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Are secularists "hate-filled"?

Recently, the Secular Coalition for America met with officials in the Obama administration, sparking a host of outcry from religious Americans (link link, see also this response from the president of the Secular Coalition). What is it about secularism that incites such vitriol? What prompts people like Council Nedd’s to assert that secularist activists are “hate-filled”? What strategies do you propose for secularists in this propaganda war?

Posted: March 3rd 2010

flagellant www

As I understand it , Obama has had many more regular meetings with faith leaders than he has had with atheists. Giving in to this sort of pressure is to be regretted; remember your Constitution: it gives you freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion. As a non-American atheist, and being aware of your constitutional framework, I find it both puzzling and disappointing that Obama gives more time to faith-heads than to secular thinkers.

I think you will find more 'hate speech’ coming from your religious compatriots than from the secularists. You ask for an explanation for this. I’m sure you know the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes. It is a beautiful metaphor and it applies exactly to religious belief. Here’s a famous, updated version of it – The Courtier’s Reply – penned by PZ Myers, irked by the suggestion that Richard Dawkins in particular and atheists in general don’t have the detailed knowledge to appreciate the finer points of religious doctrine.

I suggest that the hatred from swathes of the religiosi is a result of having their cherished supernatural beliefs questioned and debunked.

The principal way to counter lunatic hate speech is to respond carefully and thoughtfully; it may not convince irrational religiosi but it will have an effect on wider, more open-minded, audiences.

Posted: March 9th 2010

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logicel

What prompts people to think that certain ethnic groups are stupid or dangerous or evil? It is the old insider versus the outsider mentality.

Secularists, who can be religious also, need just to continue what they have been doing—promoting discussion, focusing on the importance of church/state separation, and to keep a sense of humor. The more secularists talk, the more the anti-secularists will realize that secularists are their sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers, etc.

Posted: March 8th 2010

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