6th October 2011

“Secularism, not faith, has been the historic crucible of freedom.”

Tom Flynn

16 Responses to “6th October 2011”

  1. John Says:

    That may be because we are not forced to believe, obey and follow what the preachers tell us to do.

  2. archaeopteryx Says:

    My interpretation of this quotation is that systems open to doubt and inquiry will develop better methods of living together as individuals, groups and part of the biosphere than unchanging systems founded on revelation to random people of questionable mental health.

    I live in the hope that it’s true.

  3. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Truer words may never have been spoken but that is rather obvious.

    Arch I like your take on the quote.

    The idea is nothing new, just under reported. It would seem athiests and doubters of all kinds have not felt the need to trumpet what should be obvious to any person.

    A favorite of mine is http://amzn.com/0140447962 The Nature of Things by Lucretius Carus

    Luke died in 50 bc. He was an Epicurean poet writing in the middle years of first century bc.

    If you think the Bible is a literary feat of any particular quality (you poor bastard) then read this as it will show you just how poorly written the Bible is relative to works of that time.

  4. The Heretic Says:

    Tell that to the Chinese and the former USSR.

  5. Dan Says:

    China and the former USSR haven’t governed neutrally on matters of religious freedom. Ergo they weren’t secular, were they?

  6. electrabotanical Says:

    You can’t blame the problems of the USSR and China on their lack of religious values. There are too many other issues going on there. If Christianity had been in play in those countries while they were oppressing their people, the church would have been co-opted to support the people in power. Churches are power bases, ready to be used and manipulated. The gritty violent text is there in the bible, ready to pluck out when kindness and love aren’t in fashion.

  7. CaptainZero Says:

    Thank you, Sinjin. I’ve always wanted to read Lucretius but never had the impetus. Now here it is in front of me and I have to click (buy). Nice!

    Ours is a Greek legacy, not a judeochristianislamic one.

  8. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    The People’s Republic of China, the government, is officially atheist, the Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion and its replacement with atheism, but these official government actions never meant that there wasn’t religion and plenty of it in China and the USSR.

    Both the USSR and China, the people, have a long history of religiosity.

    It is precisely this, the influence of religion, that has brought these governments to take their positions on religion. Not as some benevolent effort to bring goodness to the people, but as an action to limit the influence of religion in the affairs of these states.

    Nevertheless, religion has held a grasp on the Chinese and Russion people for thousands of years. That these countries have struggled to advance into the modern age, their histories are so full of religious division. It is no doubt due to the religious weight around the necks of the average person in both countries limiting personal freedom.

    Today’s quote stands.

  9. Atheist MC Says:

    I don’t think that commusist countries are atheist as some kind of separation of church and state issue. It’s that communism is a state dogma that doesn’t want the competition religion would offer.
    Christians often point out the evils of Stalin et al as a critique of atheism without realising this point.

  10. Jeff Says:

    Marx was quite correct when he stated that “Religion is the opiate of the masses”. Of course, when I was much younger I took masses of opiates religiously, but that’s a totally different argument, and one I eventually lost.

    The entire purpose of the religious establishment is to keep the population under control – either theirs or whomever controls them. Keep the women barefoot and pregnant, keep the men docile and working. Part of the failure of the USSR was that when the religions were suppressed, that control mechanism broke down, alcohol went out of control and the working population decided that there was no reason to do more than the absolute minimum.

  11. William P. Jacobus Says:

    Absolute faith will not promote freedom (as defined by Thomas Jefferson) as one is unable to question basic points laid before you. What political structure you advocate is irrelevant. This point is very poignant to your practice and attainment of fundamental, political freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.), but secularism and faith should be viewed in a separate manner.

  12. R j Says:


    capt z
    ath. MC

    i’ve had a horrible cold (which at my age is no picnic)
    and it’s making me grumpy. i like the quote today,
    and i like all the discussion………….but i think you have
    to also say that secularism is also a springboard for human
    understanding of our world and our universe.
    with secularism, the human intellect is free to open
    up…to expand, to question and to search. and arising
    from those explorations comes comes KNOWLEDGE
    and ANSWERS that are miraculous in their power
    and implications.

    the religionistas and their tired old boogeyman …god…
    do NOTHING that contributes to human welfare.
    they preach LOVE ( HAH ! ) and acceptance ( HAH ! )
    of the ” will of god “…..which , as near as i can tell,
    amounts to ZIP.

    whereas the CURIOUS and the MOTIVATED dont preach,
    but ACT to answer questions and unravel mysteries
    and CONTRIBUTE to the general well being.

    if certain problems had not been addressed by those
    with minds willing to push past the “will of god”,
    consider just a few of the things that today,

    saulk vaccine
    nuclear energy
    organ transplants
    sex toys

    and on and on and on……………

    personnaly, i wish i could live long enough to
    watch religions wither away out of existence.
    there is some evidence that this is happening…..
    and, like ARCH…………

    ” i live in the hope that it’s true ”

    thank you for tolerating a grumpy old man, my pals.

  13. R j Says:

    JEFF at 1746 first paragraph…………

    ME TOO !!!!!!!!!

  14. R j Says:

    to…..william p. jacobus at 1751.

    interesting. tell me what you mean by

    ” viewed in a separate manner ”

    ( Please )

  15. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Ok MC it just seemed to me that you were putting them together: lack of freedom and athiest state. Surely freedom in China and the USSR is limited by the state, I was saying that in addtion to the communist state religion has an oppressive effect on peoples or that even in a athiest state peolpe are still oppressed by religion.

    I think Jeff covered this perhaps better than I did with his “purpose of the religious establishment is to keep the population under control” statement.

    I also agree with what William is saying with his “secularism and faith should be viewed in a separate manner”.

    R j’s “free to open up…to expand, to question” statement reminds me of the Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” the freedom from the cave being in a sense the freedom from religion.

    Our freinds here have maybe cleared it up with purpose, separate manner, and freedom.

  16. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Had to add:

    Secularism and democracy have been the strongest supports of freedom.
    Faith is just one of many things that has oppresseed people throughtout the ages.