When I take the time to consider my position, something I don’t always do, I find I agree with many of PLaClair’s points. There clearly are moderate religions which alleviate an enormous amount of pain and suffering
—cocaine and heroin do the same thing. And they work, too. So we shouldn’t denigrate them, right!? If some people get relief there should be no warnings about their dangers?
while providing a supportive community for their members. Judging from discussions here, community and good deeds are not the focus of this group, or at least not the focus of this forum, (I have no idea what participants here do in their non-forum lives). My shallow sense of the general humanist mindset, is that we tend to be a diverse group of outliers and individualists who are often geographically isolated. Most of us don’t seem to be looking to live in a close community of like minded secular people, not in way members of more conventional religions often do, and in this way and others, we seem to happily function quite differently from a religious community.
—-Not true in the Los Angeles area, not in several other areas I could name. We do live in a community of like minded secular people and the Internet is available for those who don’t.
—-I’m sure that some religious communities do what such communities should do. They are few and far between, however, and many do more harm than good.
It is interesting then, that I seem to find myself, to some degree, opposing religion in a very general way. If I don’t deeply desire what religion offers, why do I care at all, much less feel distinct animosity toward religion?
I’d speculate my attitude primarily results from the fact that I find a person who adopts or inherits a religious viewpoint somewhat frightening and offensive. When I write of someone possessing a religious viewpoint, I specifically mean, one who chooses to hold a belief in the efficacy of the supernatural, and promotes this belief as being exclusively correct and unchallengeable. I don’t see how someone who adheres to such belief system can accept or even truly tolerate my secular viewpoint. This inherit intolerance offends me, and judging from history, it should frighten me. Quite frankly, I would like to see any system of belief built upon a dogma involving the worship of unchallengeable supernatural figure cease to exist.
—looks as if we could be on the same page, after all. I didn’t think so when you wrote, “Judging from discussions here, community and good deeds are not the focus of this group, or at least not the focus of this forum.” That’s never been my experience on secular groups or forums. I find secular groups as supportive as religious ones without the manipulation.
Now I recognize that doesn’t define many belief systems which are generally referred to as “religions”. But, it seems that those alternative “religions” make up a pretty insignificant part of the religious population. I cannot include the liberal branches of the Abrahamic religions, because, no matter how far they stray from a literal interpretation of their central dogma, as far as I know the core of their belief is that there is a single, all powerful, supernatural being. The importance of forcing obeisance to this figure may wax and wane, but the nucleus of that idea always exists.
I realize that cultivating intolerance for secularists is very far from the focus of most moderate religious believers, and even though my broad based discomfort and intolerance for religion clearly does affect my ability to effectively interact, I really don’t know how to resolve this issue. While I have no desire to insult or harm people who hold a religious belief, (as I’ve defined such a belief) my mere refusal to believe is offensive by definition. I don’t know how to honestly mask my deep conviction that this sort of religion is a flawed and dangerous phenomenon.
—Why should you want to mask it? It’s an honest conviction. I suspect you don’t want people to have any reason to dislike you, and you’ll swallow your opinions so that doesn’t happen. That’s never a wise thing to do. Incidentally, secularists are usually much more tolerant of believers than believers are of secularists and even their fellow believers.