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← Dublin Declaration on Secularism and the place of religion in public life

Dublin Declaration on Secularism and the place of religion in public life - Comments

josephor's Avatar Comment 1 by josephor

Its an excellent proposal.It is a reasonable proposal.We know where the faithheads will stand on this and we know where we stand on this.There is however the "third front" one that I experience every day of my life and no doubt everyone here has run into : The lazy "A bit of God never did anyone any harm kind". or the political coward. In Ireland these are the people that we have to engage, I will certainly do my bit to help.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 07:17:50 UTC | #635801

Dr. monster's Avatar Comment 2 by Dr. monster

this is excellent i will send this to an MP

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 08:33:29 UTC | #635820

Metamag's Avatar Comment 3 by Metamag

(a) The sovereignty of the State is derived from the people and not from any god or gods.

Hm, but the people are the ones who made up those gods..

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 09:37:50 UTC | #635835

dubjim's Avatar Comment 4 by dubjim

Thanks Michael and well done on organising a fantastic convention in Dublin, really enjoyable. You are right, these issues need to be spoken about.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 09:45:52 UTC | #635836

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 5 by Michael Gray

Nothing at all about abolishing the iniquity that is automatic tax exemptions for 'churches'.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 10:47:57 UTC | #635859

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 6 by Richard Dawkins

Comment 5 by Michael Gray :

Nothing at all about abolishing the iniquity that is automatic tax exemptions for 'churches'.

I agree, this is one of my top priorities. But isn't it covered under 2(e)?

(e) Religions should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status for religious activities, or grants to promote religion or run faith schools.

Richard

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 10:56:15 UTC | #635864

houseofcards's Avatar Comment 7 by houseofcards

Good Luck!

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 10:59:09 UTC | #635865

Tryphon Tournesol's Avatar Comment 8 by Tryphon Tournesol

Me likezz... I wonder if there are (for example) many christians out there who don't oppose such proposals, but actually feel protected by them. Especially in the light of other upcoming religions threatening their piece of the pie?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 11:49:51 UTC | #635881

xspamo's Avatar Comment 9 by xspamo

Clear and concise. Good work.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:01:35 UTC | #635883

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 10 by Vicktor

I think there should be something that protects children from some of the dangers of religion; especially on account of their guardians or parents. For instance, Muslim children should not be forced to pray if they don't want to. There is no good reason they must.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:06:24 UTC | #635887

Reason Saves's Avatar Comment 11 by Reason Saves

It all seems very reasonable to me. I'm reminded of Richard Dawkins' discussion on the new Ten Commandments from The God Delusion. He says "The whole point is that it is the sort of list that any ordinary, decent person today would come up with." and I think that applies here, too.

Clearly, the religiously inclined will not agree with this, but I would love to hear on what grounds. I can't see how this can be opposed without exposing opposer as a bigot.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:06:39 UTC | #635888

jmaycock's Avatar Comment 12 by jmaycock

A great set of rules that would make the world a much better place if adopted. I, like some of the other commenters, would love to hear what religious people have to say about them.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:16:20 UTC | #635895

Art Vandelay's Avatar Comment 13 by Art Vandelay

"State education should be secular" - why, who cares what the poor think?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:24:37 UTC | #635901

ridelo's Avatar Comment 14 by ridelo

There should be no right ‘not to be offended’ in law.

It sounds weird but it's a privilege to live in a society where it is possible to be offended.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:25:47 UTC | #635902

ttjudges67's Avatar Comment 15 by ttjudges67

Comment removed by moderator

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:33:58 UTC | #635905

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 16 by AtheistEgbert

I must admit, I find something a bit uncomfortable about this top down approach to how I need to discuss my political views with fellow atheists. I don't recognise the Dublin convention as an authority, sorry.

However, the proposals are sensible. But why so many 'shoulds'? I counted twenty-two 'shoulds' in the proposals. Yet in the universal declaration of human rights, there are only two instances. Why not simply adopt the universal declaration of human rights? Possibly because it does not protect atheists.

Who wrote these constitutional statements? What makes them an authority for atheism?

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:47:08 UTC | #635907

ttjudges68's Avatar Comment 17 by ttjudges68

Comment removed by moderator

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 12:47:46 UTC | #635908

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 18 by hungarianelephant

Comment 16 by AtheistEgbert :

But why so many 'shoulds'? I counted twenty-two 'shoulds' in the proposals. Yet in the universal declaration of human rights, there are only two instances. Why not simply adopt the universal declaration of human rights? Possibly because it does not protect atheists.

The Universal Declaration simply asserts particular matters to be human rights, so it doesn't need to use the word "should". Those of us who don't believe in authoritative statements being handed down on tablets of stone should probably stick with "should". (See what I did there?)

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 13:26:04 UTC | #635932

paul686s's Avatar Comment 19 by paul686s

I don't know if this is covered by 4b, but what about the right to die with dignity. Recently my father took seven days to die through dehydration and starvation. He had suffered from dementia for many years and had reached the point at which he had lost his swallowing reflex and was aspirating food and drink.

