Religion has drawn their lines -- Secularism hasn't defined theirs

Brian Worley


Secularists bristle whenever it's implied that they can't possibly be moral without religion. We resent this because it is both untrue and unfair. We have a different anchor (thus far undefined) that isn't based upon religion. Let's get this out of the way -- Secularists can be good or bad without God just as well as the religious can be good or bad with God. All of us are subject to the law (judicial codes) which has drawn the lines between right and wrong. These are usually necessary though we may disagree about some of them. As we know, there are many things that aren't addressed yet by law or that are unlikely to advance to that point for various reasons. Religious traditions/revelation have drawn their own lines of what is right and wrong. Secularist on the other hand don't have any extra-curricular morality lines drawn for themselves beyond the common judicial codes we share. Morality without definition is vague, an thus there isn't anything of substance for the faithful to quantify concerning secular claims upon morality. Minus documentation, it is easier for the faithful to question secularist's capacity for morality. There is a vacuum here ripe for contempt. I choose not to fuel that flame.

Great societies have advanced in part because they aren't stopping to argue about the drawing of the lines. As a secularist, I ask myself do I want to draw up our own secular lines? Then I think of all of the haggling and consternation that would bring because there is little secularists agree upon. Religion has already drawn their lines, and I say good for them. Do we want two societies? I defer to Durant and Santayana here because this isn't feasible or sustainable. What I really want is the freedom and liberty of self determination without a governmental or religious chain. I've concluded that as an American citizen that I am in my element and have adapted to my environment. 

This post was extracted from "What Aggressive Secularism Does to Society"  which has recently been posted upon the Ex-Minister website. This article is a re-write of something I wrote three and a half years ago entitled "Will Secularism Destroy Society?" The first few paragraphs, like before, are anchored by Durant & Santayana though 60% of the article afterwards is new material. I felt compelled of the great need to better apply these two great writers.

Anyone that has spent much time upon our two websites knows that this writer has been a great admirer of the Humanist Manifesto III and the work of Paul Kurtz. Occasionally, I will attend secular movement events in the DC area. Last year, I went to a CFI event with A.C. Grayling (which I enjoyed). After his speech, in the Q & A session, a CFI staffer asked Grayling a question to the affect of "What do you feel about manifestos?"

I don't recall anything that alarmed me about Grayling's answer, but the overall sense from the crowd and the tone of the question struck me as to the outlook for secularism to unapologetically own, abide, and it's desire to have their lines drawn by secular documents such as "The Humanist Manifesto III." I write the way I do (critical of secularism...though I am a secular American) because I wonder where the lines are? I see organized secularism having obliterated the manifesto's outline.

I'm sure some will say that it is the residue of religion & revelation that I carry into secularism. To this I would respond that I would rather work for a cause that I believe in rather than be lazy, shirk responsibility or be distracted by arguing where the lines are.


Brian Worley     July 20, 2014     All rights reserved!


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