1 2 3 > 
 
   
 

A secular world view

 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
31 March 2018 19:21
 

I can’t recall a discussion using the word secular to describe oneself.  The words like atheist or agnostic describe one’s opinion of the god idea.  Secular seems more simple and perhaps less emotionally tinged.

Recently I met a couple from Israel.  They lived in Tel Aviv, and they used the word secular in referring to that city and themselves.  I understood what they meant.  The term makes sense to me.  What do others think?

 
EN
 
Avatar
 
 
EN
Total Posts:  22343
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
31 March 2018 20:02
 

Pretty clear what it means - non-religious.

 
Celal
 
Avatar
 
 
Celal
Total Posts:  3318
Joined  07-08-2011
 
 
 
31 March 2018 20:25
 

Christianity introduced the notion that humanity[not cultures but humanity]  is fundamentally identical and that men were equal in dignity. Hence, people had a right to be free from a “specific” religious rule and teachings,. Therefore, State being neutral on matters of religion. No State religion.  One of the facts the Atheists have not understood is that it was Christianity   separated Church and State, and this is one of the most significant innovations in the history of philosophy.  Where, prior to Christ, was this found? In ancient Greece, where Socrates was executed for being against the state religion? Rome, where the Emperor was divine? Japan? China? Tibet? India?

Today’s atheists or Westerners for that matter do not understand what a secular society is. That is why they will almost always identify Turkey to be a secular country when it most definitely is not. It has a State religion.  Not just Islam. It is a specific flavor of Islam. Always did.

 
GAD
 
Avatar
 
 
GAD
Total Posts:  18127
Joined  15-02-2008
 
 
 
31 March 2018 23:55
 

I don’t have any issue with the word, it is the word I use to describe the way I think society/world should be. That said, 3/4 of the world worship gods and superstitions and that is why I am atheist, because the world is not secular.

 
 
jdrnd
 
Avatar
 
 
jdrnd
Total Posts:  5899
Joined  25-08-2009
 
 
 
01 April 2018 05:15
 
Celal - 31 March 2018 08:25 PM

Christianity introduced the notion that humanity [not cultures but humanity] is fundamentally identical and that men were equal in dignity.
Hence, people had a right to be free from a “specific” religious rule and teachings…. 
....One of the facts the Atheists have not understood is that it was Christianity that separated Church and State.

I don’t see this to be true.
Where did you get this from?

 
SkepticX
 
Avatar
 
 
SkepticX
Total Posts:  14817
Joined  24-12-2004
 
 
 
01 April 2018 06:01
 
jdrnd - 01 April 2018 05:15 AM
Celal - 31 March 2018 08:25 PM

Christianity introduced the notion that humanity [not cultures but humanity] is fundamentally identical and that men were equal in dignity.
Hence, people had a right to be free from a “specific” religious rule and teachings…. 
....One of the facts the Atheists have not understood is that it was Christianity that separated Church and State.

I don’t see this to be true.
Where did you get this from?


It’s true that conservative Christians were staunch separationists 30-40 years ago.

Celal just chooses to ignore modern history when it suits his agenda, of course. He hasn’t the first clue as to how to get out of his own way, or the slightest inclination to do so.

 
 
jdrnd
 
Avatar
 
 
jdrnd
Total Posts:  5899
Joined  25-08-2009
 
 
 
01 April 2018 06:32
 
SkepticX - 01 April 2018 06:01 AM
jdrnd - 01 April 2018 05:15 AM
Celal - 31 March 2018 08:25 PM

Christianity introduced the notion that humanity [not cultures but humanity] is fundamentally identical and that men were equal in dignity.
Hence, people had a right to be free from a “specific” religious rule and teachings…. 
....One of the facts the Atheists have not understood is that it was Christianity that separated Church and State.

I don’t see this to be true.
Where did you get this from?


It’s true that conservative Christians were staunch separationists 30-40 years ago.

