Over the past several years atheism/free-thinking/rationalism has become more mainstream with many people coming out and proclaiming their lack of belief in a god and their rejection of religious institutions. I personally like this trend, but what is emerging is a number of reactionary anti-theists hungry for a fight with the established religious groups. It starts with name calling, then symbolic legal fights (e.g. removing monuments of the ten commandments from federal buildings), to organizations dedicated to fighting the believers at every opportunity. As time goes on, it gets more and more emotional.
Is all this bickering, fighting, and hating (on both sides) inevitable in order to evolve to a new era without backward religious ideology guiding our society? Is the coming battle just the quickest way to reach this goal? What do you think?
These would be a major part of what we need to preserve the species, and possibly the planet. These also could be a major part of what could be considered the 'sacred'.
While religions might claim them as their own, they can be 'core' to our common humanity. 'Religion' floats on top of them, building rationalizations, exceptions, and 'cults of personalities' for the purpose of 'power over'.
Reclaiming these, by reaching through the 'facade' of religion, could be atheism's task.
I feel there's no need to reclaim these - just to claim them. The vision I have is that now that we can state the underlying principles precisely, then they are available to both the religious and non-religious alike, and we can share common ground.
I suggest a 'reclaiming' because theists, atleast in the US, claim that these and the US are either 'christian' or 'christian sourced/rooted'. If this is a false claim, then a process of 'claim denial' needs to be mounted. The removal of christian monuments could be only a first step.
James - I'm not sure how we would deal with that. It appears unseemly to fight over who thought of it first. It's not the exclusive property of either "side". I prefer if we could join together rather than fight.
The fact is, it's true that Jesus was a major proponent of these principles, so they're right about that. Buddha, equally, was too. Atheists have no organized track record in this regard, so far. So the Christians have some kind of point. If they want to say it's a Jesus-philosophy, that's true, but it's not a God philosophy. That said, the Healing Principle is a biological definition of God's love. So they wouldn't want to argue too hard, because we've just achieved the same as them but without invoking supernatural agency - instead, relying entirely on Darwin. Richard Dawkins would wet his knickers if he could see this...
A large part of religion, as I have found from studying and deconstructing it, is made up of the "science" of these principles.
There are other passions than religion.
I started to list of few of them here. Changed my mind, as it deserves its own topic.
James, I heard it another way: our passions inspire us and our rationality keeps us out of prison.
Good one, I expect that there could be many varients given a perspective not yet mentioned?
The citizens of the countries of Scandinavia, which are predominantly secular and have some of the most effective educational systems in the world, would probably take issue with your comments about decay and collapse.
I think religions are so genius because they force their members to have this need, then claim only their religion can fulfill it. The God shaped hole is created by God, and only filled by God in other words.
Family, Friends, Happy Jobs, a bit of Hedonism and the like are great ways to maintain a healthy psyche - I do not accept that humans by necessity have some mysterious hole that must be filled.