jump to last post 1-8 of 8 discussions (36 posts)

Secularism--A counterintuitive belief system

  1. A.Villarasa profile image76
    A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago

    Secularism, in tandem with other belief systems i.e. atheism/agnosticism, objectivism, reductionism,  aim to , ultimately eliminate religion/sprituality/, mysticism/transcendentalism and , metaphysics from  human affairs, and replace it with the purely materialist view of  reality, and rationality.
    IF, they succeed in throwing religion and all the other concepts that runs along with it, into the dustbin of history, will Secularism also die out? The simple reason being,  Secularism as a concept, has no existence without its opposite (i.e. religion)
    One can not secure empirically an idea of what a secular realm would look like, because it, by definition is always and only relative to the continuing existence of religion. There is no objective, empirical, stable "secularism". When religion, the necessary opposite does not exist, then secularism also does not exist.

    1. qwark profile image60
      qwarkposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Villarasa.
      I'm not an atheist, agnostic, deist or a believer in mythical supernatural divinities.
      The word "sect" has differing connotations i.e.
      1. A group of people forming a distinct unit within a larger group by virtue of certain refinements or distinctions of belief or practice.
      2. A religious body, especially one that has separated from a larger denomination.
      3. A faction united by common interests or beliefs.
      I'm sure you are referring to #2.
      If I'm right, being naught but a pragmatic realist, I would desire a "purely materialist view of  reality, and rationality."
      What, basically, is the point of your comment?
      Is it: "There is no objective, empirical, stable "secularism". When religion, the necessary opposite does not exist, then secularism also does not exist.?"
      If thats all there is to consider, then, of course you are right.
      So?...Where do we go from there?
      Qwark

      I'm heading for the gym. I'll read your response later......:-)

      1. A.Villarasa profile image76
        A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Hello Qwark:

        Your reading of my post is correct. I am certainly not going to detach you from your materialistic views of reality/rational. My personal belief is that the material ( the natutal objects  on earth whether animateor inanimate)has a spiritual side to it.(them). Man could sublimate the material to the spiritual, and that  is what separates us from the rest of creation. If in some hubber's perception  the spiritual is a product of a deluded human mind, then I 'd be more than happy to be labeled delusional.

    2. Beelzedad profile image57
      Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Funny how you start out these threads with fallacies and fabrications, expecting there to be some rational discourse to follow.



      That's like saying if black did not exist, then white would not exist. smile

      1. A.Villarasa profile image76
        A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Beelzedad:

        Thanks for dropping by... you Know I'm a provocateur. So please post  your usual succinct,  ear-shattering comments, be cause  when it comes to you I am all ears.

        1. Beelzedad profile image57
          Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          So, you only start threads with fallacies and fabrications in order to get a rise out of others?  What's the point?

          1. A.Villarasa profile image76
            A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            I don't post based on what I truly believe are fallacious. To you they are but to me they are not.

            1. Beelzedad profile image57
              Beelzedadposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Yes, I see that, but it isn't anything that a good dose of reality, logic and understanding wouldn't cure. Some here are even offering that in response, but it does not appear to be having any effect, whatsoever.

              Even by their very own definitions, the assertions made based on them are non-starters. A dictionary would be a good starting point. smile

    3. earnestshub profile image88
      earnestshubposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I see the same religious agenda as in your previous post doc, you need to go wide, this is simply dogma.

      I don't believe in the tooth fairy.
      That does not make me anything other than able to separate fantasy from reality and has nothing to do with any ism.
      Not believing in religion needs no agenda or outcome.

  2. Haunty profile image82
    Hauntyposted 6 years ago

    Sometimes when a concept wears out its original meaning people who use it to stay in power will give it another meaning to remain in power or to broaden the scope of their power.

    It may be that secularism today means that human affairs, and affairs of state in particular, should be decided based on rationality alone and free from religious influences, but this needs not be so for ever.

    Once religion is gone (never) rationalism might have to find another enemy and that may be sentiment. The same people who used it to eradicate religion will use it to usher in a hateful reign similar to what we saw in the movie "Equilibrium," whereby feelings and emotions are forbidden.

    1. A.Villarasa profile image76
      A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Hello Haunty:

      Thanks for sharing your spiritualist  inclination. I share it totally and wholeheartedly.

