Saturday, October 17, 2009

Religion vs Secularity - Decide!

Religion vs Secularity - Decide!

It is an ongoing effort on the parts of all of us to live as well as we can and, as a result of this, we desire societies constructed toward that end. It seems to be our lot, however, to find ourselves politically steeped in the continuous struggle to either keep the tried and true established laws or to look for amendments upon them - that's just part of doing business - to improve them or discard them entirely, whenever we find faultiness in one way or another.

In the United States today, we're experiencing a clash of opposing ideological philosophies between religionist and non-religious camps. It has so far remained a virtual war of ideals and words, for the most part, yet that is precariously so.

In a country that was founded on secular ideals by people with a clear idea of responsibility to allow liberty and freedom of religion, one must ask why such a clash is taking place now, some 270 years after that nation's birth. What cause is responsible? blogger, Austin Cline, gives this posit of the secularist's mind set and the rationale for maintaining strict church/state separation according to the original US Constitution and its Bill of Rights. His words would very likely have stood the test of acceptability on any ears of the country's founding fathers just as they are generally acceptable to most secularists today.

The [consideration of] existence of something beyond our material existence is not denied [by the secularist constructed society] but it is also not accorded any special status. Indeed, the very fact that we can't know for sure if such an existence awaits us [after death] is a reason not to spend time worrying about it. Since we cannot know if a god, heaven, soul, or afterlife exists, then they cannot rationally motivate our actions or beliefs. (emphasis added)

Considering beyond just afterlife, the same sort of thought could be applied to prayer, rites of passage and most other religiously believed tenets just as well as to the notion of after-death-life, yet it seems like a good enough general analysis of the secular attitude - that wishing to maintain a fair enough shake for religion all around; it fairly reflects the aim of the nation's constitutional founders, allowing room for religion without bowing to it directly. How then do religionists take issue? And why would they?

Evangelism is a monstrously hungry thing - that's its nature - it's insatiable and and it is the problem. As the broad diversity of the original late seventeenth century American religious society evolved; a originating profile of which, if looked upon closely, would cast differences between religious sects so polarized that they could hardly be identified as being singular in any way, i.e., all Christian; to become today's generically similar, kissin' cousins, Jesus-focused institutions, and all bent in the same single direction - that "to gather the flock" is paramount; the tolerance for religion "NOT being accorded any special status" has eroded. Religion seeks not only to evangelize for control over the souls of individuals, as worshipers, but also for power over the whole nation as its dominion.

And here's how it happens: At the suggestion of a single individual, a preacher, Rev. M. R. Watkinson of Pennsylvania, the words "In God We Trust" managed to find their way to being cast on US coinage during the 1860s civil war. Here in 2009, the Congressional Prayer Caucus, a small group of Christian religious zealot congressmen and women have managed to push the envelope even farther for according "special status" to religion. They introduced and touted the engraving of the same religiously loaded "national imotto, In God We Trust" upon the walls of the Capitol Visitors Center of the nation's capitol along with the the words of the nations pledge of allegiance, including its 1954 "under God" insertion.

Efforts to institute prayer in schools, the teaching of Creationism, habituating in-vocational prayer at public meetings, defining marriage laws, restricting certain medical practices and science research, opposing sex education and effective birth control and the like have all fallen ill in one way or another to the efforts of religious aggresion. Religion has had secularity under siege from the start.

These are acts of evangelizing the nation and not merely of evangelizing individuals and this is this kind of evangelizing that secularists oppose.

I encourage reading "American Jesus" by Stephen Prothero who describes the remarkable change over the face of American religion since the country's outset; "The Age of American Unreason" by Susan Jacoby who outlines the decline of intellectualism in the US and hence the irrational spill over of religion into government; and "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris who gives clear reason to fear preserving religion.

The battle wages.... And the country sits on a verge - whether to make more changes according to religion or not?

Personally, I'm inclined to see the clock reset to 1776. Change in that direction might do us well.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Blog Archive

Join the best atheist themed blogroll!