More on the accomodation debate

October 16, 2010 | By | 9 Replies More

The NYT reports on the recent Los Angeles conference sponsored by the Council for Secular Humanism:

The conference came on the heels of a change in leadership at the council and a rumored rift there, which some described as a standoff between atheists, who focus on God’s nonexistence, and humanists, who are also nonbelievers but seek an alternative ethical system, one that does not depend on any deity. Some of the weekend’s speakers alluded to the turmoil at the council, where several longtime employees have resigned or been laid off. But in general they emphasized unity: They shared common enemies, like religious fundamentalism and “Intelligent Design.” And they believed morality was possible without God.


Category: Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (9)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Tim Hogan says:

    "They shared common enemies, like religious fundamentalism and “Intelligent Design.” And they believed morality was possible without God."

    All true. I believe in God. Where do I fall in this "debate?"

  2. Tim Hogan says:

    For specificity; read the Nicean Creed, add to that my belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus was conceived without sin, did not die and was assumed into heaven. I believe these are the basic tenets of of my Roman Catholic faith.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Not so fast, Timmy-Boy. You haven't indicated whether you believe these things literally or symbolically, or somewhere in between. And you haven't indicated whether you have REALLY checked out all other religions to demonstrate whether your belief is based on investigation or whether you accepted it because your family taught you what to believe. And I know that YOUR God approves of liberal causes, even though the Gods of other Catholics don't. I do think there are about 1 billion types of Catholics on the planet.

  3. Tim Hogan says:

    I am unaware of any animal called "symbolic belief" and do not cotton to any such beast. As you know from our prior discussions I have (and still do investigate)investigated other faiths for personal enlightenment and personal development.

    I do believe there are elements of Buddhism conceptually compatable with Catholicism, and have personally investigated such from sources and persons from India, Tibet, Thailand and Japan.

    I find the five times daily ritual of prayer in Islam compelling in its unity one may feel in the umma as they pray.

    I have examined Judaism with one of the holiest persons who I have ever met, and cryingly stumbled through through kaddish at his passing (I still tear up at the mere thought of the true generosity and goodness of his being!).

    Friends have shared their Hindu, B'hai and Janist beliefs; others have shared their Native American beliefs, and my brother's ex-wife the beliefs of the Inuit People.

    Others have shared their lack of belief, their skepticism (my father included!) and explained it is just as logical for me to believe in a Flying Spaghetti Monster as a Catholic Christian Trinity.

    SO WHAT?

    If you attempt to reduce the faith experience of people inta a comparison to such as political party identification, which has a strong correlation between that of parents and children, then you attempt to ridicule faith simply as an expression of immature minds being dominated by parents and youthful indoctrination.

    Perhaps that was your personal experience but, if you fall into the fallacy of false composition, your logic is fatally flawed. I made several choices at different times in my life to remain in my faith, and to be more involved with the Church. The Church has placed these inquiries before me as opportunities to become informed in my faith and to accept sacraments as my faith becomes more fully formed. I work with my children in the same fashion now. We discuss the cross raod, we share our experiences, and if they choose to go on, they go on. I am more careful in matters of the kids' faith development than I am in their other interests which I leave up to them to choose. So far, my kids have chosen to follow my faith. If they choose otherwise, then by the promises which I have made to them, I am bound to honor their choices and support them.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Real belief: The host IS really Jesus. When you eat the host, you are actually eating the body of Jesus.

      Symbolic belief: The host symbolizes the body of Jesus. You are actually eating bread.

      Wars have been fought over lesser distinctions.

  4. Ben says:

    "So What?"

    Tim, did you ever watch invasion of the body snatchers?

    Anyway, I'd like to become a Catholic. The only stumbling block is that I can't eat the damn Jesus wafer, since I'm a vegetarian.

    I just had sex with 72 virgins, and boy are my arms tired!

  5. Ben says:

    "I mean, it's nice and all that most Christians aren't out chanting "God Hates Fags" and are a little embarrassed when some yokel whines that he didn't come from no monkey, but they still go out and quietly vote against gay and lesbian rights, and they still sit at home while their school boards set fire to good science."

    "We have been treading water for 50 years. In one sense, that's a very good thing: better to stay afloat in one place than to sink, and I am deeply appreciative of organizations like the NCSE that have kept us bobbing at the surface all this time, and please don't ever stop. But isn't it also about time we learned a new stroke and actually made some progress towards the shore? Shouldn't we move beyond just reacting to every assault by Idiot America on science education, and honestly look at the root causes of this chronic malignancy and do something about it?

    The sea our country is drowning in is a raging religiosity, wave after wave of ignorant arguments and ideological absurdities pushed by tired dogma and fervent and frustrated fanatics. We keep hearing that the answer is to find the still waters of a more moderate faith, but I'm sorry, I don't feel like drowning there either.

    There is an answer, and it's on display right here in this room. The solution, the only longterm solution, is the sanity of secularism. The lesser struggles to keep silly stickers off our textbooks or to keep pseudoscientific BS like intelligent design out of our classrooms are important, but they are endless chores — at some point we just have to stop pandering to the ideological noise that spawns these unending tasks and cut right to the source: religion.

    That's where the Gnu Atheists get their confrontational reputation. We're fed up with fighting off the symptoms. We need to address the disease. And if you're one of those people trying to defend superstition and quivering in fear at the idea of taking on a majority that believes in foolishness, urging us to continue slapping bandages on the blight of faith, well then, you're part of the problem and we'll probably do something utterly dreadful, like be rude to you or write some cutting sarcastic essay to mock your position."

  6. Tony Coyle says:

    Ben -I thought that speech of PZ's was (dare I say it) inspired. I am fed up being told to 'play nice' with the bullies. They have owned the playground too long. It's past time that rational people actually made a stand and said "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore"

Leave a Reply