BenK: I really want to know:
Feb 18 2005 8:13AM
What your response is/would be to my earlier [fray.slate.msn.com] post replying to you.
In your post I'm replying to here, you say:
"Secularism does not, I agree, have much in the way of ritual. Many religions have very little ritual, in fact. And as for God, the conceptions of God/Gods/higher powers/immanent deities... there are so many views as to be almost impossible to recount. Secularists don't necessarily hold to one or another view - they simply assert that these views are all fine and totally irrelevant."
Some secularists may assert this, fine, granted. Some Christians profess there is no Jesus and some Jews profess Jesus is the Messiah: these are not mainstream, or, arguably, logical views of their own religions. Secularists who assert the moral relativism of all religions and also their irrelevance do not follow what I consider to secularism proper, as described in my post. Religion is NOT irrelevant, and they are all fine in that I won't presume to choose one or ascribe rightness to any of them in particular in the abstract. In their practices, well, see little below.
"God can be anything as long as he/she/it/them doesn't demand any action of any group of people."
Poppycock. This is simply a denial of religion, that is, a denial of the idea or validity of divine revelation. Some secularists may do this -- as can people of any persuasion -- but this is not the key to secularism. I believe God may have demanded things of various people, and for them to live by these demands is fine. On no grounds of faith, only personal preference, I would like a world in which the most people can have the highest quality of life. Different religions and philosophies describe these differently -- and here is where we must negotiate with one another. My morality is based on this idea simply for expediency -- along with minority rights even in majority rule -- I don't claim I'm right, that it applies to other people, or that I have unmoveable undoubtable source for this. But given some of the more secular parts of our Constitution, it is clearly a valid interpretation under modern democratic understanding that society should be based on providing well-being for as many people as possible as fairly as is possible. I'm willing to argue all of this -- who is this dogmatic? I want health and happiness for all people, and this is the goal I think society and government should have, and I think it can be done with a government professing no alliance with religion but saying rather that, just like it can't tell you with whom you can associate outside of school, what job you have to take in the economy, how you should fashion your hair, who should be your model in life, or what lies beyond the universe, it can't and shouldn't tell you which, if any, religion is right, or more right.
>But there are many religions that allow some diversity in 'non->critical' beliefs. Secularism is unique, I think, in that the belief in >God is one of those non-critical beliefs.
I believe it is critical to many people. But not professing any religion, I can't dictate to others which form of belief in God, if any, is critical. Government shouldn't either, implicitly or explicitly.
>There are, however, plenty of dogmas and lots of prosetylization, >contrary to some assertions you have made. These dogmas include >beliefs about good and evil, beliefs about the nature and >inalienable rights of man (such as self-determination, free speech, >etc), etc.These are spread quite vocally, advanced quite fervently, >and enforced fiercely. All sorts of apologetics are created on their >behalf"
Hmm... I think you're talking about natural law people, and really annoying secularists. I don't believe in absolute good or evil -- based, as in my other post I wish you'd respond to -- on the fact that science has nothing useful to say on it and I personally don't view it as a concept that has been ultimately useful or productive in the extreme version.
I don't believe in "inalienable rights" -- I believe this is beautiful prose meaning that there are certain rights so basic to providing human well being (baseable on observable/scientific precedents) that if we wish to provide well being, certain rights, from experience, are an irreplaceable bedrock.
Natural law advocates and some libertarians believe in the literalness of these... I do not.
And I don't think I'm the only secularist who espouses these views [fray.slate.msn.com]. So are we not secularist? Do you have other arguments to direct towards this different "sect" of secularism? Or what? Because the arguments you give don't seem to hold water for my "faith."
*anybody want a peanut?