I keep hearing the phrase "secular values," and much like "family values" I'm not sure what it means. What are, in your opinion the values that atheists/ skeptics/ secularists should uphold?

In thinking about this briefly, I've come up with a few. Perhaps the community can help me with wording them/ add their own:

The rejection of the supernatural in explaining our world.
The use of reason, science, and critical thinking as the best way to interpret our experiences.
Respect for all people based on their actions rather than inherent traits.
The defense of individual freedom.


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"What it does mean is that everyone in a society should be free to be religious or not (provided that it doesn't harm anyone else)"

I guess we need to ban all religion then ...
Perhaps it would be better to describe secular values as basic human values. We all know what the 'values voters' consider valuable: no marriage for gays and if they could just stay out of the limelight because we're a bit bothered looking at them; Christian teachings in schools; no abortion because we can't stand the thought of you sucking babies' brains out with straws; grovel before God or you'll really, really be sorry.

Without the influence of religion, human societies create more reasonable laws (sometimes) based in function rather than mythology.
That's a good thought. However, I like the term secular values because it highlights that Atheists can and DO have values and morals.

This past summer, a man from the Philippines (a largely Catholic country) moved into my apartment building. We became friends quickly. Somehow, the subject of my Atheism came up, and he was shocked. Apparently, I was the first person he had ever met who didn't believe in God. Luckily, he was intelligent, and realized that didn't make me an amoral nihilist; it didn't affect his opinion of me.
I think that rather than beginning with a listing, we would find more distinction and legitimacy if we attempt to lay out the foundations for our values. The question, I think, is not so much *what* values are shared by secularists, but rather, from where do secularists derive their values?
Well said, Dan! That's something I often wonder as well. Most of my values stem from an innate feeling-- an almost visceral reaction; but I realize that may not always be the best way to determine them...
The basis, origin and merits of a particular value would probably be a massive thread all by itself knowing the people here :)

For me it is enough to realise that secular values spring from critical inquiry and human endeavour - NOT from authoritarian decree and faith/emotional thinking, or appeals to the supernatural (the ultimate appeal to authority).
When I talk about freedom, I'm concerned with social issues rather than economic ones-- these are secular values, not political values. :)
Adriana's post on the Declaration of Secular Humanism pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter. I'd probably leave out the section aimed specifically at evolution and instead focus on the success of the scientific method at large.

I'm also not sure whether I would have specifically addressed the mass-media entertainment values (see section on Education), even though I agree with it.
Oh I'm sure it was. Personally, though, I feel that by addressing the issue of evolution seperately to other fields of scientific inquiry feeds into the creationist agenda by elevating it's status - we'd call it tall poppy syndrome in my country.

Evolutionary biology, while a very important field of study, is subject to the same methodologies as other scientific fields and really should be addressed in the larger context of the scientific method. Just my opinion, of course.

I was going to chime in and advocate for including compassion and respect for others, but those seem to be incorporated in this list.

I can't watch this right now, so I'm not sure what he says, but I still see disgust as a bad way to determine morals. Someone can be disgusted at the thought of homosexual sex, but that doesn't make it wrong. Same goes for foods that people eat. Ever seen "Bizarre Foods" on the Travel Channel?


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