  3. Shadesbreath profile image86
    Shadesbreathposted 6 years ago

    Secularism is not out to "ultimately eliminate religion/spirituality/mysticism...etc."  So, you can relax.  Whoever told you that is a moron and somehow duped you into believing that crap.  So relax.

    Secularism (as if there is just ONE singular version of it) is by and large the belief that religion (and all that other stuff you mentioned to greater or lesser degrees) should not be included in the administration of governmental affairs.

    The purpose is not to "eliminate" religion, just to keep it apart from mechanisms of regulating and maintaining order in civil society.  Secularism acknowledges the existence of religions, but does not prefer one of them over any of the others. In doing this, the tenets and dogma of one religion are not foisted on everyone else in the society--the sort of thing that creates enmity, strife and, often violence.

    Any given religion has lots of upsides for its followers.  But when lots of religions come together, you end up with a whole bunch of people all claiming to have the CERTAINTY OF GOD behind their opinions, which doesn't leave room for compromise. If I know I am right because GOD has told me I am, why in the hell would I compromise on something you want when all you have to support your arguments are the teachings of some false god (as I would see it), or worse, some crackpot idea based on no god at all?  See how that works?  So, secularism is the mechanism by which all these assorted religions can live together.  Believe what you want in your own home, life, church/temple/synagogue, but leave the supernatural stuff at the door when it comes to running civil affairs.  I don't want your god telling me how to live my life any more than you want my god telling you how to live yours.

    That's what secularism really is about: preventing religious based misery and death.  So, don't worry, nobody is out to get you and kill your religion.

    1. Haunty profile image82
      Hauntyposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      He didn't say eliminate religion etc. altogether. He said, "ultimately eliminate religion/sprituality/, mysticism/transcendentalism and , metaphysics FROM HUMAN AFFAIRS, and replace it with the purely materialist view of  reality, and rationality."





      Secularism is not restricted to the administration of gov affairs.

      1. Shadesbreath profile image86
        Shadesbreathposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Not sure I'm seeing the distinction you are trying to make: "eliminating religion" and "eliminating religion from human affairs" seem, for the purpose of this conversation, to be the same thing.  Human affairs are those things in which humans are active. Since humans are active in all things humans are active in, then anything that humans are active in is a human affair. So, since humans are the ones who are presumably "eliminating" religion, then it stands to reason that what they are eliminating it from is human affairs by default, therefore, my having stated what I said with the inclusion of the phrase "from human affairs" would be redundant, which is why I left it out. 



        You will note in the quote you cited from me the parenthetical "as if there is just ONE singular version," which was included to give evidence to my nod toward the existence of nuanced and perhaps even fringe definitions/uses of the term.  However, I was speaking of the most common and widely understood meaning of it as used in modern, mainstream discourse.  And, while Wikipedia is an awful source to cite from when seeking credibility, that particular snippet is as good a poke at defining the functional use of the term as any other.

        The bottom line, however, to the OP's point is that "secularism" is not trying to "eliminate" religion.

        1. A.Villarasa profile image76
          A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Shadesbreath: I don't think secularists even with the help of atheist, objectivists, reductionists, would and could eliminate religion in  its core as well as  in  all  its related formulations; what   I was specifically referring to was it(their) aim  to eliminate   religion's sway over man's purposelful interpretation of reality in the realm of the spiritual and transcendental. I probably should not have used the term "human affairs"  since it, as you   rightfully  asserted is too broad a term.

    2. A.Villarasa profile image76
      A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Shadesbreath:

      Your post  was an  excellent  digression, but missed my initial statement, and that is "secularism, IN TANDEM (not on its own) with other belief systems(atheism, objevtivism, reductionism) aim to ultimatel eliminate religion...."

      1. Shadesbreath profile image86
        Shadesbreathposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        You missed my point: Secularism doesn't AIM to do anything.  It is the belief that religion should be kept to itself when crafting laws and designing courses of thought and all that rot.  That is all. It does not have a purpose that is in any way inclined to seek the elimination of religion.  You might as well say Pop Tarts, in tandem with atheism, reductionism, etc.,  seek to eliminate religion.  Frankly, similar arguments could be made about reductionism and atheism too, as none of these belief systems are either as simple as your claim suggests or, more importantly, possess as belief systems inherent volition or agency.  But, I imagine that would be yet another digression, if that's what we're calling anything that undermines the linear march to your conclusion.

