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Thread: Secularism

  1. #51
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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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.
    The loudest atheist voices are often anti-religious, and the loudest religious voices are often theocratic. But the loudest speakers are not necessarily speaking for the majority.

    The logic of convenience pre-exists secularism. Each human being can and usually does create his or her personal logic of convenience founded around the needs, enjoyments, desires and fears of that person's life.

    There are both secular and religious means to affirm or counter this logic of convenience. There are also both secular and religious means to try to impose ones personal convenience on others and both secular and religious means to reject such impositions.

    In short neither the religious nor the secular have a monopoly on human decency or indecency.
    Sometimes, what people need is to have things asked of them.




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  2. #52
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrid View Post
    .... since there is a vast difference between being secular/atheist and being opposed to religion.
    'secular/atheist' juxtaposition on the same side is troublesome. since secularism and atheism cannot be taken identical in their attitude towards religion, what matters is their different ways of relationship with religiosity. secularism may not be opposed to religion, although they are often taken to be so. is it possible to say the same way about atheism? is it possible to say that atheism may be opposed to theism but not to religion? it may be very interesting to see how does atheism count religion positively, contrary to its most popular forms.
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  3. #53
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    The loudest atheist voices are often anti-religious, and the loudest religious voices are often theocratic. But the loudest speakers are not necessarily speaking for the majority.
    indeed that is the case where we need to spell out what is whispered by the majority.
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  4. #54
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    .....The logic of convenience pre-exists secularism. Each human being can and usually does create his or her personal logic of convenience founded around the needs, enjoyments, desires and fears of that person's life.
    by 'logic of convenience', i mean the practice of construing meaning of something for the sake something other than its conceptual logic.
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  5. #55
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    by 'logic of convenience', i mean the practice of construing meaning of something for the sake something other than its conceptual logic.
    I'm unclear on what you mean. Could you elaborate this perhaps with an example or two?
    Sometimes, what people need is to have things asked of them.




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  6. #56
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    I'm unclear on what you mean. Could you elaborate this perhaps with an example or two?
    well, in the case of the concept of secularism, for instance, religious secularists (or secular religionists) take secularism as positive when ever/where ever they find their religious beliefs and authority are not undermined, but go other way when the situation becomes contrariwise.
    whereas in the case of atheists, religion becomes positive only when it concerns with the non-religious, worldly, or social realities.
    Last edited by mamouth; 01-19-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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  7. #57
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    well, in the case of the concept of secularism, for instance, religious secularists (or secular religionists) take secularism as positive when ever/where ever they find their religious beliefs and authority are not undermined, but go other way when the situation becomes contrariwise.
    where as in the case of atheists, religion becomes positive only when it concerns with the non-religious, worldly, or social realities.
    I don't think the latter is true. I don't know many atheists who would reject help on social issues (or worldly matters) if the help is religiously motivated.

    To take two examples.
    1. Scientific research (that's pretty worldly I would think). There are atheist, agnostic, and theist scientists. They do not vet each other for their beliefs before being willing to work together.

    2. Efforts to stop evil activities like human trafficking. There are groups of all persuasions working for this and they (in general) don't insist on working only with those of like theology (or lack thereof).
    Sometimes, what people need is to have things asked of them.




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  8. #58
    we are the words 'i love you' kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    I don't think the latter is true. I don't know many atheists who would reject help on social issues (or worldly matters) if the help is religiously motivated.
    Depends on what kind of help the religiously motivated are giving.

    I remember some Japanese posting online after the 2011 tsunami not to donate to so-and-so organization because "we need food and clothing, not bibles."

    Of course, not all religious groups are like that.

    Nor do all secular groups not have ulterior motives.
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  9. #59
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuwisdelu View Post
    Depends on what kind of help the religiously motivated are giving.

    I remember some Japanese posting online after the 2011 tsunami not to donate to so-and-so organization because "we need food and clothing, not bibles."

    Of course, not all religious groups are like that.

    Nor do all secular groups not have ulterior motives.
    True on all counts, but I was dealing with an absolute assertion as regards the unwillingness for both kinds of people to mix on matters of worldly and social causes.

    My point was that there certainly is such cooperartion, not that cooperation is universal.
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  10. #60
    Bright and Early for the Daily Race Chrissy's Avatar
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    I hate that word, "secular." My hate is based upon how it was used in my childhood: to describe something as "worldly" and thus "anti-God" and evil. When later, I found out that it was all a bunch of brainwashing and most "secular" things were perfectly harmless.

  11. #61
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrissy View Post
    I hate that word, "secular." My hate is based upon how it was used in my childhood: to describe something as "worldly" and thus "anti-God" and evil. When later, I found out that it was all a bunch of brainwashing and most "secular" things were perfectly harmless.
    It used to be a more or less technical term particularly in societies that had both religious and non religious authorities.

