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At Quillette: Is secular humanism a religion?

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A psychology and biology prof applies some tests, including:

Secular humanism lacks any reference to the supernatural and defers matters of fact to science. But it is as rich in moral rules, in dogma, as any religion. Its rules come not from God but from texts like Mill’s On Liberty, and the works of philosophers like Peter Singer, Dan Dennett and Bertrand Russell, psychologists B. F. Skinner and Sigmund Freud, public intellectuals like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, and “humanist chaplains” everywhere.

In terms of moral rules, secular humanism is indistinguishable from a religion.

It has escaped the kind of attacks directed at Christianity and other up-front religions for two reasons: its name implies that it is not religious, and its principles cannot be tracked down to a canonical text. They exist but are not formally defined by any “holy book.”John Staddon, “Is Secular Humanism a Religion?” at Quillette

A key principle seems to be that “Humans are not exceptional” (despite the evidence). The main prophets of the religion would appear to be legacy mainstream media.

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See also: Which side will atheists choose in the war on science? They need to re-evaluate their alliance with progressivism, which is doing science no favours.

and

Breaking: Common sense statements about human vs animal intelligence In a respectable venue! That’s so rare now. Noticing actual differences is radical in an age when politically correct nonsense is a form of virtue.

9 Replies to “At Quillette: Is secular humanism a religion?

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    I prefer to think of religions as a worldview and humanism definitely is another worldview. Whether or not their beliefs entail a deity or not is of no importance. They take their worldview by faith as do people of faith.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    From one perspective,it’s a silly question. It’s like asking if atheism is a religion. Is the negation of a claim the same as the original claim and, if so, what price the principle of identity?

    Of course, if you cast the net wide enough then anything can be called a religion, communism, Star Wars/Trek/Gate fandom, football supporters, followers of the Khardashians (Mog help them) and so on. But if anything can be a religion then so what?

    Personally, I’m torn between Vulcan asceticism and the warrior monasticism of the Jedi Knight.

  3. 3
    Brother Brian says:

    In that religion is a worldview typically associated with some deity or spirituality, it would be difficult to classify secular humanism as a religion. But, if people would like to push the point, I am in favour. Being the pastor and only parishioner of the reform church of human secularism, I could benefit from the tax free status. 🙂

  4. 4
    ET says:

    It is all about definitions. Anything that relies on a set of beliefs and not science could be considered a religion. Materialism and evolutionism fit that bill.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    Secular humanists worship mother nature, father time and some unknown processes. They are just clever at hiding it.

  6. 6
    EDTA says:

    I prefer the term “belief system”, as pretty much everyone has one.

  7. 7
    Nonlin.org says:

    Is Secular Humanism A Religion?
    Yes, it is. http://nonlin.org/philosophy-religion-and-science/

    ET,
    Science incorporates Religion.

    EDTA,
    How can there be a difference between belief system and religion?

  8. 8
    EDTA says:

    Nonlin @ 7,
    As commonly used, “religion” refers to a belief system that features the supernatural in some sense. At least traditionally. “Belief system” is intended to capture everything including those that reject the supernatural.

  9. 9
    Nonlin.org says:

    EDTA @7
    There’s no such thing as “supernatural “. There’s only stuff you don’t yet know (like nuclear power 100 years ago)
    https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/supernatural
    You’re only rejecting out of ignorance.

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