< 1 2 3 > 
 
   
 

A secular world view

 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  8616
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
06 April 2018 07:53
 

Re: Judeo / Christian and secularism

I suspect this post will be even less well put than normal (I know, I know, seems like a limbo impossibility):

I hear from many sources that The “J/C ethic” was foundational in setting the stage for secularism and the idea that the individual has rights, agency, value, and can be impactful. (What I can’t explain is how those dots get connected?)

Now contrast that with Islam, which means “submission to god”. In Islam, the individual is a slave to god and to their culture. The individual is far less important than in the West. I’ll take this a step further and say that it’s really a stretch to claim to be a devout Muslim AND support a secular society. A Muslim is a foot soldier in Allah’s never ending war against “non-believers”. I understand that a lot of Muslims living in the West DO SUPPORT the Western values of the society they live in, but I’ve yet to hear a Muslim explain how they pull that off without enormous mental gymnastics, mixed with a large helping of denial, and cognitive dissonance.

I welcome hearing an argument that would change my mind on this point.

 
 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  8616
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
06 April 2018 08:00
 
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.

SX: Seriously, have you ever heard the expression “accusations are often admissions”? You cannot seem to get out of your own way. Recently you seem to be operating from a single, one-trick-pony sort of position that you’ve been appointed forum cop. Instead of hearing the claims of the moment, you’ve decided that you know from whence everyone is coming, so you can just trot out some variation of your tired “poster X is biased” rap. Notice that everyone else on this thread is having a reasonable debate / discussion with Celal… you’re the outlier.

Luckily the cure is simple, respond to the claims being made.

 
 
Celal
 
Avatar
 
 
Celal
Total Posts:  3318
Joined  07-08-2011
 
 
 
06 April 2018 09:43
 
icehorse - 06 April 2018 07:53 AM

Re: Judeo / Christian and secularism

I suspect this post will be even less well put than normal (I know, I know, seems like a limbo impossibility):

I hear from many sources that The “J/C ethic” was foundational in setting the stage for secularism and the idea that the individual has rights, agency, value, and can be impactful. (What I can’t explain is how those dots get connected?)

Now contrast that with Islam, which means “submission to god”. In Islam, the individual is a slave to god and to their culture. The individual is far less important than in the West. I’ll take this a step further and say that it’s really a stretch to claim to be a devout Muslim AND support a secular society. A Muslim is a foot soldier in Allah’s never ending war against “non-believers”. I understand that a lot of Muslims living in the West DO SUPPORT the Western values of the society they live in, but I’ve yet to hear a Muslim explain how they pull that off without enormous mental gymnastics, mixed with a large helping of denial, and cognitive dissonance.

I welcome hearing an argument that would change my mind on this point.

Ref bold text…

Christianity discusses messages of love, humanity and equality whilst providing messages of spiritual and cognitive growth.  In addition, unlike Islam, Christianity preserved Wisdom.  Islam defines everything that existed before coming of Islam as the time of ignorance. Therefore, the wisdom of the old is rejected and destroyed.  In addition to religious works, this includes art, literature,  and music. Islam considers all Christian and Jewish texts of the old as corrupted. This is empirically obvious in both Christian and Muslim cultures.  Destruction of the Buddha Statutes, disallowing building churches or synagogues etc….

So secularism is by product of concepts like liberty, equality, humanity, love, spiritual and COGNITIVE growth.  On the other hand, Islamic morality exists only for its own sake. That which is good for advancement of Islam is good. Does not concern itself with humanity, equality and love.  In fact, just the opposite. In addition,  Islam uses Muhammad’s deeds and words as basis of morality,  even though his deeds and words were often immoral. So, without a true and sustained moral structure,  Islamic culture collapses and must be restrained through a totalitarian system. Even at the present, Muslim Countries are run by Sultans, Kings, Monarchs, or some totalitarian systems. Move the totalitarian figure head from power, whether it is Saddam,  Asad, or Qaddafi, etc, the society plunge into a moral chaos. So, a separation of the State and individual’s right to choose is impossible.

 

[ Edited: 06 April 2018 09:56 by Celal]
 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
06 April 2018 13:48
 

Christianity stifled intellectual progress for centuries, termed the Dark Ages.  I don’t have enough info to get into a comparison with Islam, so I’ll stick to the claims about Christianity. 

It seems to me that Christianity has enough ambiguity or contradictions within its scriptures to allow for varied interpretations.  So I see that as fortunate in Western history.  There is an awful lot in the Bible about wise men actually being fools, and faith in God being more important than wisdom of this world.  The obedient prophets, compliant followers, and particularly faithful martyrs are considered the most righteous people. 

As for human dignity, in Galatians, we read:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

However, this applies only to Christians.  And it can be interpreted to be limited to salvation, rather than to equality in society.  Non-Christians were goats, not sheep.  And they were fruitless branches pruned from the life-giving vine and cast into the fire.  So human equality was far from being a universal Christian concept.

Perhaps human rights have been advanced regardless of Christian influences.  Since most people in the US and Europe were Christian, they certainly looked to justify these developments within the context of their religion.  Maybe The Enlightenment hijacked Christianity?

