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Thread: Secularism

  1. #26
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I don't see how we can 'go by our differences' when you are suggesting new term is needed to describe what I think secularism always is and always has been.
    Emily Veinglory

  2. #27
    Trust: that most precious coin. little_e's Avatar
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    It may mean that the other person either doesn't desire to argue the point, or can't (busy, tired, needing time to think, not enough English, etc.)

  3. #28
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    That would be 'I'll get back to you', not 'I'll skip over you point, that words mean what other people use them to mean, without addressing it'.
    Emily Veinglory

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    I think that you're blurring ideas into one word. The ethical consideration that society should not be dominated by religion is not solely a secular one. A number of religious figures regard the presence of religion in positions of social power to be corrosive to the religions themselves.
    I am not clear what you mean here by blurring ideas into one word. It may be useful if we proceed with clarity. by ethical consideration of secularism, I mean that possibility of adopting it as a norm for interpersonal relationship while we living together in a community. I would like to know whether you take the statement that 'The ethical consideration that society should not be dominated by religion is not solely a secular one', is based on ethical or religious consideration?
    I presume you have a secular look, and that is justified even for religionists. If so you would be maintaining a sharp contrast between religion and ethics/social. Am I correct?

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    I don't see how we can 'go by our differences' when you are suggesting new term is needed to describe what I think secularism always is and always has been.
    A term is not all that important in understanding particular situation.
    We can have different terminologies to describe the same reality. what seems to be important is the nature of explanation/description of that state. My point is that the secularist policy does not ensure the condition that the concept envisages, that is, secular liberal democracy/nation states do not comply their promised separation in its all possible extent.

  6. #31
    Mankind is my Business AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    I am not clear what you mean here by blurring ideas into one word. It may be useful if we proceed with clarity. by ethical consideration of secularism, I mean that possibility of adopting it as a norm for interpersonal relationship while we living together in a community. I would like to know whether you take the statement that 'The ethical consideration that society should not be dominated by religion is not solely a secular one', is based on ethical or religious consideration?
    I presume you have a secular look, and that is justified even for religionists. If so you would be maintaining a sharp contrast between religion and ethics/social. Am I correct?
    Tricky question since the scale at which secularism usually matters is that of establishment of religion rather than the smaller scale of the interpersonal.

    But I would say that Humanism is vital in interpersonal relations because it is based on respect of person to person. If religion dominates interpersonal relations than it would be socially acceptable to evangelize at all times and places and to treat with contempt all people who do not share one's religious views. This can poison interpersonal relations.

    If the ground state of human to human interactions is humanistic respect, such as this board uses, people can discuss any topic including religion without feeling imposed on.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    ..... I would say that Humanism is vital in interpersonal relations because it is based on respect of person to person. If religion dominates interpersonal relations than it would be socially acceptable to evangelize at all times and places and to treat with contempt all people who do not share one's religious views. This can poison interpersonal relations.....

    ....
    where is the 'man' in history? He may be available in laboratory, of course not in cultures. humanism seems to be an innocent promise given by a particular category of population in a particular period of time, and they could not keep their promise. Rather, they had broken their promise.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post

    ......If the ground state of human to human interactions is humanistic respect, such as this board uses, people can discuss any topic including religion without feeling imposed on.

    what is wrong with interacting with non-humanistic standards? And why should we limit ourselves interacting with/among human alone?

  9. #34
    Mankind is my Business AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    where is the 'man' in history? He may be available in laboratory, of course not in cultures. humanism seems to be an innocent promise given by a particular category of population in a particular period of time, and they could not keep their promise. Rather, they had broken their promise.
    History as usually discussed is mostly human action in relation to the world and other humans. One can have a history of other than humans, but we're an egotistical species and usually write our pasts as what we see as important.

    Could you elaborate what you mean about the broken promise of humanism? I don't get what you're referring to.
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  10. #35
    Mankind is my Business AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    what is wrong with interacting with non-humanistic standards? And why should we limit ourselves interacting with/among human alone?
    Humanistic standards of mutual person to person respect work well as a neutral meeting ground for people of different religions to talk. If they won't have an agreed upon area they just yell at each other.

    Humanism provides the idea that each person is worthy of respect and to be taken seriously, their words and ideas regarded as the work of human minds and therefore not to be dismissed without cause.

    Which kind of non humans are you talking about interacting with?
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    ....secularism is primarily for the religious. It means no specific religion rules. I think it has more to do with one religious power persecuting another than anything else. Secularism =/=atheism.

    It emerged in a time where not going to right church could see you fined into the poor house, and going to the wrong church could get you executed. And it started as the right to follow any church you wanted to, without consideration of the option 'none at all'.

    i.e. Queen Elizabeth I and: ' I have no desire to make windows into mens souls'
    Interesting to see such an explanation for secularism. I would like know about theoretical/historical sources regarding this version. The so-called 'Indian-secularism' is often interpreted to be so. However, that has been contested by many sympathizers of European conception of secularism. You seem to talk about a religious liberalism. Is it same with secularism?

