Secular Activism vs Atheist Evangelism

Excellent post — definitely worth reading. A couple of quotes that stand out:

Everyone in this world probably believes a silly thing, or two, or three, and while I do agree that silly and untrue things should be debunked, I no longer feel they should be debunked whenever possible. They should be debunked whenever appropriate.

It takes a high level of integrity to actively fight for principle, even if you disagree with the position.

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31 thoughts on “Secular Activism vs Atheist Evangelism”

  1. This just in:

    Today President Obama issued a proclamation on Religious Freedom Day — and for the first time in years he expressly included nonbelievers. “Today, America embraces people of all faiths and of no faith. We are Christians and Jews, Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics. […] What makes us American is our adherence to shared ideals — freedom, equality, justice, and our right as a people to set our own course,” the proclamation read in part.

    But those words didn’t just happen on their own – they were included by the president in large part due to a strengthened relationship between the White House and the Secular Coalition for America.

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  2. Hi Nate, I’m pretty much on board with all that too. Secular means (in part) not taking sides, and I know many christians who believe in christian morality but in secular law. And I think secularity in government should be concerned about militant or fundamentalist atheists as well as militant or fundamentalist christians.

    If you haven’t read it already, you may be interested in Chris Steadman, whose book I reviewed sometime back.

    The reality is that most of us, atheist or christian, have to live and work with people of different belief, and if we were always evangelising, debunking, challenging, we would be a right proper pain in the butt. Sensitive and appropriate evangelism is right for christians, and I would guess it is right for atheists too.

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  3. Thanks for the comments, guys.

    UnkleE — I agree completely. I remember the review you did for Faithiest, and I’ve got it on my “to read” list. I’ll let you know when I finally get around to it.

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  4. I understand secular and atheist as per below.

    1) Secularism – it a political idea that separate religion and politics.
    2) Atheist – A human that do not believe in God or may be religion.

    To have secularism idea in one country, the state must have religion in the country. If not, how to separate sometime that you don’t have. So, secular itself exist because of there are a religion in a state.

    Let test it, if there are no religion in one state, can we called it secularism? When a religion die, secularism are also die. So what is actually “secularism”? A political idea that can not independent?

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  5. I believe this, Hifzan, to be the flaw in your argument:

    “To have secularism idea in one country, the state must have religion in the country.”

    Although secularism does indeed advocate the separation of church and state, with such a mandate in place, even in a state with no religion, it is a preventive measure to assure that no religion, if it ever does infect a state, does not influence governmental policy. So secularism CAN stand independently. Think of it as a vaccine —

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  6. Thanks for the comment, Hifzan.

    I agree with Arch. We have plenty of examples of government and religion intertwined with one another. So even in a country where no one is religious, “secular” would still have meaning, since it’s a contrast to all those other examples.

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  7. I think that secularism is more than merely separating religion and politics. Isnt it basically non/without-spiritual or non/without-religious – but not necessarily opposed to?

    So in the USA where religion abounds, secularism takes the form of separation of church and state. But if there were a place where there were no religion, it would be secular, no?

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  8. If you study a few country in Asia, northern South East Asia, etc. Many country are not combine religion and state as one. All this country are not calling their country “secular”. They names as monarchy, democracy, socialist, communist, capitalist. This is political system, but secularism are not one of it.

    So, Arch,

    When you said and given such definition:

    with such a mandate in place, even in a state with no religion, it is a preventive measure to assure that no religion, if it ever does infect a state,

    Even, I oppose to Roman Catholic or Evangelist, I need to agree with them that secularism is preventing them from their religion. By your definition, secularism is direct enemy to them. It was either secularism die, or religion die. It was a “religion” pesticides, it not vaccine.

    When you called it vaccine, I understand that you want to telling me that “religion have using their influence to change the policy.” Correct?

    From my view of political idea, every one are using their influence to change the policy i.e political party, Republican, Democrat, Labor party, science, economy. Even, you kill religion, are “stupid” idea die?

    Behind all religion, there was such big idea i.e teaching and promoting manner, ethics and morals. This idea do not have inside economy, and political party.

    Nate,

    A system that

    contrast to all those other examples.

    are rarely call as system. It just a shadow. Try use SWOT analysis system and use that to understand secularism as Stand alone system. From my view, it useless system.

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  9. Hifzan, I lived in Mexico for a number of years, and although I took Spanish in college, I was far from fluent. It took quite some time before I was able to make myself understood on a conversational level.

    I’m telling you this to let you know that I understand how difficult it must be to try to express yourself in a language not your own, and it is with all due respect, I have to tell you that I did not understand that comment, and regrettably, cannot respond to it because I can’t be sure what you mean.

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  10. is this even a real discussion? I mean, is there any society that has no religion among its people? AT least the countries I’ve dealt with have a wide assortment of religions and anti-religions.

    That being the case, you have some who view all religion as dangerous and in need of eradication. But you also have others who do not believe in any religion, but who want to coexist with everyone and let everyone retain the freedom to find out their own beliefs. And still there are even those who are religious, but recognize that forcing laws that would essentially require everyone to follow their religion would be futile and oppressive (and would justify laws requiring them to follow a different religion than the one they choose).

    We have secularism to coexist as best as possible, recognizing that while we don’t fully agree with each countryman, we can still live together best if we only make laws that prevent personal harm or the impairment of personal liberty, letting each decide for themselves the rest. This is in contrast to the former systems where religion was mandated by law and enforced by strict penalties.

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  11. “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?”
    — John Adams —
    (founding Father and second President of the United States)

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  12. And here I thought this was a recent discovery that Camels were domesticated much later than what the Bible says.

    Next time I will consult your blog first Arch ! 🙂 I at least got someone to post a comment here. I thought everyone got raptured or something ! LOL

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  13. Actually, I took it from the footnotes of the Catholic, New American Bible, but I’d be willing to bet that most Catholics don’t even know it’s there, much less have shared it with anyone.

    And when it comes to Rapture tickets, I left mine in my other pants.

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  14. I have a copy of the Catholic New American Bible. I guess I need to pay more attention to its footnotes. I’m currently reading, “Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible” by Kenton L Sparks. Very interesting how the OT borrowed stories from older texts. Thank God for clay tablets heh ?

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  15. I hadn’t seen this article, but I do remember seeing Arch reference it a couple of times. I’ve never looked into it in depth though, so thanks for posting the link!

    And sorry I haven’t been around as much lately. Just been swamped at work! Hope you guys are doing well! 🙂

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  16. yeah, I have a ton of posts from other blogs to catch up on. I work as an independent contractor (web development), so being busy is really good for me, but it also sucks when it takes this much time. Hopefully I’ll be through this busy stretch soon — I’ve missed you guys! 🙂

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  17. Hi Sabio,

    No, comments aren’t supposed to be turned off for that post. I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with it now… Thanks for letting me know!

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  18. Have you been hacked by those who believe? Or maybe the comments want to remain “hidden” on that post! That way we can love all the comments that are posted. 😉

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  19. KC – found this today:

    “The recent excavations in the Timna Valley dating copper mining to the 10th century BCE also discovered what may be the earliest camel bones found in Israel or even outside the Arabian peninsula, dating to around 930 BCE. This is seen as evidence that the stories of Abraham, Joseph, Jacob and Esau were written after this time.”

    Does anyone have a date for when Jacob/Israel was supposed to have lived?

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  20. And I’ve seen Abe’s as being anywhere from 1750 – 2350 BCE! This is what I often say about trying to determine Superman’s age by figuring out when he was born – IT DOESN’T MATTER, HE’S FICTIONAL!

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