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Secular Society

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This topic contains 189 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Pastor_Jason Pastor_Jason 4 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 190 total)
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  • #833
    Avatar of Chapel_Perilous
    Chapel_Perilous
    Participant

    I have always been interested in how it would be to live in a Secular Society, or in other words a society that is not mosque, church, or synagogue affiliated. Some of the best affirmations I have read for this kind of society that I have seen were created by Paul Kurtz, founder of the Council for Secular Humanism. Below is this list:

    • We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.
    • We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.
    • We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.
    • We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
    • We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.
    • We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
    • We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
    • We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.
    • We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.
    • We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.
    • We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.
    • We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.
    • We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.
    • We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.
    • We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.
    • We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.
    • We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.
    • We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.
    • We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.
    • We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.
    • We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings.

    I see this idea of a Seasteading as a perfect oppurtunity to try this type of a society and would love to hear others opinions as to whether or not this is a possible option or if discriminating against one’s supernatural beliefs is out of the question…

    Thanks!

    Glen

    #5146
    Avatar of bkemper
    bkemper
    Participant

    The true issue is tolerance. The trick of free speech, freedom of religion, etc. is not that you are allowed to practice what you wish, but rather to accept others practicing or believing differently than you. There is no difference between forcing everyone to wear a religious symbol and banning religious symbols — both are intolerance with roots in “knowing the what is best for everyone.” Spiritual people can’t prove their deities exist, but neither can athiests prove the deities don’t exist — both are matters of faith.

    I honestly don’t think there will be enough free time and energy for this to be as devisive as whether or not a person or group of people are pulling their weight, at least if there is an overwhelming consensus and dedication to such freedoms. Groups highly focussed on survival and being in a hazardous endeavor have more immediate concerns.

    Bart Kemper, P.E.

    #5150
    Avatar of Eelco
    Eelco
    Participant

    I see this idea of a Seasteading as a perfect oppurtunity to try this type of a society and would love to hear others opinions as to whether or not this is a possible option or if discriminating against one’s supernatural beliefs is out of the question…

    You are free to discriminate as you wish, you are free to join or start any society of your choosing.

    Personally, id think twice before joining a society built around that list. It sounds motivated more by a dislike of a certain dogma rather than a dislike for dogmas in general, or a love for freedom.

    Any society id join (or seed) would establish as its first principle the sovereignity of the individual, and would whitelist only a very limited set of powers which would be delegated to the sovereignity of the collective.

    Under such circumstances, metaphysical beliefs in others dont bother me as much. Still, if presented with a choice between two such communities, one that reads Hume to their children at bedtime, and one the bible, i wouldnt have to think a second.

    In summary: i dont want to be a part of a society that seeks to control personal beliefs in a top-down fashion. At the same time, id be very biased in my choices of association towards people with a similar distaste of metaphysics.

    #5159
    Avatar of bkemper
    bkemper
    Participant

    We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.

    I’ve seen mass graves of people killed by people with a given religious belief.

    I’ve seen mass graves of people killed by people with no specific religious belief.

    I’ve seen mass graves of people killed by people with avowed non-belief in any religious or spiritual form, and did so in the name of the enlighted good of the community.

    The common element — people killed people.

    To blame a belief, or lack of belief, on the very human acts of cruelty, hate, etc. is highly prejudiced and short sighted. The values espoused in the initial post are, by and large, laudable. So are the values espoused by most of the religious and spiritual faiths. Its the people, the humans, than muck it up and fail to live up the ideals. Having blind optimistic faith that a new set of beliefs that reject a previous set of beliefs will erase the failings of humanity so only the glorious parts are left….is the same thing that created the aforementioned mass graves.

    I don’t like mass graves. I like the people that create them far, far less.

    Bart Kemper, P.E.

    #5163
    Avatar of Chapel_Perilous
    Chapel_Perilous
    Participant

    One of the main things that I would like to get away from is the fact that the President of United States can go on national television and tell everyone that “God” told him to go to war with Iraq. In my personal opinion…this is absolute insanity. The most important person in our nation is saying that some supernatural force has come down and spoke with him telling him to go and invade another country. Ok…now that just serious worries me for the future of my family if this country is allow this type of behavior.

    I will say that it would be fine for everyone to believe what they wanted in this type of environment as long as everyone got along with each other, but when it comes down to the important decisions for everyone as a whole, I think the supernatural theory should be left at the door. Maybe it would have been better if I would have said “Secular Government” but I guess I was thinking more of the first trial runs of this idea.

