Posts tagged Secularism

"I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me, keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less than I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I’m capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me and I’ve concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score is me.”
Concluding words from Mythbuster Adam Savage's speech at the Reason Rally in Washington on March 24th 2012. Full text here. Video here.

"I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me, keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less than I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I’m capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me and I’ve concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score is me.”

Concluding words from Mythbuster Adam Savage's speech at the Reason Rally in Washington on March 24th 2012. Full text here. Video here.

National Secular Society’s Secular Charter

The National Secular Society campaigns for a secular state, where:

a)  There is no established state religion.
b)  There is one law for all and its application is not hindered or replaced by religious codes or processes.
c)  Individuals are neither disadvantaged nor discriminated against because of their religion or belief, or lack thereof.
d)  Freedom of expression is not restricted by religious considerations.
e)  Neither the state, nor any emanation of the state, expresses religious beliefs or preferences.
f)  Religion plays no role in state-funded education, whether through religious affiliation, organised worship, religious instruction, pupil selection or employment discrimination.
g)  The state does not engage in, fund or promote religious activities or practices.
h)  Public and publicly-funded service provision does not discriminate on grounds of religion or belief.
i)  There is no privileged position in society or advantage in law for any individual or group by virtue of their religion or belief, or lack thereof.
j)  The state does not intervene in the setting of religious doctrine or the running of religious organisations.

Leave hold of the doctrinaire and allow your chainless mind to do its own thinking.
Robert G Ingersoll (1833-1899) on “What I want for Christmas”
"If I had the power to produce exactly what I want for next Christmas, I would have all the kings and emperors resign and allow the people to govern themselves.  I would have all the nobility crop their titles and give their lands back to the people.
I would have the Pope throw away his tiara, take off his sacred vestments, and admit that he is not                           acting for God - is not infallible - but is just an ordinary Italian.
I would have all the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and clergymen admit that they know nothing about theology, nothing about hell or heaven, nothing about the destiny of the human race, nothing about devils or ghosts, gods or angels.  I would have them tell all their “flocks” to think for themselves, to be manly men and womanly women, and to do all in their power to increase the sum of human happiness.
I would have all the professors in colleges, all the teachers in schools of every kind, including those in Sunday schools, agree that they would teach only what they know, that they would not palm off guesses as demonstrated truths.
I would like to see all the politicians changed to statesmen, - to men who long to make their country great and free, - to men who care more for public good than private gain - men who long to be of use.
I would like to see all the editors of papers and magazines agree to print the truth and nothing but the truth, to avoid all slander and misrepresentation, and to let the private affairs of the people alone.
I would like to see drunkenness and prohibition both abolished.
I would like to see corporal punishment done away with in every home, in every school, in every asylum, reformatory, and prison.  Cruelty hardens and degrades, kindness reforms and ennobles.
I would like to see the millionaires unite and form a trust for the public good.  I would like to see a fair division of profits between capital and labor, so that the toiler could save enough to mingle a little June with the December of his life.
I would like to see an international court established in which to settle disputes between nations, so that armies could be disbanded and the great navies allowed to rust and rot in perfect peace.
I would like to see the whole world free - free from injustice - free from superstition.
This will do for next Christmas.  The following Christmas, I may want more.” 
The Arena,      Boston, December 1897

Robert G Ingersoll (1833-1899) on “What I want for Christmas”

"If I had the power to produce exactly what I want for next Christmas, I would have all the kings and emperors resign and allow the people to govern themselves.  I would have all the nobility crop their titles and give their lands back to the people.

I would have the Pope throw away his tiara, take off his sacred vestments, and admit that he is not acting for God - is not infallible - but is just an ordinary Italian.

I would have all the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and clergymen admit that they know nothing about theology, nothing about hell or heaven, nothing about the destiny of the human race, nothing about devils or ghosts, gods or angels.  I would have them tell all their “flocks” to think for themselves, to be manly men and womanly women, and to do all in their power to increase the sum of human happiness.

I would have all the professors in colleges, all the teachers in schools of every kind, including those in Sunday schools, agree that they would teach only what they know, that they would not palm off guesses as demonstrated truths.