[ Edited: 06 April 2018 13:50 by hannahtoo]
 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1798
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
06 April 2018 17:22
 

Yes, the Renaissance and Enlightenment finally derailed Christianity which had a stranglehold on Europe during the Dark Ages.

But again, it was the scientific method discovered by the Greeks, lost, then rediscovered in Europe that paved the way towards innovation, change and ultimately secularism.

The scientific method leads to questioning assumptions and asking for rational proof as the basis for belief. When turned toward religion, it naturally causes doubt. This is why religious fundamentalists of all stripes hate science.

 
 
proximacentauri
 
Avatar
 
 
proximacentauri
Total Posts:  359
Joined  07-02-2017
 
 
 
07 April 2018 09:01
 

Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview… here’s a case in point.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1432320007001/?#sp=show-clips

 

 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  8616
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
07 April 2018 09:20
 
proximacentauri - 07 April 2018 09:01 AM

Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview… here’s a case in point.
http://video.foxnews.com/v/1432320007001/?#sp=show-clips

It’s a video of Bill O’Reilly being anti-abortion, and somehow the implication is that stance is anti-secular. I understand that many religious people are anti-abortion, but I think it’s a conflation to say that only secularists are pro-abortion - the two seem orthogonal.

 
 
proximacentauri
 
Avatar
 
 
proximacentauri
Total Posts:  359
Joined  07-02-2017
 
 
 
07 April 2018 11:00
 
icehorse - 07 April 2018 09:20 AM
proximacentauri - 07 April 2018 09:01 AM

Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview… here’s a case in point.
http://video.foxnews.com/v/1432320007001/?#sp=show-clips

It’s a video of Bill O’Reilly being anti-abortion, and somehow the implication is that stance is anti-secular. I understand that many religious people are anti-abortion, but I think it’s a conflation to say that only secularists are pro-abortion - the two seem orthogonal.

I provided one example, undoubtedly of hundreds, where a Fox news talking head may use secular, secularism, and secularist as pejoratives.

“Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview” ...is the point of the post. Not abortion stance.

I think it highly likely that many regular Fox viewers associate “A secular world view” as a bad thing.

 

 

 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  8616
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
07 April 2018 11:16
 
proximacentauri - 07 April 2018 11:00 AM
icehorse - 07 April 2018 09:20 AM
proximacentauri - 07 April 2018 09:01 AM

Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview… here’s a case in point.
http://video.foxnews.com/v/1432320007001/?#sp=show-clips

It’s a video of Bill O’Reilly being anti-abortion, and somehow the implication is that stance is anti-secular. I understand that many religious people are anti-abortion, but I think it’s a conflation to say that only secularists are pro-abortion - the two seem orthogonal.

I provided one example, undoubtedly of hundreds, where a Fox news talking head may use secular, secularism, and secularist as pejoratives.

“Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview” ...is the point of the post. Not abortion stance.

I think it highly likely that many regular Fox viewers associate “A secular world view” as a bad thing.

I’m not disagreeing, but how would you guess the typical Fox viewer would define “secular” ?

 
 
Celal
 
Avatar
 
 
Celal
Total Posts:  3318
Joined  07-08-2011
 
 
 
07 April 2018 12:11
 
hannahtoo - 02 April 2018 06:36 AM
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.

I think the criticism of Bible passages and the Christianity as a whole, well justified and Sam Harris has done a superb job articulating it in his book “Letter to a Christian Nation”.

But that misses the point in your own thread.

If you want to understand why secularism flourished in Christian societies but never took roots in Muslim, you need to look at the differences.  As I said before, Judeo-Christian culture preserved wisdom of the past. Islam destroyed it.  The concepts like “love thy neighbour”; “turn the other cheek”; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you ” undoubtedly laid the groundwork for free, open and humane society.  These concepts do NOT exist in Muslim religion.  That is not to say there aren’t humane and loving people in these societies. In fact, given my experience, some of the most compassionate and loving people I have come across called themselves “Muslim”.  How is that possible? That is a different topic all together. 


We aren’t talking about “individuals”. We are discussing cultures and differences.  You have no other way of explaining why the “secularism” is missing in today’s Muslim Countries whilst flourishing in the Christian West.

 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
07 April 2018 12:21
 

Celal:
In fact, given my experience, some of the most compassionate and loving people I have come across called themselves “Muslim”.  How is that possible? That is a different topic all together.

Maybe it is part of the same topic.  Where does this compassion and love come from?  Does it arise from Islam, in reaction against Islam, or independent of it?  Same questions for concepts of liberty and equality in Christianity?

 
proximacentauri
 
Avatar
 
 
proximacentauri
Total Posts:  359
Joined  07-02-2017
 
 
 
07 April 2018 13:40
 
icehorse - 07 April 2018 11:16 AM
proximacentauri - 07 April 2018 11:00 AM
icehorse - 07 April 2018 09:20 AM
proximacentauri - 07 April 2018 09:01 AM

Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview… here’s a case in point.
http://video.foxnews.com/v/1432320007001/?#sp=show-clips

It’s a video of Bill O’Reilly being anti-abortion, and somehow the implication is that stance is anti-secular. I understand that many religious people are anti-abortion, but I think it’s a conflation to say that only secularists are pro-abortion - the two seem orthogonal.

