Thursday, 8 March 2012

Secular faith

I am compelled by the ideal expressed in Alain de Botton's new book, Religion for Atheists. His official website gives this summary of its sentiments: suggests that rather than mocking religions, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from them – because they're packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. Blending deep respect with total impiety". 


Arguably, as I argue, religious devotion as a collective existence embodies  a malevolence just as equally. 


One of the most universally common religious apologetics, is that without religious doctrine, civilization would descend into social and moral decay. Though of course, some of religious fundamentalists argue that this is already the case, using the example of civil rights for women and homosexuals upheld by so many modern institutions.  


I am of the position that specifically stealing, choosing or cherry-picking from disparate religious beliefs refutes the facile notion of a moral dependence on dogmatic devotion, and affirms the inherentness and necessity of a universal moral standing. 


It is the morality, intellect and ethical standing of  natural humanism that can revere Jesus of Nazareth's Sermon on the Mount, while viewing the abominable cruelty, barbarism, stupidity, racism and atrocities of the primitive New Testament with disgust. That can respect the Torah's outline on responsibly treating other human beings well, but can condemn the misogyny and blood sacrifice within all the Abrahamic texts. It is easier for modern fundamentalists from these traditions to advocate segregation based upon homophobia, hatred of women and dissent from all of their bigoted and infantile ideas. Justifications of slavery descends in the western world from the godly orders of the scriptural sections. The same that advocate gang rape and forced prostitution of disobedient women, and execution for anyone who touches the skin of a pig, eats shellfish, chooses to work on a Sunday, or plants two different kinds of crops in the same field. 


Just as we have established the philosophical principles of logic and rationality from thinkers who lived in societies where majorities had a conviction to polytheistic worship,  we can lucidly derive our basic human morality from writings in the whole of history, while discarding and ignoring that we know to be disgusting and moronic. We should easily promote a message that advocates a positive form of abandonment: the kind we've always depended upon to advance our condition with. But the forces of delusional fundamentalism continue to regress us in many respects.

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