  12. #37
    Mankind is my Business AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    Interesting to see such an explanation for secularism. I would like know about theoretical/historical sources regarding this version. The so-called 'Indian-secularism' is often interpreted to be so. However, that has been contested by many sympathizers of European conception of secularism. You seem to talk about a religious liberalism. Is it same with secularism?
    I hadn't realized (pardon my ignorance) how different the meanings and associations of the word secularism were in India then in Europe and America. I just looked over the Wikipedia article on Indian secularism as a political force after independence.

    Correct me if I'm wrong. Secularism in India appears to have arisen because of concerns about religious power and the serious conflicts that arose during independence?

    European and American secularism and humanism had a different history and therefore different meanings and implications. European nations had a long standing tension between the supremacy of religious or secular power. After the Reformation and the Enlightenment the idea that secular powers ought to be largely or totally independent of churches grew stronger and was embodied in the US constitution (as well as that of other nations). Some countries still have established churches, and they vary in how much influence they have.

    There is one critical element of similarity in history between western and Indian secularism: the religious wars that spurred the development of each.
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  13. #38
    Trust: that most precious coin. little_e's Avatar
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    Honestly, and I do not mean to offend, but I think there is some sort of communication problem between us, because many of the things you say sound like they are meant to be deep and profound, and yet either do not come across that way to me, or don't make sense at all.

    For example, "And why should we limit ourselves interacting with/among human alone?"
    No one has (nor do I think they will) suggested that we shouldn't interact with dogs, cats, cows, and other species, but so what? Animals are irrelevant to questions of religion and secularism, because animals don't have religions and don't talk.

    If you want to discuss secularism, discuss secularism. If you want to discuss human interactions with other species, discuss human interactions with other species. But if you start talking about secularism, and respond to someone's comment on the subject with 'what about animals?' you have just made a total non-sequitor.
    Last edited by little_e; 03-31-2012 at 05:21 AM.

  14. #39
    Trust: that most precious coin. little_e's Avatar
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    Oh, and I should add, in light of Garfinkle's post, that there probably is a big difference in the way we are using the term "secularism"; I am using it to refer to an emergent phenomenon of certain cultures/societies--a practical means of dealing with many people of different beliefs on a regular basis. We might call this "bottom up" secularism; it's just something people do because it works for them. You are most likely referring to what we might call "imposed" or "imitative" secularism, where a leader or reformer attempts to make society more secular from above--Attaturk in Turkey, for example, or Peter the Great in Russia. In this case, secularism isn't so much a cooperative position of co-existence, but a commitment to "progressive", 1st-world ideals in the hope that imitation will lead to success, and the idea that religion is, to some extent, a backwards, retarding force that prevents progress and so must be somehow officially opposed, reformed, or removed from the public sphere.
    Thus we have Peter the Great outlawing beards in Russia, in an attempt to "modernize" the country and make it more like Western Europe; In India we have Nehru's Hindu Code Bill.

    So, to an American, "the promises of secularism" is a phrase that doesn't make much sense, because we weren't made any promises, but I can see how that would make perfect sense to someone who was told that secularism is an important step in the process of becoming a 1st world country.

    And then we might really ask, so, how has secularism done? Have the people it was somewhat imposed upon come to appreciate it? Or is there backlash against government interference?

    Here in the US, of course, things are mixed, since we do have these wide cultural variations, but the laws are officially supposed to be secular. So, for example, we have this continual struggle over abortion, or court rulings that "Intelligent Design" cannot be taught in government-run/funded schools because it is just Creationism (a religious doctrine) masquerading under another name.

    Whew. I'm glad that's cleared up. Now, what were we talking about?

  15. #40
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    Regarding the question of availability of ‘man’ in history or culture: this was meant to convey my difficulty in making humanism (human concerns instead of god or religion) as the standard vital to understand the relevance of secularism. In the history we do not find any unqualified pure man. We have only different colored men. French man, Negro, Capri, Muslim, Christian, Red Indian, African, Primitive, Pagan, Tribal, etc, are some of the usual attributes. In this scenario, where do we have a humanistic consideration in deciding everyday affairs of life? Does secularism (democracy or socialism) ever succeed to keep its promise? By promise I mean the ideals that are envisaged by the conception of secularism. The conception of humanism equally seems to have become failed. (I should say, humanism also failed to keep its promise). By non-human consideration I mean that people are often moved by non-human (godly, national, tribal, ethnic, racial, caste, communal, religious, etc,) considerations. These are the facts that seem to be determining meaning or nature of humanism or secularism in different cultures and period of history.

