KJSharp saidKodiak, you act as if "secular" equates to "peaceful, equitable, and open." Surely you are not from planet earth? This past century witnessed two of the worst (perhaps the two worst) regimes of all time in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and both of those regimes were completely secular in orientation and goal, and both received their philosophic sustenance from purely secular sources. "Secular" does not equate to "peaceful" no more than "Religious" equates to "violence." *
Our own society might be peaceful and equitable, but it certainly isn't open. I recommend Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind. [...] If the mind is not open, a society can't be either. Only by failing to go through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum could someone say anything akin to what you uttered in your post.
This is way too long. I hate flooding the topic here, but I feel the need to respond, and since this is a publicly visible topic, I'd rather have the opportunity for others to view my response and critique it as they will.
To start with, here is the definition of secular that follow whenever I use the word in my posts:
Secular: "Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis."
Hopefully that keeps things clear as you (and potentially folks in general) read along!
A question: If not through secular (non-religious) methods, what alternative method should we use in creating a peaceful society emphasizing freedom and equality?
On the topic of open mindedness: People who have adopted a singular religion, and reject anything that does not conform to their religion--are they open minded? They have the potential to be, but we already know of large groups in the US who aren't open minded at all--Jehovah's Witnesses and their rejection of potentially life-saving blood transfusions, for example. I'd call that an example of religious close-mindedness. However, by adopting a secular (non-religious) perspective, one can investigate the claims of all
religious freely and without bias in favor of one religion over another.
I spent half a decade living over seas in Germany as it turns out. I visited graveyards, concentration camps, and other sites that conveyed the horrors of the holocaust. I went to many museums, saw many relics and documents, some of which were explained to me by historical experts, and individuals who had personal experience--my landlord's wife (I lived on economy in a small village, not on an army base), was a holocaust survivor herself, who told us the stories of her escaping as a small girl with her family, and the terrible things she witnessed, that members of her family shared proof of through photographs and journals. So even though I don't have the academic certification, I do
have direct experience in investigating this matter.
What I'm getting to, is the fact that Hitler cannot be claimed by the religious to be a symbol of "atheistic tyranny". This is a controversial topic, with evidence and claims on both sides
. There is evidence written in Hitler's own hand, that clearly shows the presence of religious inspiration, certainly a deistic belief at the least (see Hitler's Speeches and writings including Mein Kampf). But at this point in time
, I contend there is no way of establishing
whether Hitler was 100% Catholic, or 100% Atheist, nor a way of determining for certainty that his motivations were based on religion, or anti-theism.
I'm not going to assert Hitler was a member of any common religion we know of (again, he was demonstrably deistic at the least
, and stated his belief that "the Aryan race was created by God," for example) but I am going to call you out on the fact: there is evidence on both sides
--your claim of Hitler's reign being entirely secular is unjustified. He was hostile to religions other than his own, but he was by no means an atheist. He was a deist, at the least.
I might cover Soviet Russia in PM's or something later, but not here, since this forum thread isn't even about the topic we're discussing (sorry Nivek).
Just one last and little thing: I haven't gone through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, but I wouldn't call that failing
, I'd call that lacking
--in the same way that if I had never gone snowboarding before, I wouldn't say I failed
snowboarding. Minor, but I think it points out the different perspectives you and I have.
Speaking of perspectives, I'm definitely going to check out The Closing of the American Mind. I looked it up, and it does seem very interesting. Maybe I'll be able to empathize even a little bit, and see things sort of in the way you do, and come to a better understanding about these topics at hand.
Though I do want to apologize for such a long post--and to Nivek if he feels I've taken over his topic. Sozzes.