Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Hard Secular Mindset

4/9/2009--I have now had the experience several times of blogging on The Huffington Post and receiving a substantial number of the same kind of response—what I will call for now the hard secular response. I think these responses are revealing of a certain type of secular mindset. I don’t mean to suggest that the views expressed are defective. I don’t agree with them, but my point here is to begin to think about them as a place where some, maybe many, secularists are now.

The starting point for hard secularism is that religion is superstition and that nonreligion is scientific or evidence based. In other words, religion is a total negative. This is the Christopher Hitchens’ view. Obviously, people who feel this way have no use for my premise in Hallowed Secularism that secularism needs religion in some way.

What is odd to me about this view is that it seems to find human life self-evident. I used as an example in the blog Daniel Dennett’s statement that people don’t need religion to be good. I suggested that our religions don’t claim that they make people good. They mostly, especially Christianity, emphasize that people are not good and that they need help. I stated that this is the more realistic view.

Most of the commentators, however, agreed with Dennett. People are mostly fine. I find this hard to believe given recent human history.

Religion is also much more scientific than the hard secular mindset wants to admit. But more of that later.

1 comment:

  1. Do you think that people are either good or evil or a mixture?

    If people are "mostly fine" that would imply humans are "little evil". Now, for yourself, the converse would be true i.e. "mostly evil" and "a little "good". Thus, religion to the rescue.

    However, it seems that deciding the proportions of good or evil in people is irrelevant. No person thinks humans are born morally perfect, everyone believes humans need help.

    The question is "if people need help to be good, then why is the source for that help, exclusively religious?

    All Dennett is saying, I believe, is that other sources of help exist, and if I manage to become a good person without religion's help, but through these other sources, (1) recognize that possibility, and (2) don't hold my getting help elsewhere against me.