    I wish to see people doing good for humanity as a whole and for future generations, not good only for their own sake hoping they will be reaching some fantasy land after they die. I want people focused on the here and now, not on the sky and death…

    I understand everyone’s worldview is different and do not expect everyone to agree with mine. ;)

    Glen

    #5178
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Glen,

    Judging by your comments and my forum name, I’d say we’re on two different sides of the argument. I am very happy to post and not argue with you. I agree with what you say. It doesn’t bother me that a President felt prompted by God to do something, in our nation’s history this has been a blessing to our leadership… it bothers me because G.W. heard it. The man’s actions speak louder than his words of faith and he should not have invoked God’s name.

    My largest fear is not religious fanatics… after-all I would likely be stereo-typed as a religious fanatic. My fear is the growing numbers of people who blame the faults of the world on “people of faith”. After all it takes just as much faith NOT to believe in some form of metaphysical reality than it does to have a thought about “spiritual things”. Russia’s history is a prime example of what evil can be done by humanity without invoking the name of God. I see the world turning violently against those who would cling to their faith. Eventually this violence will turn on me and those like me.

    I would like to see society hold to the ideals of Voltaire, which influenced the founding fathers of the U.S. To steal his thoughts, “I might not agree with what you have to say Glen, but I will die for your right to say it.” I am sure we’d be very good neighbors in the event that we end up on the same Seastead. Perhaps we of different faiths, beliefs and understandings could forge a new union that truly was a step in the direction of ‘more perfect’. I am sure that it would be built on the foundations of mutual respect, patience and individual freedoms.

    Should those freedoms come under attack, I would be proud to fight next to you. Should your life be threatened I would gladly sacrifice myself so that you might live on. Should you fall instead, it would be my honor to fulfill your commitments and support those you leave behind.

    I am just as happy to remain silent about my faith and allow those around me to see my faith in action as I am to share my faith when someone genuinely inquires. Think there is room for such a man on any of your Seasteads? I pray the answer remains a consistent “Yes”, but I mourn for the days coming when it will be an emphatic “No”.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5186
    Avatar of Chapel_Perilous
    Chapel_Perilous
    Participant

    In my personal opinion there is a difference between believing there is a God of the Universe alone and believing there is a God of the Universe that is speaking to you personally. I can wholeheartily understand why someone would believe in a creator. There are several arguments people use to justify this claim ranging from the wonders of the world to the intricities of the human body. But at the same time, these same arguments about the world and the human body can be used against the biblical version of God. It is just one of those things that we will more than likely never be able to prove.

    Now…when people claim they are receiving direct communication from God, this is where it gets a bit loopy and crazy to me. I was raised Mormon and I know what they say about communications with God. For one, only the leaders of the Church receive revelation from God. I am sure most all the other churches operate pretty much on this same idea. Now lets realize there are over 20,000 different registered Christian denominations in the United States alone…you would think if God is speaking to the leaders of these churches…he might get them to work together and stop saying their denomination is the correct one and all others are hogwash. All I can say about the leaders of all of these different churches is that they are brilliant men…brilliant because they have found a way to make a ton of money by deceiving people and not telling them the full story, including all of its atrocities, of the book they profess has all the answers…

    Now I understand your comments on fighting for everyone’s right to believe what they want to, and I agree. I wish it were that simple. I just can’t turn a blind eye when I see the types of people who are influencing the leaders of our country saying they are receiving special knowledge from the supernatural realm. Also I cannot turn a blind eye to an organization trying to squeeze intelligent design or creationism in my son’s science class when neither one of these things have anything to do with science. I all for there being a religious traditions class in school that teaches about all the world’s relgions. Finally, I cannot turn a blind eye when I see what a country looks like when it is run by a particular faith, i.e. Islam in the Middle East.

    Sincerely,

    Glen

    #5188
    Avatar of Eelco
    Eelco
    Participant

    Jason:

    Wise words, but I object to the classification of the rejection of metaphysics as a belief. Surely, it is an arbitrary choice on my part which i could never hope to deduce from shared premises, but not one of the same kind as a belief in god. I am not taking any position as to the existence of god. I merely ask: make tangible to me why i should even dwell on this question? Should i also dwell on the invisible pink unicorn, and all the infinite possible variations thereof? My response to these questions is best stated like this: i am simply not a creature that takes an interest in question of this kind.