        1. A.Villarasa profile image76
          A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Shadesbreath:

          You are being too much of a semanticist when you stated the obvious i.e. reductionism, atheism as belief systems do not possess inherent volition or agency. But once these belief systems are taken up by humans ( who are volitional   and  acting as their agent)) ,  would you still see them with the same benignity?  The problem with any belief systems is, that once humans start acting well beyond the constraints of those belief systems,  the end results  tend to be   disastrous. History is replete wih instances when humans, acting on a particular belief ystem ( i.e. communism, nazism, fascism ) assumes or are given absolute power and are corrupted absolutely.   These  three belief systems wrought havoc on humankind  on the just concluded century. As a reminder to you and the rest of the non-believers  communism, nazism, and fascism were constructed on the basis  of a  non-belief in the divine, the celestial, the spiritual and the metaphysical.

          1. Shadesbreath profile image86
            Shadesbreathposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Yes, and the Crusades, the Inquisition, and numerous Jihads and Fatwas are made in the name of religion.  It's just about people.  Don't blame the name of the week, the "ism's."

            And as far as the semantics go, I'm just making you slow down enough to see what you have actually said.  I know you weren't really saying the word itself meant anything, but you were implying that the belief sets were somehow pointed at the elimination of religion, which they are not, not even atheism.  What you seem to have meant to say is that some people, some HUMANS seek to get rid of religion, and that is quite different.  SOME people want to be rid of religion and will make arguments using pieces of various ideas to support their logic, a few of which are the "ism's" you mentioned. (Think of what the Soviets and the Chinese did with "Communism."  You could say that Communism sought to destroy lives and undermine human dignity.  But that would not be accurate.  Communism didn't seek to do that at all.)

            None of those "ism's" you named is about "eliminating religion." It takes people to decide which parts of them they choose to ignore and which parts they choose to focus on and exaggerate (sort of like religious people ignore inconvenient parts of their holy books and favor the parts that support the behaviors and lifestyles they prefer). 

            There is no great cabal seeking to destroy religion.  There are people who are tired of the death and misery being done in the name of it who want to get rid of it.  Eventually, the elimination of religion will become its own religion and death and misery will be caused in the name of eliminating the death and misery caused by religion.

            It's about people.  Not "ism's."

            1. A.Villarasa profile image76
              A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Shadesbreath:

              Finally we are in total agreement that it is people (not the "isms") perverting their own belief systems and going beyond the constraints of those belief systems that have caused the majority of disasters that have befallen mankind.

              I agree that the crusades will remain the biggest stain on the face of Christianity, in the same way that the Jihad will be the biggest stain on Islam's face.

              Your last paragraph was I must admit, not digressionary but visionary.

  4. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago

    To be secular is to be not religious, so yes, with no religion it would become obsolete.  But it is hard to foresee that happening within hundreds or even thousands of years.

    However most people are not just secular (which defines what they are not) but also hold afformative beliefs that represent the thinsg they do beleive in, for example humanism based on a chore value of being kind and compassionate.

  5. secularist10 profile image86
    secularist10posted 6 years ago

    Secularism can have different meanings and applications, as was indicated above. It can refer to government/ legal structure, it can refer to a philosophical disposition, etc.

    A. Villarasa, you said:

    "When religion, the necessary opposite does not exist, then secularism also does not exist."

    Let's rephrase this, since the opposite of religion is secularism:

    "When secularism, the necessary opposite does not exist, then religion also does not exist."

    Make sense?

    1. Shadesbreath profile image86
      Shadesbreathposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      The conclusion is fine, it's just a non-sequitur.

      Here's the enthymeme he's presenting:

      Major premise:  Secularism as Materialism/empiricism is antithetical to religion/spiritualism

      Minor premise: Secularists are trying to impose Materialism on human affairs

      OP conclusion: If secularists impose materialism completely, religion vanishes and with it the need for secularism.

