Secular Fundamentalism or Dogmatism

 

By Jeff Wismer

January 2007

 

Have you been called a Secular Fundamentalist or Secular Dogmatist lately?

Christian Science Monitor

 

January 04, 2007 edition

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0104/p13s01-lire.htm

 

Growing religious influence in the US government has led some nontheists to take positions some describe as 'secular fundamentalism.'

 

“They undermine their own case by writing in a language that suffers from many things they say are true of believers - intolerance, disrespect, extremism," says Alan Wolfe, a professor of religion at Boston College, who is a secularist and author of several books on American religious perspectives.

 

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, calls for a truce: "We've suffered enough from religious intolerance that the last thing the world needs is irreligious intolerance."

 

You could see this coming from a mile away couldn’t you?   See what happens when we try to have too much fun…you know like organizing, helping the community, and pronouncing our existences to the world.  All that vogue and dancing the vogue, or being in vogue must have gone straight to our heads.  You didn’t think you were really that popular did you?  Why can’t you be like the homosexual…oh wait bad example.  Why can’t you be like the Wiccans…oh wait another bad example…well why can’t you all be like the Adamites (Another religious tradition whose followers made a point of taking their clothes off in the name of their God)…at least they’re cool, in the literal sense, and creative. 

 

Speaking of being creative, how creative is the label that we’ve been given…Secular Fundamentalists, or Secular Dogmatists. 

 

I’ll analyze:

 

SECULAR

 

According to Wikipedia, Secular means: This word derives from a Latin word meaning "of the age." The Christian doctrine that God exists outside of time led medieval Western culture to use secular to indicate separation from religious affairs and involvement in worldly (or time-related) ones. This meaning has been extended to apply to separation from any religion, whether or not it has a similar doctrine.

 

That seems about right to me.  Then again it’s not like we hide from that term, and it’s not like we use it all the time right?

 

The Secular Web is the world's most comprehensive website devoted to the promotion and defense of a naturalistic worldview, the view that our natural worldview on the Internet.  (http://www.infidels.org/)

 

The Council for Secular Humanism Web Site provides timely information concerning the activities of the Council for Secular Humanism and also acts as a general educational resource on secular humanism. Please select a topic from the navigation bar on your left, or the drop-down menu above, for more information.  (http://www.secularhumanism.org/)

 

The Secular Coalition for America is the new Washington-based lobbying organization for atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic Americans. Our mission is to increase the visibility and respectability of nontheistic viewpoints in the United States and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. (http://www.secular.org/)

 

FUNDAMENTALIST

 

According to Wikipedia, Fundamentalism is defined as: Movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles. 1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a movement in American Protestantism that arose in the early part of the 20th century in reaction to modernism and that stresses the infallibility of the Bible not only in matters of faith and morals but also as a literal historical record, holding as essential to Christian faith belief in such doctrines as the creation of the world, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, atonement by the sacrificial death of Christ, and the Second Coming. 2. the beliefs held by those in this movement. 3. strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles: the fundamentalism of the extreme conservatives.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines fundamentalism as a usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.

 

Ok, so if I get this right, Fundamentalism is based on some type of principles that are written down some where.  And it’s in opposition to secularism so I guess that’s a contradiction in terms.  I don’t know, why would someone use a term to describe an oppositon to secularism, on secularists?  That might confuse a great many secularists, and fundamentalists as well.  Anyway, getting back to something being written down, I think there is term that describes something like that….mmmmm….

 

DOGMATISM

 

According to Wikipedia, Dogma is defined as Dogma (the plural is either dogmata or dogmas, Greek δόγμα, plural δόγματα) is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed or doubted. While in the context of religion the term is largely descriptive, outside of religion its current usage tends to carry a pejorative connotation — referring to concepts as being "established" only according to a particular point of view, and thus one of doubtful foundation.

 

So what doctrine do we dogmatize? 

 

Is the the scientific laws of the universe as described initially by Sir Isaac Newton, or Einstein? 

 

 

Is it the laws of nature?

 

 

 

Or is it Dogma itself?

 

Damnit, My mommy always told me that watching too much TV would get me into trouble one day!

 

Really, how creative do you have to be to use terminology already taken by the religious right, the center, and the left?

 

Maybe they should call Hollywood.

 

Just in case you missed it, there’s another name going around…

 

Militant Atheists

America: Atheists throw down the gauntlet

 

By Richard Bernstein

 

Published: January 2, 2007         

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/02/news/letter.php

 

NEW YORK: Here on the first days of the year of our lord 2007 it seems awkward to talk about a Godless world, but the fact is that in the waning months of 2006, a kind of militant atheism was making itself felt across the land.

 

There were two best-selling books declaring belief in God to be a kind of mass delusion, and a harmful mass delusion at that, occasioning a vigorous and often angry response from many people who believe the repeated announcement of the death of God to be wrong, spiritually deaf and dangerous.

This situation gives rise to a New Year's prediction that 2007 will see an intensified war of religion in America, or, perhaps more accurately, a war of the religious against the irreligious, and why that should be happening just now is an important sign of the times, a reflection of our moment in history.

Atheism as a necessary attribute of civilization — religion as the opposite of civilization — that argument is being stated more assertively and is being welcomed in some quarters more warmly now than at any time before. What is going on? One conclusion is not so far-reaching. It could be simply that there's a market for just about anything in this country — whether atheism or psychic channeling.

 

The two movements are almost entirely dissimilar, of course, with Christian fundamentalism engaging in no violence or threats.

 

(Are you f-n kidding me???) ROTF…LOL

 

Still, both movements arise from the deep conviction that a return to a kind of pure religious practice, rather than secular Enlightenment thought, is the answer to humanity's problems. Murderous Hindu nationalists in India and Orthodox Jewish settlers on the West Bank who believe they are following God's commands in seizing Palestinian land are other illustrations of faith-based extremism.

 

 

 

We’ve even developed our own fight song (in the spirit of being creative)

 

ONWARD SECULAR MILITANTS

 

1. Onward, Secular Militants, marching as to war, 
   with the fish of Darwin going on before. 
   Richard Dawkins, the royal Master, leads against the foe; 
   forward into battle see his banners go! 
Refrain: 
   Onward, Secular Militants, marching as to war, 
   with the fish of Darwin going on before. 
 
2. At the sign of triumph Falwell’s chins doth flee; 
   on then, Secular Militants, on to victory! 
   Liberty University foundations quiver at the logical debate; 
   Scientists, lift your electron microscopes, loud your neutrons raise. 
   (Refrain) 
 
3. Like a mighty army moves the Internet discussion board; 
   Bloggers, we are treading where the geeks have trod. 
   We are not divided, all one online community are we, 
   one in downloads and pod casts, one in you tube videos. 
   (Refrain) 
 
4. Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins may perish, chat rooms rise and wane, 
   but the civil disobedience constant will remain.
   Bill Gates of Microsoft can never against that server prevail; 
   we have myspace and meetup, and that cannot fail. 
   (Refrain) 
 
5. Onward then, ye Techies, join our happy throng (ooo sexy time), 
   blend with ours your cable modems in the triumph song. 
   Glory, laud, and honor unto ourselves, 
   this through countless money and bling bling.
   (Refrain) 

 

I love this country!

            Seriously though:  ABSOLUTISM

Is a problem umong any and all communities in the world, and if any group is good at self-governing themselves, then this should always be looked at and discussed.  This is the biggest obstacle to overcome.