Celal just chooses to ignore modern history when it suits his agenda, of course. He hasn’t the first clue as to how to get out of his own way, or the slightest inclination to do so.

Come to think of it, I had heard that at the inception of our constitution, the evangelicals agreed with Jefferson’s separation of church and state because at the time they were afraid they would be disciminated against.


but in general I don’t see any historical data going back to the middle ages that christians thought Church and state should be separate.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
Avatar
 
 
Brick Bungalow
Total Posts:  5562
Joined  28-05-2009
 
 
 
01 April 2018 08:26
 

I think it’s an important distinction and I think its important not to necessarily correlate or group these ideas together. One does not imply or exclude the other. They relate to distinct domains.

Atheism is about ones personal conviction in regards to the kinds of beings that exist. Agnosticism is about access to knowledge. Secularism is about what kinds of ideas should exert leverage on culture and form the basis of how we hold one another accountable, in my view.

I think a person could be any combination of the three things without contradiction. I identify as all three.

I know religious people that are both agnostic and secular. I think this is important because I have come to value practical social goals over and above agreement about theology and metaphysics. I would rather collaborate with a religious believer who endorsed plural, democratic principles than an atheist who endorsed some kind of totalitarian state solution. I’m much more willing to compromise on the huge, abstract cosmic questions. What matters more is how we treat each other.

 
Jan_CAN
 
Avatar
 
 
Jan_CAN
Total Posts:  3724
Joined  21-10-2016
 
 
 
01 April 2018 09:00
 

The Concise Oxford Dictionary

Secular:  concerned with the affairs of this world; not spiritual or sacred; (of education, etc.) not concerned with religion or religious belief; not ecclesiastical or monastic; not bound by a religious rule.

Atheism:  the theory or belief that God does not exist.

Humanism:  an outlook or system of thought concerned with human rather than divine or supernatural matters; a belief or outlook emphasizing common human needs and seeking solely rational ways of solving human problems, and concerned with [hu]mankind as responsible and progressive intellectual beings.

Although I would use all of these terms to describe my views and values, they don’t mean exactly the same thing.

I think of the term secular to be more about politics/social issues and a belief in complete separation of church-and-state.  As pointed out by BB above, there are some religious people that support secularism in regards to government.  The term atheism is about one’s personal non-belief, but does not indicate what one does believe in.  I personally prefer the term humanist; it is a positive term/label that best describes my views and principles.  I particularly like the “fundamentals of modern humanism”, in the Amsterdam Declaration 2002.

 

 
 
Celal
 
Avatar
 
 
Celal
Total Posts:  3318
Joined  07-08-2011
 
 
 
01 April 2018 09:22
 
jdrnd - 01 April 2018 05:15 AM
Celal - 31 March 2018 08:25 PM

Christianity introduced the notion that humanity [not cultures but humanity] is fundamentally identical and that men were equal in dignity.
Hence, people had a right to be free from a “specific” religious rule and teachings…. 
....One of the facts the Atheists have not understood is that it was Christianity that separated Church and State.

I don’t see this to be true.
Where did you get this from?

If by not being true, you are referring to Atheists have not understood .. I stand corrected. I should have said “some” Atheists and also “in my experience” to qualify.  However, if you are referring to “Christianity that separated Church and State” not being true… let me elaborate.

Religion provides the basis for the culture. Secularism was born in the Christian culture both trough its teachings and its framework.  Western views of morality and human rights arose from a Christian view of reality.  Western values such as religious freedom, tolerance, humanism, gender equality rooted in Judeo-Christian principles. This is why people like “EN” don’t have to compromise their Christian views to fit peacefully into the Western World.  Not so in Islam.  Secular humanism is supported by the New Testament.