      This enthymeme is broken because the major premise is wrong.  Secularism is not antithetical to religion (at least not in mutually or even singularly dependent fashion); it merely seeks to keep the influence of religion out of human interactions between people of differing theological opinions.  A secularist either does not believe in religion or he/she does but recognizes the problems of imposing that religion on others.

      Here's a simpler example:  I don't believe in the tooth fairy.  You do.  I do believe in the dragon god, Smoke.  You don't.  You and I live in the same duplex and we are the homeowners association.  You want to make a rule that every time someone loses a tooth, everyone in the duplex must sacrifice a cat on the altar of the tooth fairy. I want to make a rule that says everyone must climb atop the roof at sunrise and praise the source of dragon fire every Sunday.

      I am not interested in sacrificing cats.  You are not interested in the sun ritual on Sundays. You and I are reasonable people and agree that in the future, we will approach our homeowners association rule-making in secular fashion.

      Neither religion has been eliminated.

      1. secularist10 profile image86
        secularist10posted 6 years ago in reply to this

        It's not clear that A. Villarasa was referring to political/ governmental secularism, which is what you are referring to. The title refers to it as a "belief system," not a "political order" or similar thing.

        I think it is true that philosophical or intellectual secularism is antithetical to religion and supernaturalism. But nevertheless it does not cease to exist when religion ceases to exist, anymore than religion did not exist for the thousands of years that philosophical secularism did not exist. That was my point.

    2. A.Villarasa profile image76
      A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Hey there Secularist10:

      That  religon existed without secularism is  a historical fact. I don't know if secularism without religion will also be a historical fact. Time will tell. But since secularism  currently  because of or in response to the existence of religion it follows that  if religion goes, so does secularism.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image76
        A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I meant to say : But since secularism currently EXIST, because of or in response to the existence of religion, it follows....."

        1. secularist10 profile image86
          secularist10posted 6 years ago in reply to this

          It does not follow that if religion goes, so does secularism.

          You have misdefined secularism. It originated in response to religion for historical reasons, but exists on its own merit, and will always exist on its own merit.

          Secularism says (among other things) "don't follow religion." This command works whether or not a single person on the earth follows religion. It stands as a warning against such thinking.

          As an analogy, communism arose historically in response to capitalism, and largely as a rejection of capitalism. But if the whole world turned communist and no one was left as a capitalist, would communism disappear? Of course not, because communism stands for certain things on its own merit. In fact, even "anti-capitalism" can exist as a belief system in the absence of actual capitalism being practiced by anyone.

          Democracy arose historically as a response to and rejection of dictatorship. If sometime in the future there is not a single dictatorial system left, will democracy disappear? Of course not, because democracy stands for certain things on its own merit.

          And even if democracy didn't stand for anything on its own merit, the eternal warning "don't become dictatorial" is entirely logically legitimate whether or not a single dictatorship exists in the world.

          1. A.Villarasa profile image76
            A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Secularist10:

            How can you be anti-something, when what   you are being anti  to does not exist?  As I stated before I don't think secularism on its own would stand the scrutiny  of the "purpose commission" because it has no objective, is not empirical, and therefore unstabe... like a one legged chair.

            Communism with all its attendant evil ( not only because it was anti-capitalist but  also because  it was anti-human, and anti-divine) has been relegated to the dustbin of history. Even the Maoist model of communism continues to be debunked by Mao's  followers... to the point that now, Chineses capitalism is poised to overtake the United States as the world's  largest economy.

            Secularism says: "do not follow religion"  or else?  Interesting ....you just proved my point   that belief systems even if benign during its inception could turn malignant depending upon the bent or direction it is given by its followers.

            1. secularist10 profile image86
              secularist10posted 6 years ago in reply to this

              "How can you be anti-something, when what   you are being anti  to does not exist?"

              By being against it in theory or in spirit. You live in a democracy called America. Does that mean you cannot be against American dictatorship, as a theoretical matter?

              "secularism... has no objective"

              Yes, it can. Its objective is to facilitate human knowledge and action. Wikipedia offers this definition of secularism, among others: "the view that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be based on evidence and fact unbiased by religious influence." That is a positive project, not a negative one--it is anti-religion, but more than being anti-religion, it is pro-activities and pro-decisions.