I provided one example, undoubtedly of hundreds, where a Fox news talking head may use secular, secularism, and secularist as pejoratives.

“Fox viewers may have a different perspective on a secular worldview” ...is the point of the post. Not abortion stance.

I think it highly likely that many regular Fox viewers associate “A secular world view” as a bad thing.

I’m not disagreeing, but how would you guess the typical Fox viewer would define “secular” ?

More importantly, it’s what they associate with the terms secular, secularism, and secularist.

 

 
Celal
 
Avatar
 
 
Celal
Total Posts:  3318
Joined  07-08-2011
 
 
 
08 April 2018 10:17
 
hannahtoo - 07 April 2018 12:21 PM

Celal:
In fact, given my experience, some of the most compassionate and loving people I have come across called themselves “Muslim”.  How is that possible? That is a different topic all together.

Maybe it is part of the same topic.  Where does this compassion and love come from?  Does it arise from Islam, in reaction against Islam, or independent of it?  Same questions for concepts of liberty and equality in Christianity?

Sorry!  You are derailing own thread again…. I have already conceded that Humanity is fundamentally identical in the first post. The humanity is common link. Of course, you will find humanity in all cultures, races.  That is not in dispute. It is a given.

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. ...

This is what you are refusing to acknowledge by looking for red herrings, tangential points, meanings that are not there.

Celal - 07 April 2018 12:11 PM

...
We aren’t talking about “individuals”. We are discussing cultures and differences.  You have no other way of explaining why the “secularism” is missing in today’s Muslim Countries whilst flourishing in the Christian West.

I can not make the point any clearer for you.

 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
08 April 2018 12:47
 
Celal - 08 April 2018 10:17 AM
hannahtoo - 07 April 2018 12:21 PM
Celal - 07 April 2018 12:11 PM

...
We aren’t talking about “individuals”. We are discussing cultures and differences.  You have no other way of explaining why the “secularism” is missing in today’s Muslim Countries whilst flourishing in the Christian West.

I can not make the point any clearer for you.

Yes, historically, secularism arose out of Christian society, not Muslim society.  (At least what I know about World History, which is not my expertise, by far.)  But my question remains as to why it arose.  Is it because of Christianity or in spite of it?  I think that makes a difference. 

Just for a quick start, here is what Wikipedia says about The Enlightenment:

The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state. In France, the central doctrines of the Enlightenment philosophers were individual liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism, along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy—an attitude captured by the phrase Sapere aude, “Dare to know”.

The Enlightenment seems to have been a reaction against the religious/political status quo, including the terrible 30 Years War, and the advent of scientific study, along with contact with diverse cultures around the world.  So perhaps it is was a historical convergence in Christian Europe that created fertile ground for the mustard seeds of secularism to sprout.

However, this is not the same as saying that secularism is a natural outgrowth of Christian morality.  And probably you’re not claiming that.

 
Celal
 
Avatar
 
 
Celal
Total Posts:  3318
Joined  07-08-2011
 
 
 
08 April 2018 15:26
 
hannahtoo - 08 April 2018 12:47 PM
Celal - 08 April 2018 10:17 AM
hannahtoo - 07 April 2018 12:21 PM
Celal - 07 April 2018 12:11 PM

...
We aren’t talking about “individuals”. We are discussing cultures and differences.  You have no other way of explaining why the “secularism” is missing in today’s Muslim Countries whilst flourishing in the Christian West.

I can not make the point any clearer for you.

Yes, historically, secularism arose out of Christian society, not Muslim society.  (At least what I know about World History, which is not my expertise, by far.)  But my question remains as to why it arose.  Is it because of Christianity or in spite of it?  I think that makes a difference. 

Just for a quick start, here is what Wikipedia says about The Enlightenment:

The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state. In France, the central doctrines of the Enlightenment philosophers were individual liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism, along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy—an attitude captured by the phrase Sapere aude, “Dare to know”.

The Enlightenment seems to have been a reaction against the religious/political status quo, including the terrible 30 Years War, and the advent of scientific study, along with contact with diverse cultures around the world.  So perhaps it is was a historical convergence in Christian Europe that created fertile ground for the mustard seeds of secularism to sprout.

However, this is not the same as saying that secularism is a natural outgrowth of Christian morality.  And probably you’re not claiming that.

You keep wanting to introduce roadblocks. Like this.

” Yes, historically, secularism arose out of Christian society, not Muslim society.  (At least what I know about World History, which is not my expertise, by far.)  But my question remains as to why it arose. Is it because of Christianity or in spite of it? I think that makes a difference.  “

If that is what makes a difference, why then can you not ask the same of Muslim Societies? Why could secularism not blossom in Muslim Cultures, as you say “in spite of it”?  After all, we have stipulated that humanity is the common link and you will find good in all cultures.

The answer is obvious. Go back to my original post and reread it. 

 

 
 < 1 2 3 >