  16. #41
    Mankind is my Business AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    Regarding the question of availability of ‘man’ in history or culture: this was meant to convey my difficulty in making humanism (human concerns instead of god or religion) as the standard vital to understand the relevance of secularism. In the history we do not find any unqualified pure man. We have only different colored men. French man, Negro, Capri, Muslim, Christian, Red Indian, African, Primitive, Pagan, Tribal, etc, are some of the usual attributes. In this scenario, where do we have a humanistic consideration in deciding everyday affairs of life? Does secularism (democracy or socialism) ever succeed to keep its promise? By promise I mean the ideals that are envisaged by the conception of secularism. The conception of humanism equally seems to have become failed. (I should say, humanism also failed to keep its promise). By non-human consideration I mean that people are often moved by non-human (godly, national, tribal, ethnic, racial, caste, communal, religious, etc,) considerations. These are the facts that seem to be determining meaning or nature of humanism or secularism in different cultures and period of history.
    It seems to me that you are holding humanism and secularism to stronger standards then religions are held to. No human endeavor has ever lived up to is ideals. The purpose of ideals is to guide and give something to aim for rather than something we can practically achieve. The humanist ideal, in my view, is that each person be treated in shared human acceptance understanding that we all share certain basic commonalities and should be accorded appropriate respect.

    This ideal is fallen short of, but so is every religious and philosophical ideal ever created. That does not invalidate the good of a humanistic view any more than the bad acts of people who are members of a religion invalidates that religion.
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  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    I hadn't realized (pardon my ignorance) how different the meanings and associations of the word secularism were in India then in Europe and America. .
    Kindly refer to my theme-paper for the discussion on the conceptual diversity of secularism. '....If we go by the differences in the conception of secularism as they have been revealed so far, they can be classified on the basis of following points: 1. as a policy of mutual separation between state and religion, 2. separation between politics and religion, 3. separation between socio-cultural life and religion, 4. as atheistic principle of opposition between religion and public affairs, 5. as the irreligiosity principle of indifference to religion, 6. as the principle of equal treatment of all religions, 7. as the principle of secular religion. ' [www.theologiocracy.blospot.com]

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by little_e View Post
    Honestly, and I do not mean to offend, but I think there is some sort of communication problem between us, because many of the things you say sound like they are meant to be deep and profound, and yet either do not come across that way to me, or don't make sense at all.

    .
    Well, this is well taken. I shall try to make my ideas thread bare.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    I think that you're blurring ideas into one word. The ethical consideration that society should not be dominated by religion is not solely a secular one. A number of religious figures regard the presence of religion in positions of social power to be corrosive to the religions themselves.
    i was absconding, no? yes, i had to be so due to certain reasons. i beg your pardon. i wish if i could make a come back !!!

    yes, you are right in saying that religious figures themselves regard the presence of religion in political sphere is corrosive to religions themselves. by saying so, you also seem to be suggesting that it is possible to have pure religion/spirituality sans the mark of social or this worldly imaginations.
    an argument for a spiritual purity seems to remain a theoretical feasibility, and hence it can be contested.
    Last edited by mamouth; 01-06-2013 at 12:15 PM.

  20. #45
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    i was absconding, no? yes, i had to be so due to certain reasons. i beg your pardon. i wish if i could make a come back !!!

    yes, you are right in saying that religious figures themselves regard the presence of religion in political sphere is corrosive to religions themselves. by saying so, you also seem to be suggesting that it is possible to have pure religion/spirituality sans the mark of social or this worldly imaginations.
    an argument for a spiritual purity seems to remain a theoretic feasibilty, and hence it can be contested.
    I am not sure how you drew that conclusion. Unless you are assuming religion can be only 1) in government or 2) in heaven. Most people feel it is positioning itself somewhere in between.
    Emily Veinglory

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    I am not sure how you drew that conclusion. Unless you are assuming religion can be only 1) in government or 2) in heaven. Most people feel it is positioning itself somewhere in between.
    yes, religion seems to be a via media for both. that means religion should remain impure.

  22. #47
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    It means no human endeavour is completely pure. And any such expectation is not sane or helpful.
    Emily Veinglory

  23. #48
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    yes, but impurity doesn't mean sinful. for me it matters a lot. it may have a significant score in weighing the strength of human affairs, religious affairs in a different way from that of secularism

  24. #49
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    the conceptual project of keeping balance between heavenly and worldly affairs seems unattended in its spirit any where in the nations of world. for both coreligionists (believers) and moderate-religionists (non-atheists) the concept of secularism seems to have provided a logic of convenience. whereas non-religionists (including atheists) seems unabashedly anti-religionists.
    Last edited by mamouth; 01-12-2013 at 08:09 PM.

  25. #50
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    the conceptual project of keeping balance between heavenly and worldly affairs seems unattended in its spirit any where in the nations of world. both coreligionists (believers) and moderate-religionists (non-atheists) the concept of secularism seems to have provided a logic of convenience. whereas non-religionists (including atheists) seems unabashedly anti-religionists.
    I am not sure I fully understand this point, but are you saying that non-religionists seem mostly antitheist? IN this case, I disagree, since there is a vast difference between being scular/atheist and being opposed to religion.
    "The deeper and richer a personality is, the more full it is of paradox and contradiction. It is only a shallow character who offers us no problems of contrast." - Madeleine L'Engle

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