    In societies that divided power between religious and non-religious rulers (like bishops and lords) there was often a need to define who had power over what and which crimes would be tried in whose courts. In the example above, the secular power would be the lords, and the spiritual power would be the bishops.

    While the secular was, at this time, considered inferior to the spiritual, the term was not itself insulting

    That has, of course, changed as the spiritual authority has lost power in western societies, and non-religious philsophies and attitudes have risen, the word has changed to an insult.

    To add to the complication of this thread. Secularism has a somewhat more specific meaning in India where the OP is from. So some of the posts have gone past each other.
    Sometimes, what people need is to have things asked of them.




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  12. #62
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I think in general the word secular is very useful. It means a place where civic and public activities are not branded to a specific religion.

  13. #63
    Got the hang of it, here Maxx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    It used to be a more or less technical term particularly in societies that had both religious and non religious authorities.
    It could also be used to distinguish religious orders (such as Benedictine Monks) from regular clergy. So you could have a secular priest if you had monks to distinguish them from.
    You're no Tom Bombadil.

  14. #64
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    I don't think the latter is true. I don't know many atheists who would reject help on social issues (or worldly matters) if the help is religiously motivated.
    the indifference of atheism to religiosity seems to have been expressed/articulated at the level of its approach towards the validity of spiritual/non-physical entities and existence. that may not be a fault so long as atheism goes on its own terms. however, it becomes somewhat awkward when it goes in terms of secularism, whose conceptualization does not allows to undermine significance of the realm of religiosity.
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  15. #65
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    the indifference of atheism to religiosity seems to have been expressed/articulated at the level of its approach towards the validity of spiritual/non-physical entities and existence. that may not be a fault so long as atheism goes on its own terms. however, it becomes somewhat awkward when it goes in terms of secularism, whose conceptualization does not allows to undermine significance of the realm of religiosity.
    While atheism does, on the whole, reject the idea of non-physical existence, not all atheists reject the role or benefit of spiritual experience, motivation and inspiration. For example, many atheists appreciate art created from the religiously inspired.

    Beyond that I'm afraid I don't get what you're saying about the realtion between atheism and secularism. Examples might help.
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  16. #66
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    While atheism does, on the whole, reject the idea of non-physical existence, not all atheists reject the role or benefit of spiritual experience, motivation and inspiration. For example, many atheists appreciate art created from the religiously inspired.

    Beyond that I'm afraid I don't get what you're saying about the relation between atheism and secularism. Examples might help.
    if atheism can validate religious/spiritual traditions in any ground it might require to bear the burden of appreciating the positive roles of beliefs and practices, instead of disparaging them as superstitious and unscientific. that means, religious practices are to be assessed simply on the reductionist/mechanistic/scientistic ground. they seem to demand a consideration other than those simply based on questions concerning the existence or non-existence of god or other transcendental entities.
    As regard to the relation between atheism and secularism; if atheism holds by secularism, it cannot go by an elimination stance towards beliefs and traditional practices.
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  17. #67
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Atheists tend to hold the view that as the ones giving the null hypothesis, they do not bear the burden of establishing the good of religious practices.

    Individual atheists (me included) do appreciate some of those, but it's hard to say why there is an inherent responsibility to do more than respect individual people.



    As regard to the relation between atheism and secularism; if atheism holds by secularism, it cannot go by an elimination stance towards beliefs and traditional practices.
    I think we're still having a communication problem. I don't see why the above has to be true. While some atheists do think that for the sake of a secular society some practices need to be eliminated, others go on a case by case basis, and others think it's none of their business.
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  18. #68
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    Atheists tend to hold the view that as the ones giving the null hypothesis, they do not bear the burden of establishing the good of religious practices.

    Individual atheists (me included) do appreciate some of those, but it's hard to say why there is an inherent responsibility to do more than respect individual people.
    appreciation and consideration of beliefs and practices may have to depend on their socio-cultural historical context. if we only go by the reality status of the religious/spiritual phenomena, we may fail to account their symbolism. physical-realism based approaches might lead to appreciate their meaning or values as cultural markers.
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  19. #69
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    While some atheists do think that for the sake of a secular society some practices need to be eliminated, others go on a case by case basis, and others think it's none of their business.
    the indifferent stance of the third category of atheists seems to be imbibing the conceptual value of secularism. ironically, most of the secularists and atheists are found upholding the eliminativism of other two categories.
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  20. #70
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    the indifferent stance of the third category of atheists seems to be imbibing the conceptual value of secularism. ironically, most of the secularists and atheists are found upholding the eliminativism of other two categories.
    That's a pretty strong assertion about atheist and secularist attitudes and would need evidence to back it up.
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  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    appreciation and consideration of beliefs and practices may have to depend on their socio-cultural historical context. if we only go by the reality status of the religious/spiritual phenomena, we may fail to account their symbolism. physical-realism based approaches might lead to appreciate their meaning or values as cultural markers.
    I'm speaking from a U.S. perspective, so it may be very different in other countries, but here we have quasi-religious cultural markers, such as the story of Santa Claus bringing presents at Christmas or the Easter bunny bringing eggs at Easter, which everyone agrees aren't real but which have symbolic/traditional/cultural value. There's virtually no anti-Santa Claus or anti-Easter bunny pressure by atheists and many join in those cultural traditions.

