Sunday, March 18, 2007

Secularism and Anti-Religious Atheism

I am an atheist. I'm an anti-religious atheist. But I'm also a secularist.

I'm a secularist in the First Amendment sense:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
No law. Full stop. No conditions, no exceptions.

Furthermore, I'll go the First Amendment one better: I do not support any coercion regarding religion beyond rational, critical analysis and my personal disapproval. I won't boycott an organization because of the religious beliefs of its management or ownership. I won't refuse to trade, I won't march, demonstrate or picket on purely religious grounds.

Of course, I distinguish religion from politics. I consider "religion" to be unfalsifiable beliefs about the nature of God. I consider politics to be any attempt to control, regulate, promote or discourage actual behavior. I'm not against controlling behavior per se (I definitely think that we should control and discourage the behavior of those who would rob, steal, rape and murder), but as a citizen in a democracy, I'm going to fully participate in our moral and legal discourse, and use whatever means permitted by law and custom, coercive or not, to advance my views.

But I am anti-religious. I do in fact consider religion to be not only false, but malignantly false. I don't consider all (or even most) religious people to be evil, but I do consider all of them to be mistaken in a way that does in fact promote evil to some degree. Since my argument is indirect and subtle, and since I myself might well be mistaken, I call only those people evil who are directly malicious.

I'm direct and blunt in my speech. I call God-belief the equivalent of belief in an invisible sky fairy. I'm not stupid, though, nor am I poorly-read: I understand that many people have a construction of God considerably more subtle than that. On the other hand, I think that such subtle constructions are vacuous, and therefore philosophical bullshit.

1 comment:

  1. "I am anti-religious. I do in fact consider religion to be not only false, but malignantly false. I don't consider all (or even most) religious people to be evil, but I do consider all of them to be mistaken in a way that does in fact promote evil to some degree."

    Spot-on! But extremely difficult to convince the Panglossian people who only want to see the best in everything, even when they don't believe it themselves.

    I'm old enough to remember, as a child, all the complacent people in the 1930s who said Hitler wasn't such a bad chap really. Thank goodness we had Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt then - not bombastic Bush and self-deluding Blair.

    Keep up your good work!

    ReplyDelete

Please pick a handle or moniker for your comment. It's much easier to address someone by a name or pseudonym than simply "hey you". I have the option of requiring a "hard" identity, but I don't want to turn that on... yet.

With few exceptions, I will not respond or reply to anonymous comments, and I may delete them. I keep a copy of all comments; if you want the text of your comment to repost with something vaguely resembling an identity, email me.

No spam, pr0n, commercial advertising, insanity, lies, repetition or off-topic comments. Creationists, Global Warming deniers, anti-vaxers, Randians, and Libertarians are automatically presumed to be idiots; Christians and Muslims might get the benefit of the doubt, if I'm in a good mood.

See the Debate Flowchart for some basic rules.

Sourced factual corrections are always published and acknowledged.

I will respond or not respond to comments as the mood takes me. See my latest comment policy for details. I am not a pseudonomous-American: my real name is Larry.

Comments may be moderated from time to time. When I do moderate comments, anonymous comments are far more likely to be rejected.

I've already answered some typical comments.

I have jqMath enabled for the blog. If you have a dollar sign (\$) in your comment, put a \\ in front of it: \\\$, unless you want to include a formula in your comment.