              You still have not clarified what exactly is the sense in which you are using "secularism," so I am just assuming you are referring to philosophical secularism, of which there are different strains.

              On communism, you changed the subject without addressing the point:

              "Communism... has been relegated to the dustbin of history."

              Firstly, that is not true (it still lives in Cuba and North Korea, for example). Secondly, that is irrelevant to the hypothetical example I gave.

              "Secularism says: "do not follow religion"  or else? ... belief systems even if benign during its inception could turn malignant depending upon the bent or direction it is given by its followers."

              Nice try. Classic straw man argument. YOU said "or else," I did not.

              Of course, everything turns malignant when it is in the hands of malignant people. This is irrelevant to the substantive claims of secularism.

              1. A.Villarasa profile image76
                A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                Secularists!0:

                Theoretically you MIGHT be right; but on  a practical  level  your  argument does not ring true.

                I agree that communism lives... on a practical level, as you indicated in Cuba and North Korea, but  perceptually, the brand of communism being practiced at these two sites is  not anywhere near the robust belief systems it used to be practiced in the old Soviet Union and  Mao's China. So by all intents and purposes, communism was in fact thrown into the dustbin of history as a practicable belief system.

                I agree  for the most part that religion should not be a consideration when making decisions  in realms that are utterly material, specially politics. But then again Jesus Christ  had teachings  that he did not relegate to the purely spiritual. The Sermon on the Mount, if I may be so bold to suggest is an example of his teachings that contained both material (political) and spiritual derivation and meaning.... notwithstanding his statement: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's."  or something to that effect.

                ..."do not follow religion".... or else?  I am not implying that secularist s would in fact  go the "threats" route in implementing their belief systems... so  I ended the sentence with a  question mark and not an exclamation point.

                1. secularist10 profile image86
                  secularist10posted 6 years ago in reply to this

                  "Theoretically you MIGHT be right; but on  a practical  level  your  argument does not ring true."

                  This is hardly a rigorous challenge. In any case, it is not anymore difficult to imagine--HYPOTHETICALLY--a world in which no one is religious, but people still have secularist values as a caution against religious thinking, than it is to imagine a world in which no one believes in communism, but people still have anti-communist or pro-capitalist values as a caution against communistic thinking. Moreover, secularism, as I said, has intellectually positive (as opposed to denialist) implications.

                  Again, whether communism is or is not in the dustbin of history is totally irrelevant to the analogy I made earlier.

                  As a separate matter, one problem with referring to "utterly material" things is that for certain religious conceptions of the world, nothing is "utterly" material, and everything has spiritual or supernatural presence/ significance. This includes some interpretations of Christianity, as you yourself seem to recognize.

                  1. A.Villarasa profile image76
                    A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                    Secularist10:

                    My mistake by using the term "utterly" in the context of the material.

                    Thanks for the correction.

  6. Haunty profile image82
    Hauntyposted 6 years ago

    @ Shades

    You are right. I equated human affairs with decisions whereas it's really anything that humans are involved in. But I still maintain that the Wikipedia I quoted says "activities," which in my mind also covers everything we do.

    I know it's probably a fringe definition, but the very reason I looked the term up in Wikipedia was to check if there exists such a thing. My first thought was that secularism only has a meaning with respect to the definition of the state. But I had to check.

    All that said, I see your point.

  7. Aya Katz profile image87
    Aya Katzposted 6 years ago

    I don't know if this will help, since it's just an etymological observation, but the world "secularism" derives from the word "secular" which was used to denote "worldly" or "non-sacred" matters at a time when there was no separation of church and state. This means that even when everybody was expected to worship the state gods on the appointed holy days and do all the required sacred things, even way back then, it was recognized that some things fall outside the purview of religion.

    So whether religion is placed in the foreground or the background of human affairs, people have always recognized that some things are just not within the bounds of religious law.

  8. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago

    Perhaps someone could point out any person whose core beleif system is 'secularism'.  This whole thing is a big, scratchy straw man and waste of time.

    1. A.Villarasa profile image76
      A.Villarasaposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Hello psycheskinner:

      You must have totally disregarded Secularist10's arguments. He is for all intents and purposes a loyal Secularist.

 
working