Episode 20 - How Do Secular People See Themselves and Their World? Part 2

March 15, 2010

Part Two of a panel discussion. Four leading demographers of religion examine America’s fastest-growing lifestance group: those who live without religion. Luke Galen, Gregory Paul, Barry Kosmin, and Phil Zuckerman participated in a panel discussion titled “How Do Secular People See Themselves and Their World?” The event took place at the Center for Inquiry / Transnational, our organization’s headquarters in Amherst, New York, on July 18, 2009.

Luke Galen is associate professor of psychology at Grand Valley State University and director of the Non-Religious Identification Survey. Gregory Paul is an independent scholar studying religion, secularism, and morality. Barry Kosmin is a sociologist at Trinity College and principal investigator of the ongoing American Religious Identification Survey. Phil Zuckerman is a sociologist at Pitzer College and author of the book Society Without God.

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Episode 20 - How Do Secular People See Themselves and Their World? Part 2

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/audio/centerstage/centerstage-0020.mp3

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lifestance group???

WOW, I didn’t know I was in a lifestance group.

Never heard of it.  LOL

psik

Posted on Mar 20, 2010 at 4:16pm by psikeyhackr Comment #1

I have to comment on the statements made by Ron during this part of the discussion.

Firstly, I agree with him that this is a tripartite battle consisting of:
a)  Religious fundamentalists
b)  Secularists and Non-believers
c)  So-called “moderate” or “liberal” believers

Where we diverge in opinion is what to do about the moderates.  Ron attacks Sam Harris for lumping them in with the fundamentalists, but ignores Harris’ arguments for saying so in the first place.  Instead he encourages us to talk with them and find common ground.  That is all well and good; And I’m sure we do have a lot in common with moderates, but Ron seems ignorant of one big obstacle;  their beliefs are still irrational and they will not defy them.  We may be able to agree on sports, music, even politics or the environment…..but the second their religion (the parts they actually adhere to) is the subject under scrutiny, they will turn on us.

If we, for example, criticize the actions of fundamentalists by pointing out the specific dogmas they are referencing, the moderate will take offense and rush to defend their faith and deflect criticism away from it.  Witness the “offended” Muslims that pop up whenever Islam is criticized, or the “good people” who continue to defend the Roman Catholic Church despite the evidence and horrific nature of its crimes.  Moderates also provide financial backing and respectability to the Religions fundamentalists use to justify their harmful actions, making it harder to fight them.

Having moderates as allies only works as long as religion is not the subject under discussion.  However, considering the large role religion plays in both domestic and international affairs, that doesn’t make them of much use.

Posted on Aug 18, 2010 at 5:30pm by Hardcore Comment #2