    The problem is that many people who promote religious practices don't see them as cultural markers. They wouldn't want Jesus and the Bible lumped in the same category as Santa Claus and the Easter bunny.

    I think it's that insistence on "realness" that makes some atheists uncomfortable. I don't think they ignore the fact that religious symbolism has a powerful cultural effect. On the contrary, that's what scares them. And the same may be true for members of minority religions, who may see entanglement of the majority religion with government as a way to promote the majority religion and eliminate their own.

    People who want secularism, in the sense of a separation of religion and government, may feel that their own cultural traditions and beliefs are at risk if the majority religion is able to pass laws based on its version of reality, which excludes their own version of reality.

  22. #72
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mamouth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    That's a pretty strong assertion about atheist and secularist attitudes and would need evidence to back it up.
    most often, atheist orgnisations/communist/socialist parties seem to take either an indifference or eliminative approach to traditional belief practices. they invariable fail to acknowledge the symbolic/cultural politics inherent in those practices as such. they also take an instrumentalist approach to beliefs only when they have an apparent social meaning.
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  23. #73
    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    most often, atheist orgnisations/communist/socialist parties seem to take either an indifference or eliminative approach to traditional belief practices. they invariable fail to acknowledge the symbolic/cultural politics inherent in those practices as such. they also take an instrumentalist approach to beliefs only when they have an apparent social meaning.
    You're repeating your earlier assertion. That's not evidence. Could you please instance such organizations and explain why you think they speak for the majority of atheists and secularists.
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  24. #74
    Wicked chicken AW Moderator evilrooster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    most often, atheist orgnisations/communist/socialist parties seem to take either an indifference or eliminative approach to traditional belief practices. they invariable fail to acknowledge the symbolic/cultural politics inherent in those practices as such.
    I would be very interested in evidence to back up the quantitative and absolutist points I've bolded in your comment. Neither tallies with my experience.

    For instance, in neither of the two countries I've lived in with substantial socialist parties (Scotland and the Netherlands) do those parties advocate for the elimination of Sinterklaas, Christmas, Easter, Hemelvaart, or any of the other religiously-oriented festivals as national cultural events.

    At times they, along with other left-wing parties (the SNP, Labour, GroenLinks, PvdA, etc -- many of which have socialist leanings) have advocated changes to the amount to which those holidays are also public or statutory days off. But that's primarily argued as an accommodation for members of minority religions and cultures, who would like as much right to take time off for Eid, Rosh Hashana and Diwali as their Christian-cultural colleagues and classmates have for Christmas and Easter. I've never seen any mainstream political party advocate for the elimination of official recognition of religious holidays to cater to the sensitivities of atheists.

    Indeed, in the vast range of political views I have seen advocated from various party platforms, ranging from "women should not run for political office" to "animals should have equal rights with humans" (both platforms of parties with representatives in the Dutch Tweede Kamer), it's almost surprising how silent everyone is on the topic.

    (For the record, I am a member in good standing of a minority sect of the majority religion in my country of residence. I am also a strong secularist, because I think that the association of religion and government tends to corrupt religion.)


    Quote Originally Posted by mamouth View Post
    they also take an instrumentalist approach to beliefs only when they have an apparent social meaning.
    I can't parse this sentence. Can you restate it, preferably with examples? Thanks.
    Last edited by evilrooster; 01-21-2013 at 08:00 PM. Reason: clarifying
    An excerpt from Bigglethwaite & Windemere's Manual of Proper and Exquisite English on the Capitalisation of Historical Events.

    The capitalisation of historical terms is a matter of concern to many writers. The rule, though simple, requires and reveals the writer's judgment, opinions, and preconceptions, and should be applied with care:


    1. Matters of absolute importance should be capitalised.
    2. Matters of no wider historical import should have only their proper nouns capitalised.
    3. Matters which the author not only considers insignificant, but wishes had never occurred, should have all words rendered in lower-case.
    4. If the writer looks upon history as a kind of fantastical territory, and wishes to assert either that it is wildly unlikely or highly distorted, all matters that can be considered nouns of any sort should be capitalised


    B&W 2:14

  25. #75
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Please remember:

    "Broader discussions will naturally arise and will not be considered off topic so long as:
    --they do not directly, or by implication, require atheists or non-theists to defend the rationality or virtue of their beliefs, and
    --they do not bash, rant about, or morally disparage any mainstream philosophical or religious position."

    This includes making broad generalization about what members of any/either group want to do unless you can reference an actual manifesto every member of that group has signed up to.

    Any further gross generalization will be deleted and I remind you that this is the atheism room. You may want to take some discussion about the hostile plans of atheists to some other general discussion room.

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