    That said, I think we would make great neighbors. I look forward to the day in which it might be so.

    #5204
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Eelco,

    I agree, your worldview would best be described as faithless (not a negative, just a description) rather than as having a particular faith. Do need to borrow any sugar?

    Chapel,

    I do “hear from God”, so if you’d like me to tie you in on 3-way for a conversation just send me a PM. No prosletizing, I promise. To touch on a couple of points:

    • I agree that the influence on our national leaders (from rightwing religious nutheads or left wing neo-evolution liberals) needs to stop. They need to start trying anything and everything at the same time to get something in this country working again.
    • Evolution is just as provable as Creationism. Honestly, I like evolution to be taught in school. I’d like to see Creationism taught next to it. I enjoyed watching Ben Stein’s expelled where Richard Dawkins (evolution’s number one man) say that in the end, some ‘creationist event’ very likely started everything.
    • As for education about religions in school, we already have that. We’ve learned the pillars of faith for the major religions of the world but we still don’t have the Christian ideas presented in those classes. Can anyone tell me why that is a “fair” religous education?
    • As for countries run by a particular religious faith, how many of them build into their structure a freedom to practice any religion? Now it appears that we are free to practice any religion except the Christian faith that was the very foundation of our nation. I still agree, a completely “Christian” nation would be just as dangerous as any of the others, which is why individual liberty on this issue is so important.

    You’ll find that there are many of us who do not use the church as a source of income. As for the 20,000 denominations I think you’d be surprised how well many of us get along. There is little to no difference between many of us and we each bring different strengths to the table.

    I hope you do not represent my very worst fear… a neighbor who would gladly sell me and my family out because of our labels. I am sorry that we’ve become an inconvenience for you. Aside from our beliefs causing you distress I am sure we would make the very best neighbors. Are we to be ignored and our thoughts and arguements to be dismissed just because we wear a label that our culture educates in the negative? Would you sit idlely by while we get rounded up and a “solution” is found to the “Christian problem”?

    My hopes are the answer would be no and that all people would stand and fight such evil behavior. Why is it that I don’t think this will be the case? Judge for yourself.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5206
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant




    Long time lurker…first time poster!

    I too would envision a completely secular society…I won’t go into my reasons for disliking religion. But I do want to touch on the idea behind “freedom of religion”.

    I think one has to separate “faith” with “organized religion”. I believe that every person has a right to think a certain way. I may not agree with it…I may actually strongly believe that a certain belief borders on insanity…but as long as you keep your religious beliefs to yourself and practice them in the privacy of your own home I have no right to stop you.

    I do have a serious problem with organized religious groups…groups of people who have set themselves up as metaphysical masters and have established a hierarchy with the sole purpose of “leading the sheep”. This is usually for purely financial reasons. It is this type of system that I would prevent in any society I had a hand in forming.

    One person’s belief has never caused humanity any problems. It is only when groups of people manipulate those beliefs for their own gain that problems arise.

    #5244
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    So, I would have the freedom to believe what-ever I want as long as I keep it to myself. What you are saying is NO to:

    • Freedom of speech (because you don’t want to hear it)
    • Freedom to meet (because it’s when we group together that the problems start)
    • Freedom to contribute/financially support (because you don’t deem it to be a valid profession)
    • Freedom to proselytize (because people always know when they need help… riiight)

    I was under the impression that Wayne and Patri had attracted mostly libertarians, but these are not the ideals of freedom and liberty. I see here a desire to oppress and suppress. Blanket statements are made regarding all religions rather than judging an individual on merits. This is discrimination of the worst kind… the discrimination of old before we cared much about color, the oppression of expression of belief.

    Now, for the record: I work full-time in a non-religious job. I do not make a living off of my congregation. I DO give of my income to support people who do earn their living off the finances of our religious institution (much like Patri and Wayne do from this institution… anyone feel like demonizing them for it? Unlike a religious group that HAS built a structure and currently provides a benefit to society, Patri and Wayne currently make plans and allow us to have input into the discussion). Did I discuss starting a seastead where we burn works of Darwin and screenplays like Rent? (btw- favorite show!)

    I can tolerate any lifestyle choices from my neighbors save one. A lifestyle that does not tolerate my own. I apologize that my faith would be so harmful to some of you. I’m sorry that religious people have hurt you or hurt those you know. I’m very sorry that I won’t be allowed on your Seasteads, I had hoped to contribute so all of our lives would be better.