The term “Secularism”  appears to have been first used in the 19th century in Europe, describing   views of promoting a social order separate from religion. Although the term was new, the values were born and nourished in Christian societies, cultures. For example, it is a set of values that I know for a fact could not have been nurtured in Islamic societies for it is fundamentally at odds with the basic precepts of Islam. That is also why you could not find a single country even “today”  with overwhelming majority Muslim population in the World that is secular.

 
jdrnd
 
Avatar
 
 
jdrnd
Total Posts:  5899
Joined  25-08-2009
 
 
 
01 April 2018 09:51
 
Celal - 01 April 2018 09:22 AM
jdrnd - 01 April 2018 05:15 AM
Celal - 31 March 2018 08:25 PM

Christianity introduced the notion that humanity [not cultures but humanity] is fundamentally identical and that men were equal in dignity.
Hence, people had a right to be free from a “specific” religious rule and teachings…. 
....One of the facts the Atheists have not understood is that it was Christianity that separated Church and State.

I don’t see this to be true.
Where did you get this from?

If by not being true, you are referring to Atheists have not understood .. I stand corrected. I should have said “some” Atheists and also “in my experience” to qualify.  However, if you are referring to “Christianity that separated Church and State” not being true… let me elaborate.

Religion provides the basis for the culture. Secularism was born in the Christian culture both trough its teachings and its framework.  Western views of morality and human rights arose from a Christian view of reality.  Western values such as religious freedom, tolerance, humanism, gender equality rooted in Judeo-Christian principles. This is why people like “EN” don’t have to compromise their Christian views to fit peacefully into the Western World.  Not so in Islam.  Secular humanism is supported by the New Testament.

The term “Secularism”  appears to have been first used in the 19th century in Europe, describing   views of promoting a social order separate from religion. Although the term was new, the values were born and nourished in Christian societies, cultures. For example, it is a set of values that I know for a fact could not have been nurtured in Islamic societies for it is fundamentally at odds with the basic precepts of Islam. That is also why you could not find a single country even “today”  with overwhelming majority Muslim population in the World that is secular.

You have an interesting point of view.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1798
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
01 April 2018 12:12
 

Celal is partially correct. Christianity does have a strong effect on our culture, but I think the greater and more correct encompassing term would Western Culture and Western Values. This term not only includes Christianity but also it’s precursor, Judaism. But most importantly, Western culture entails science and with it an openness to innovation and change. The Greeks came up with the scientific method and the idea of “Western” culture harkens back to them.

The Western embrace of the scientific method has given rise to secularism, atheism and Humanism. Science has diminished the role of our species which once considered itself to be the center of all creation, to merely one species among many on this small planet which drifts in a black vacuum of nearly infinite space and time. Viewed from such a perspective, all religions can be seen for what they are: a creation of the human mind.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
01 April 2018 17:05
 

So Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”  Perhaps that is what Celal is referring to about separation of Church and State.  But it is also true that the Church was entangled with the government for nearly two millennia, and we still debate its influence over laws.  So maybe Christians haven’t heeded this verse?

Also, Jesus did give more recognition of women, which was uncommon at the time.  And some verses point to equality of all people.  However, these verses are contradicted by others.  Paul said, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”  In Christian societies women were relegated to support roles for centuries.

 
Celal
 
Avatar
 
 
Celal
Total Posts:  3318
Joined  07-08-2011
 
 
 
01 April 2018 19:25
 
hannahtoo - 01 April 2018 05:05 PM

So Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”  Perhaps that is what Celal is referring to about separation of Church and State.  But it is also true that the Church was entangled with the government for nearly two millennia, and we still debate its influence over laws.  So maybe Christians haven’t heeded this verse?

Also, Jesus did give more recognition of women, which was uncommon at the time.  And some verses point to equality of all people.  However, these verses are contradicted by others.  Paul said, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”  In Christian societies women were relegated to support roles for centuries.

Because I wasn’t raised in a Christian Culture and I’m not Christian, I prefer to look at it objectively from outside in. Not through scriptures.  Think or research about the concept of human-equality. How and when did this come about?  Ancient Greek World was an aristocratic world of natural hierarchy… your worth, man or woman as a human being depended on how capable you were, and of course city states built on Slavery.

