10/20/2009--Once again the question has been raised on this blog about whether secularists are as good people as religious believers? On one level this is easy to answer. Religious believers organize most of the charitable works in the world. Secularists do much less as a group. On the other hand, the more often a person goes to a religious service, the less likely that person is to support gay marriage, which I consider a fundamental human right.
Part of the reason that the question is so difficult is that there are not actually many secularists around. The nonbelievers I know are mostly young and mostly were formed within the religious traditions. Do they really count as fully secular?
But I will say two things. We know how Christian civilization hands down its values. It does this in an organized way through education of the next generation and through constant teaching of its adherents. I was in church this last Sunday and I was impressed that the congregation hears every week a message of love and self-sacrifice. That must have an effect on people over time. How will secularism do this?
We can also say that the religious community, in particular the Christian community, is open to change in a way that the nonbelieving community may not be. We see this in the issue of global warming for example. The ability to change one’s view may be the best measure of living a moral life.