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Secularism

Secular Power Changing America

America is now losing religion faster than any other nation. American churches lost 20% of their members in the past two decades. Two-thirds of teens raised in church drop out in their twenties. Southern Baptists lost two million members since 2005. Mainline Protestantism is fading to a shadow. Meanwhile, churchless Americans began soaring in the 1990s and climbed past one-fourth of the population. They tend to hold compassionate social views and have become a powerhouse in "Left Coast" politics. If they continue rising as a progressive political force, America will be a better place for it.

An Epicurean Approach to Secularizing Rites of Passage

Ritual is one of the most universally enjoyed human experiences, but it is often tangled up in supernatural claims that are insulting to our intelligence. Hiram Crespo, founder of the Society of Friends of Epicurus, discusses how the contractarian theory of Epicurean philosophy may be applied to the creation of rites of passage that retain their utility while being purged from superstition.

The Internet Gives Doubters a Home

The Internet provides a worldwide haven for freethought—and it also creates more freethought. If in-person meetings can't make a sanctuary for doubters, cyberland can. Religions spent centuries draining believers' resources to build a trillion-dollar global labyrinth of cathedrals, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, etc. Skeptics have only a few physical citadels. But, with little investment, the secular movement is making a worldwide intellectual home in the scientific marvel of cyberspace.

What is Secularism? Reflections of a Secular Humanist

According to Collins Dictionary, secularism is "a system of social organization and education where religion is not allowed to play a part in civil affairs." Among its fundamental principles are the separation of church and state, a secular court system, fully secular state organizations, and a fully secular education system grounded in modern science, psychology, and philosophy. As the winds of religious fundamentalism get stronger, discussion about secularism becomes increasingly important.

How Western Liberals Undercut Dissidents From Islam

"Liberals and leftists have acquired a reputation of shying away from any criticism of Islam. We liberals are well trained to be sensitive to whether our speech sounds appropriate. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre, many liberals condemned the blasphemy and the imagined racism of the murdered cartoonists as well as the violence. People who complain about "political correctness" have begun to speak of a "regressive left" that attempts to shut down any speech that may offend minority identities, particularly the religion and politics of Muslim immigrants. All this frustrates those of us who come from a Muslim background, but identify as secular liberals. If I had my way, liberals and leftists would start doing things differently."

You Don’t Have to Be Religious to Be a Good Person

"I will argue that if everyone in the world adopted a position of respect and tolerance for all people and the environment the world would be a better place. This is more likely to happen with a secular morality than a religious morality because religions often do not preach tolerance and respect for other people or the environment. A religious morality often falls down due to intolerance and a lack of respect for others. Indeed, I go further and argue that a secular morality is better than a religious one because it will produce a more tolerant, respectful world."

Religion, Sex, and Morality

"As a humanist psychotherapist my view is that to promote secular ethics and create a humanistic world, we need to respect human rights and associate sex with love and affection, rather than sin and guilt. To grow as a human species and evolve as sexual beings, we need to embrace advances in science and psychology rather than age-old scriptures that impose contradictory sexual morals and create fear in people."

Christmas Counterpoint

"I like to find secular counterpoints to Christmas, not secular counterparts. That, in a nutshell, is the topic of this essay. There is a secular side to Christmas, one that a nontheist can enjoy with the rest of society without betraying their nontheist views. In fact, I propose that the very shape and spirit of the holiday is significantly nonreligious, from twinkling lights and fake snow to the eggnog and fruitcake. Yes, Virginia, there is an atheist's Christmas!"