So, in the pre-Christian World,  the idea of all human beings equal would be laughable. Yet, it was the Christian culture that advanced the notion of all human beings were equal and had dignity. It provided the environment where Democracy could flourish. If you look around the World, at cultures that did not have Christian influence, you will come to the conclusion that democracy as we understand it is having great difficulty taking roots in such places like Islamic Cultures.

Where does the notion of “All men are created equal” in the declaration of independence come from?  What about the civilizations that have not experienced Christianity? How did they fair as democracies?  Of Course, Christians had slaves but it was the Christian philosophy that allowed its basic precepts to eventually take root and lead to democracy. 

So, yes, secularism needs democracy which needs the support of the concept that all men are equal and have human dignity.

 
Twissel
 
Avatar
 
 
Twissel
Total Posts:  3309
Joined  19-01-2015
 
 
 
01 April 2018 22:46
 

pure secularism doesn’t work, since a separated church will still try to meddle in politics: many EU countries are christian by constitution and even collect taxes for their churches, yet in practice their societies are way more secular than most parts of the US.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
02 April 2018 06:36
 
Celal - 01 April 2018 07:25 PM
hannahtoo - 01 April 2018 05:05 PM

So Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”  Perhaps that is what Celal is referring to about separation of Church and State.  But it is also true that the Church was entangled with the government for nearly two millennia, and we still debate its influence over laws.  So maybe Christians haven’t heeded this verse?

Also, Jesus did give more recognition of women, which was uncommon at the time.  And some verses point to equality of all people.  However, these verses are contradicted by others.  Paul said, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”  In Christian societies women were relegated to support roles for centuries.

Because I wasn’t raised in a Christian Culture and I’m not Christian, I prefer to look at it objectively from outside in. Not through scriptures.  Think or research about the concept of human-equality. How and when did this come about?  Ancient Greek World was an aristocratic world of natural hierarchy… your worth, man or woman as a human being depended on how capable you were, and of course city states built on Slavery.

So, in the pre-Christian World,  the idea of all human beings equal would be laughable. Yet, it was the Christian culture that advanced the notion of all human beings were equal and had dignity. It provided the environment where Democracy could flourish. If you look around the World, at cultures that did not have Christian influence, you will come to the conclusion that democracy as we understand it is having great difficulty taking roots in such places like Islamic Cultures.

Where does the notion of “All men are created equal” in the declaration of independence come from?  What about the civilizations that have not experienced Christianity? How did they fair as democracies?  Of Course, Christians had slaves but it was the Christian philosophy that allowed its basic precepts to eventually take root and lead to democracy. 

So, yes, secularism needs democracy which needs the support of the concept that all men are equal and have human dignity.

Again, societies with Christian governments were rife with inequality for centuries.  The church down the street from me still insists that women cannot be pastors—that this is the will of God.  When I was the mother of a baby, I attended a women’s sermon at a different church, where they stressed obedience to a husband’s authority. 

I think the concept of equality arose within Christian countries despite the traditional religious teachings, not because of them.  Think of the battle among different Christians in the US over slavery.  The Bible is self-contradictory enough—or vague enough—to permit interpretation for opposite viewpoints.  I am not a historian, but found this document which outlines A Short History of Human Rights.

From this document:
The belief that everyone, by virtue of her or his humanity, is entitled to certain human rights is fairly new. Its roots, however, lie in earlier tradition and documents of many cultures; it took the catalyst of World War II to propel human rights onto the global stage and into the global conscience.

Documents asserting individual rights, such the Magna Carta (1215), the English Bill of Rights (1689), the French Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights (1791) are the written precursors to many of today’s human rights documents. Yet many of these documents, when originally translated into policy, excluded women, people of color, and members of certain social, religious, economic, and political groups. Nevertheless, oppressed people throughout the world have drawn on the principles these documents express to support revolutions that assert the right to self-determination.

I would be interested in hearing more about the philosophical underpinnings of equality movements.

 
 1 2 3 >