Re: Introduction - a discussion
A point that Jacoby attempts to point out in the Intro is that 'secular' does not conflate with non-religious, although I feel many people today think of the word in this way. Just as the words 'liberal', 'conservative', 'intellectual' and 'elitist' have become dirty words, there is an attempt to relegate 'secular' to the trash can. This is silly. Secularists encompass "many types of freethinkers" that "shared...a rationalist approach to fundamental questions of earthly existence".
Why is it such a complicated idea to understand that we should solve our earthly concerns by using our brains and our natural resources, rather than cowering in prayer and hoping for some supernatural salvation? Even if you buy the whole deity thing, and this deity is of the sort that has created us from nothing and wants us to love her, why would that deity want us to not think and become the best we can be? Any parents out there? I ask you: Would you rather have to lead your children by the nose throughout their whole lives, or teach them to be self-sufficient? Would you not want them to excell and grow into responsible adults, without having to consult you for every little problem? Do you want your children living in fear of you all their lives, worrying that you will punish them for any action that does not conform to your ideas and wishes? Would a dependent child, to the extent I present, have any viable fundtion to our society? Would they be able to survive upon your death?
This is what religion is to me, a lifelong dependency on help and assistance from a parental figure, which prohibits real growth on any real level.
But I do respect others and live and let live. If only the same could be said for those in this world who are now attempting to insinuate their own PERSONAL beliefs into our laws and society at large. I do not want your crap in my life, keep it to yourself. Contrary to the quote that Jacoby includes from Stephen L. Carter's book, "The Culture of Disbelief", I do not see any reality in that the secular position is trying to do away with religion or faith. We just simply feel that religions and faith should remain private and that it has no place in the laws of our land. There is too much diversity among those of faith, and since the proselytization of the world into one fold is impossible, there is no faith that can be a good guide for the population at large.
But this does NOT mean that a secular society is intrisically immoral, as those of faith would have many believe. There are those that love to paint secularists as 'value-free', this is simply not the case. We are just as, if not MORE, moral and value-full, than any person of faith, taken on the whole. This means simply that it is within our species to BE moral. Religion is just an early, imperfect form of developing our morality. Again, taken on the whole, have religious institutions really set themselves apart from those who do not follow a religion?
The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"
I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper