grassroots campus groups which provide a welcoming community for secular students to discuss their views and promote their secular values."
http://www.secularstudents.org/about

The secular web " is owned and operated by Internet Infidels, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization dedicated to defending and promoting a naturalistic worldview on the Internet. Naturalism is the "hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system" in the sense that "nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it." As such, "naturalism implies that there are no supernatural entities," such as gods, angels, demons, ghosts, or other spirits, "or at least none that actually exercises its power to affect the natural world."[1] And without miraculous interventions into nature from a spiritual realm, neither prayer nor magick are more effective than a placebo."
http://infidels.org/infidels/

See a pattern? Secularist = Non-religious = Naturalistic = etc. etc.

Secularism is none of these things, and in my opinion the people perpetuating these myths about it are doing incredible damage to secularism. In my opinion the term has been incredibly distorted, and there has been an incredibly damaging result.

What are your thoughts?
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El Salvador
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Because people who are the most vocal secularists tend to be atheists; people who don't understand secularism tend to be religious.
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limetang
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
Because people who are the most vocal secularists tend to be atheists; people who don't understand secularism tend to be religious.
Except that here you have the most vocal of secularists telling you that in order to be secularist you must be non-religious.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by limetang)
Except that here you have the most vocal of secularists telling you that in order to be secularist you must be non-religious.
I think it would be indeed quite hard to be a secularist if you are religious.

Mind you, non-religious does not mean you do not follow an organised religion. Just not overly jealous over it.
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AdvanceAndVanquish
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The confusion arises because there are two ways in which the word secular is used. If a government or state is described as secular, then that means that religion has no role in the government or in the society's official institutions. However there can still be a preponderance of religious people in a secular state. On the other hand, if a person is described as secular, that means that the person lives a non-religious life.
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limetang
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
I think it would be indeed quite hard to be a secularist if you are religious.

Mind you, non-religious does not mean you do not follow an organised religion. Just not overly jealous over it.
Not at all. Americans United For the Seperation of Church and State is one of the largest secular advocacy groups in america, and it's executive director is an ordained minister.

https://www.au.org/

I am not 'non-religious', but I am a secularist. There is absolutely nothing incompatible between the two. One is a political ideology, and the other is a metaphysical statement about the nature of God.

Also: "Mind you, non-religious does not mean you do not follow an organised religion. Just not overly jealous over it" seriously? you expect me to buy that?
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El Salvador
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(Original post by limetang)
Not at all. Americans United For the Seperation of Church and State is one of the largest secular advocacy groups in america, and it's executive director is an ordained minister.

https://www.au.org/

I am not 'non-religious', but I am a secularist. There is absolutely nothing incompatible between the two. One is a political ideology, and the other is a metaphysical statement about the nature of God.

Also: "Mind you, non-religious does not mean you do not follow an organised religion. Just not overly jealous over it" seriously? you expect me to buy that?
If you are actually religious, you believe you hold the truth and have the responsibility to tell the world the truth. If they don't believe the truth and/or don't live the way your god wants them to live, they'd go to hell which is something you don't want to see. Secularism works against that.

You will need to at least be not religious enough to not feel that way.

Many non-religious people have an affiliation and go to church weekly.
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limetang
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
If you are actually religious, you believe you hold the truth and have the responsibility to tell the world the truth. If they don't believe the truth and/or don't live the way your god wants them to live, they'd go to hell which is something you don't want to see. Secularism works against that.

You will need to at least be not religious enough to not feel that way.

Many non-religious people have an affiliation and go to church weekly.
Except that there's nothing incompatible with the idea of religious proselytising and secularism. Secularism simply says that the church and the state should be separate it says absolutely nothing on the issue of me (for example) trying to evangelise. Granted, it does say I can't use the state to proselytise, but I hardly see that as an effective approach anyway.

And I can't speak for all religions, but at least for christianity anyway the central point is that while God's grace is a free gift, it must be accepted voluntarily. Use of the state to force people to believe what I do doesn't seem that voluntary.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by limetang)
Except that there's nothing incompatible with the idea of religious proselytising and secularism. Secularism simply says that the church and the state should be separate it says absolutely nothing on the issue of me (for example) trying to evangelise. Granted, it does say I can't use the state to proselytise, but I hardly see that as an effective approach anyway.

And I can't speak for all religions, but at least for christianity anyway the central point is that while God's grace is a free gift, it must be accepted voluntarily. Use of the state to force people to believe what I do doesn't seem that voluntary.
Well most people who hold any view at all don't see it that way. If you are fairly reasonable than yes, but most people aren't.
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limetang
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(Original post by clh_hilary)
Well most people who hold any view at all don't see it that way. If you are fairly reasonable than yes, but most people aren't.
Perhaps. But that still doesn't stop the fact that the term is being misused. To refer to secularism as being synonymous with non religious is factually incorrect.

I'd also dispute the idea that most people arent reasonable. Now I can only comment on Christianity and other Christians but my experience has been that push comes to shove most would agree with the idea of separation of church and state.

That said living where I do most of the Christians are very well educated so may not provide a completely fair sample of the whole.
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Mackay
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I don't consider myself religious but I hate atheists who think they are some science whizz and turn their nose up at people's faith.
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User995789
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Many atheists that go out and try to convert religious people to atheism are just as bad as the religious people doing the same.
Screw secularism, leave it as it is now in the UK, ie tolerant!
People can live with religion and without it, stop making such an issue for it.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by limetang)
Perhaps. But that still doesn't stop the fact that the term is being misused. To refer to secularism as being synonymous with non religious is factually incorrect.

I'd also dispute the idea that most people arent reasonable. Now I can only comment on Christianity and other Christians but my experience has been that push comes to shove most would agree with the idea of separation of church and state.

That said living where I do most of the Christians are very well educated so may not provide a completely fair sample of the whole.
I'm just trying to explain because associations are formed that way.
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