I would like to see all the politicians changed to statesmen, - to men who long to make their country great and free, - to men who care more for public good than private gain - men who long to be of use.

I would like to see all the editors of papers and magazines agree to print the truth and nothing but the truth, to avoid all slander and misrepresentation, and to let the private affairs of the people alone.

I would like to see drunkenness and prohibition both abolished.

I would like to see corporal punishment done away with in every home, in every school, in every asylum, reformatory, and prison.  Cruelty hardens and degrades, kindness reforms and ennobles.

I would like to see the millionaires unite and form a trust for the public good.  I would like to see a fair division of profits between capital and labor, so that the toiler could save enough to mingle a little June with the December of his life.

I would like to see an international court established in which to settle disputes between nations, so that armies could be disbanded and the great navies allowed to rust and rot in perfect peace.

I would like to see the whole world free - free from injustice - free from superstition.

This will do for next Christmas.  The following Christmas, I may want more.”

The Arena, Boston, December 1897

Dublin Declaration on secularism and the place of religion in public life

On Sunday 5 June 2011, the World Atheist Convention in Dublin discussed and adopted the following declaration on secularism and the place of religion in public life:

1. Personal Freedoms
(a) Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are private and unlimited. Freedom to practice religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others.
(b) All people should be free to participate equally in the democratic process.
(c) Freedom of expression should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others. There should be no right ‘not to be offended’ in law. All blasphemy laws, whether explicit or implicit, should be repealed and should not be enacted.

2. Secular Democracy
(a) The sovereignty of the State is derived from the people and not from any god or gods.
(b) The only reference in the constitution to religion should be an assertion that the State is secular. (c) The State should be based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Public policy should be formed by applying reason, and not religious faith, to evidence.
(d) Government should be secular. The state should be strictly neutral in matters of religion and its absence, favouring none and discriminating against none.
(e) Religions should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status for religious activities, or grants to promote religion or run faith schools.
(f) Membership of a religion should not be a basis for appointing a person to any State position.
(g) The law should neither grant nor refuse any right, privilege, power or immunity, on the basis of faith or religion or the absence of either.

3. Secular Education
(a) State education should be secular. Religious education, if it happens, should be limited to education about religion and its absence.
(b) Children should be taught about the diversity of religious and nonreligious philosophical beliefs in an objective manner, with no faith formation in school hours.
(c) Children should be educated in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge. Science should be taught free from religious interference.

4. One Law For All
(a) There should be one secular law for all, democratically decided and evenly enforced, with no jurisdiction for religious courts to settle civil matters or family disputes.
(b) The law should not criminalise private conduct because the doctrine of any religion deems such conduct to be immoral, if that private conduct respects the rights and freedoms of others.
(c) Employers or social service providers with religious beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on any grounds not essential to the job in question.

Joss Whedon receives the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism at Harvard University’s Memorial Church, 10th April 2009.

"The enemy of Humanism is not Faith. The enemy of Humanism is hate, is fear, is ignorance, is the darker part of man - that is in every Humanist, in every person in the world. That is the thing we have to fight. Faith is something we have to embrace."

"Faith in God means believing absolutely in something with no proof whatsoever. Faith in humanity means believing absolutely in something with a huge amount of proof to the contrary. We are the true believers."

Richard Dawkins answers a question about atheists lacking any source of “absolute morality”.

"The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include what - stoning people for adultery? Death for apostacy? Punishment for breaking the Sabbath? These are all things which are religiously based absolute moralities.

I don’t think I want an absolute morality. I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed and based upon… could almost say ‘intelligent design’.

Can we not design our society which has the sort of morality, the sort of society that we want to live in? If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people, among 21st Century people: we don’t believe in slavery anymore, we believe in equality of women, we believe in being gentle, we believe in being kind to animals. These are all things which are entirely recent. They have very little basis in Biblical or Koranic scripture. They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. These do not come from religion.

To the extent that you can find the good bits in religious scriptures you have to cherry-pick. You search your way through the Bible or the Koran and you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality and you say ‘look at that, that’s religion!’ and you leave out all the horrible bits and you say ‘oh, we don’t believe that any more, we’ve grown out of that’. Well of course we’ve grown out of it! We’ve grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion.”