Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Atheism vs. Secularism

Hitchens is banging the anti-religion drum some at the Wapo.

I lack the faith required to be an atheist, so I'll just have to settle for militant agnosticism.

I think Hitchens misses the mark a bit. I'm perfectly willing to ascribe all the listed attributes to some people's beliefs some of the time. I'm also willing to admit that religion is the only way some others can derive a sense of community, which tends to make for better people. But it really wouldn't matter that much either way as long as the believers didn't try to inflict their unproven and, more importantly, unpragmatic, ideas on the rest of us.

This is where secularism and atheism part company. Atheism is ultimately grounded every bit as much on faith as theism is, although it certainly has a lot less 'splainin to do. Secularism is political philosophy. It requires everybody to check their beliefs at the door. As long as we can all agree on some broad and mercifully fuzzy definitions for "good" and "bad", we can have a perfectly reasonable public discourse without all the nonsense.

Gotta go--I feel an attack of moral relativism coming on...

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