    One last question. Would you (your seastead) trade with me? Could we at least interact on an economic basis? I assure you, my bio-fuel (though prayed over and thus, in some minds, possibly blessed) burns just fine in your emergency engines. What interaction would your societies have with a religious free-floating neighbor?

    Live Well!

    -Jason

    #5303
    Avatar of W.JamesTaylor
    W.JamesTaylor
    Participant

    I would be interested in a secular society, devoid of religion. Religion has been an organizing principle in most societies. There is no wonder global societies are in decline. While some religions affirm a hierarchal structure that breeds elitism and social stratification, others use religion as a banner for nation-state oppression. Religion cannot become such an organizing principle in Sea Steading communities.

    People in such a society would still retain their beliefs and would be free to organize for worship, but without direct support from any governing body. I believe in everyone’s inherent right to participate in their religious beliefs, but we cannot repeat the mistakes of the Bush Administration using religion as a guise for oppression or tyrannical acts, such as using religion to justify denying funding and aid for reproductive health (Obama overturned Bush’s “Gag rule” policy) or foreign intervention for expanding capital markets and gaining access to resources.

    Additionally, religion takes a similar turn in some Muslim communities. This is definitely not to say ALL Muslim societies become oppressive. Islam is a beautiful religion that preaches peace and tolerance. Just like Christianity, those in power can always manipulate relgious fervor to alternate ends. Islam does not preach “Death to the Great Satan!” Fundamentalist Iranian Clerics, for example, manipulate the messages of Islam to rally popular support. The operative word for any religion is “fundamentalism”. Unfortunately, fundamentalism is the nexus of the State and religion.

    W. James Taylor

    Asst. Director of Debate

    Emporia State University

    #5304
    Avatar of horton
    horton
    Participant

    In the theory of geographically dynamic government, you could have a secular society or a religious fundamentalist society if you wanted. The main thing is that it would be your choice which society you decided on. Banning religion, BTW, is a form of religion in and of itself, no less fundamentalist than the mullahs of Iran.

    What is problematic are political figures of any breed who want to hold other people captive to their beliefs. In that sense the American Congress isn’t much different than the Taliban. It has enacted a federal coup to enforce a single, unitary point of view onto the people of America and the States. Remember that the Taliban has widespread public support in Southern Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan, just like the US federal government has widespread support among defense contractors, pharma companies, lobbiests, and government unions.

    #5305
    Avatar of Carl-Pålsson
    Carl-Pålsson
    Participant

    W.JamesTaylor wrote:
    …but we cannot repeat the mistakes of the Bush Administration using religion as a guise for oppression or tyrannical acts, such as using religion to justify denying funding and aid for reproductive health

    I was under the impression that what Bush did was to stop the state from using tax dollars for this end. There was no ban on private companies doing such research using private money. At least that is how I understand it. In other words what he did was to limit the state. Not the people. I believe the state should be limited. I could be wrong about the situation though, but that is how I read it.

    On the subject, on my seastead I would like peoples’ right to believe whatever they want, no matter how stupid or erroneous, to be respected. The only thing that should be banned is the initiation of force (ie aggression). And perhaps drilling holes in the hull. Other seasteads can have whatever rules they please, no matter how draconian, as long as people are allowed to leave.

    #5309
    Avatar of Pastor_Jason
    Pastor_Jason
    Participant

    Fundamentalism is not the combination of government with religion. Fundamentalism is accepting a literal understanding of a text as holy and faultless. So the Fundamentalist Islamic Clerics statement that we are “the Great Satan” does not fit the fundamentalist label.

    I can’t remember the last time a religious group in the western world was offered direct support from the government.

    If religion truly is the downfall of society, why is it only in the last 50 years that we’ve seen our nation on the decline? If religion truly were the cause shouldn’t this have caused a cumbling of our society back during the founding of the U.S. when religion was the very basis for our laws, legal system, and method of government?

    Though I agree that the Bush Administration should have never used God as an excuse for it’s actions, why not reference all of the other presidents who referenced God as a foundation for their decision making? A short sighted view of history is beneficial only in convincing oneself of something.

    If a secular society is started on a seastead my hope would be that you would allow people of faith to join with you in the great work of nation building. I think everyone would benefit from such an arrangement.

    Live Well!

    -Jason

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