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archive/2015: secularism: definition distorted by new atheists

May 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

Secularism: definition distorted by new atheists
January 12th, 2015 ·

http://darwiniana.com/2015/01/11/133273/: Secularism not inherently atheistic
It is important to not let the new atheists/secular humanists get away with defining ‘secularism’ as entailing atheism. I am neither a theist nor an atheist and I find this distortion of the usage to be pernicious. It arose, to be sure, fairly early because the battle against theocracy during the Reformation set the contrast of religion and modernity, no matter that modernity began with the Reformation. It wasn’t until latter that critics of religion began to equate modernity with atheism. This is clear from the eighteenth century shift, and the collision of revolution and religion in the French Revolution. And this was directly connected to the emergent atheism of figures like Marx. But the equation of secularism with atheism is a pernicious and very limiting confusion that condemns religious groups to attack secularism, as if people in modern times didn’t have freedom of belief.
The meaning of ‘secularism’ must be founded on the breadth and diversity of the ‘modern transition’ and we see a long list of counterpoints.

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