An Atheist Christmas Special

Theomorph presents an interesting view on sacred versus profane Christmas debates. Unlike a lot of secularists, he’s not hostile toward religious expression. Perhaps it’s because he was once Christian. Then again, maybe he’s just a nice guy. 😉

On a somewhat related note, here’s an article about the growing popularity of Festivus.

Comments 10

  1. theomorph wrote:

    Also, I mostly fit Jerry’s definition of “rabidly anti-religion,” but I also believe in individual rights and freedoms of belief, so my anti-religion won’t ever keep anyone from practicing their religion. I.e., if you ask me, I think Christianity is full-o-crap, but I’m not going to assume everyone (or anyone) agrees me, nor will I try to brainwash you until you agree. :-)

    Posted 24 Dec 2004 at 1:57 am
  2. Steve N wrote:

    Huh, John?

    I would define a secularist and someone who believes that through the sustained application of reason we can understand and improve the world in which we live.

    Doesn’t this just describe an ordinary garden variety thoughtful person? All the thoughtful (and therefore best) Christians I know think precisely that “through the sustained application of reason we can understand and improve the world in which we live.” They are hardly “secularists”, or at least I’ve been led to believe.

    Could you define secularist in a way that doesn’t simply define yourself and/or everybody else whose opinions you respect? Are there any rules (besides being rational and wanting to improve the world) that, if broken, can get folks kicked out of the Secularists Club?

    Thanks!

    Posted 24 Dec 2004 at 2:46 am
  3. theomorph wrote:

    I also fit John’s definition, although “improve” is subjective.

    Posted 24 Dec 2004 at 1:53 am
  4. Jerry wrote:

    I beg to differ that Theo’s friendliness towards religion is due to being an ex-Christian. That lot tends to be the most rabidly anti-religion!

    Posted 23 Dec 2004 at 10:17 pm
  5. John wrote:

    I would define a secularist and someone who believes that through the sustained application of reason we can understand and improve the world in which we live.

    I suppose the necessary corollary to that is that we can achieve these ends more effectively through the application of reason than through the adherence to religious texts.

    Posted 23 Dec 2004 at 10:50 pm
  6. theomorph wrote:

    If by “secularist” you mean “somebody who believes a non-religious society is better than a religious one,” then I am a secularist.

    If by “secularist” you mean “somebody who works tirelessly to cleanse a society of religion,” then I am not a secularist.

    Posted 23 Dec 2004 at 9:34 pm
  7. John wrote:

    Most important point. I do not want anyone, at any time, to think that I in any way enjoy, condone, or even tolerate Ayn Rand.

    Posted 24 Dec 2004 at 10:04 pm
  8. Steve N wrote:

    Ooops…. I missed your qualifier:

    I suppose the necessary corollary to that is that we can achieve these ends more effectively through the application of reason than through the adherence to religious texts.

    I guess I was so busy picking my jaw off from the first sentence, that I neglected the second…. Though I wouldn’t say that this is a corollary, but rather a necessary part of your definition.

    So a secularist is someone who thinks religious texts are inherently irrational? More irrational than texts from, say, Plato? Voltaire? Nietzsche? Marx? Ayn Rand?

    Best regards

    Posted 24 Dec 2004 at 2:53 am
  9. John wrote:

    Sorry, that needed its own post.

    That said; a secularist need not believe that all religious texts are irrational. In fact, such a belief would be indictative of lax reasoning.

    However, reason will not be made subordinate to religious texts. If careful observation reveals a heliocentric solar system, we will not allow a theologean to overrule that observation.

    If careful study shows that living organisms evolve over time, we will not let preachers veto that observation.

    A secularist lives in a mechanistic world governed my knowable natural laws.

    He believs in government guided by the principle that reason should be used to advance justice and liberty, not that law should be an instrument of theological morality.

    This is not a cogent deffinition, but I think it at least expands on my idea.

    Posted 24 Dec 2004 at 10:17 pm
  10. Steve N wrote:

    Well, I s’pose he can answer himself, but is Theo really a “secularist”? It isn’t necessarily a synonym for atheism. I dunno but secularism is often considered a very “Christian” heresy. And most of its adherents are usually mainline Protestants…

    My $0.02

    Posted 23 Dec 2004 at 9:18 pm

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