It was horrific watching him die and the claim that this is not a form of euthanasia made by the sky pilot who came to discus his funeral with my mother made me so angry. She felt that denying him a drip to hydrate him was cruel but had no answer when I pointed out that providing such a drip would only have ensured that his death took even longer through starvation.

People have asked me why I find religion offensive as another persons beliefs surely are none of my concern, well the above experience is a classic example of why they are my concern.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 13:37:24 UTC | #635933

keithapm's Avatar Comment 20 by keithapm

Comment 16 by  AtheistEgbert :

Who wrote these constitutional statements? What makes them an authority for atheism?

Who said that they were "constitutional"? This is a non-legally binding declaration which is altogether different from a constitution. It merely sets out the aims of the organisation that is the AAI and is subject, like the Copenhagen Declaration before it, to revision.

You can find some background to all this here.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 13:50:45 UTC | #635937

Rob Schneider's Avatar Comment 21 by Rob Schneider

Comment 16 by AtheistEgbert :

I must admit, I find something a bit uncomfortable about this top down approach to how I need to discuss my political views with fellow atheists. I don't recognise the Dublin convention as an authority, sorry.

... deleted...

Who wrote these constitutional statements? What makes them an authority for atheism?

Egbert, it's not about authority, but community. Would you or would you not affirm the sentiments of the declaration. If not, what would you include that is better, or what would you remove?

You "seem" (and I use online diagnoses cautiously) to want to be in a position of "Nobody can tell me what to do."... and while this is true, it neglects the value of AGREEING once in a while with the common goals atheists share.

@HungarianElephant Comment#18... yes, you simultaneously demonstrated your point while exposing Egbert's inconsistency re: authority. Good move.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 13:51:27 UTC | #635939

NH King's Avatar Comment 22 by NH King

Who wrote these constitutional statements? What makes them an authority for atheism?

What makes "them" an authority for atheism is the fact that they are community of atheists openly discussing the ways in which a healthy society ought to run. Authority is not a bad thing in and of itself. Richard, for instance, is an authority on evolutionary biology. He earns that authority by effort and study. The authority granted to those writing the Dublin Declaration on Secularism rests on the quality of the declaration, consequently resting on the education and intentions of the authors.

The claim that there is some undue authority being assumed - minus any particular argument, well defined and directed toward a specific article in the mentioned declaration - is like Don McLeroy's famous "Somebody has to stand up to the experts" line.

I have no doubts that you are capable, after careful sociological and political study, of contributing to this declaration. Anybody showing the due diligence and education is invited to this discussion. But you have not shown such education in your comment (not to say you've shown the opposite). To be brief, I think it is best said, "Put up or shut up." Not just to you, but for anybody that rejects the idea that education improves the ability for people to operate a society. There are obviously good and bad societies, tell us how the Dublin Declaration is against your better standards. Explain how an authority-less society would be preferable. I refuse to accept it is based solely on your say-so.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:29:10 UTC | #635950

Ramases's Avatar Comment 23 by Ramases

Overall, a great declaration and commitment to the noble ideal of secularism and personal freedom.

These kinds of statements are important in establishing freedoms in opposition to those who would use the guise of religious rights to stifle the rights of others or privilege their beliefs in the public domain.

It is also important to establish these principles to negate the harmful influence of those who would use the atheist movement to further their own xenophobic and intolerant agendas (and unfortunately they do exist).

1. (a) Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are private and unlimited. Freedom to practice religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others.

2. (d) Government should be secular. The state should be strictly neutral in matters of religion and its absence, favouring none and discriminating against none.

I hope Pat Condell and the other bigots who were bleating "No mosques at ground zero" take note.

People who want to limit the freedom of religion of others are not secularists.

Freedom is meaningless unless it is freedom for all, including for those we disagree with.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:33:33 UTC | #635951

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 24 by quarecuss

"The Dublin Declaration."
It makes a refreshing change from recent Irish fare ... Ryan report, Murphy report ...

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:42:22 UTC | #635953

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 25 by AtheistEgbert

@18

"Those of us who don't believe in authoritative statements being handed down on tablets of stone should probably stick with "should". (See what I did there?)"

No. In fact, nothing is more annoyingly authoritative than than telling people what they should be doing. The Universal declaration of human rights almost gets around this by using the word 'shall' instead, which it uses as much as twenty-seven times.

@20 I did not say it was constitutional, and so my question goes unanswered.

@21

"Egbert, it's not about authority, but community. Would you or would you not affirm the sentiments of the declaration. If not, what would you include that is better, or what would you remove?" You "seem" (and I use online diagnoses cautiously) to want to be in a position of "Nobody can tell me what to do."... and while this is true, it neglects the value of AGREEING once in a while with the common goals atheists share.

@22

"Authority is not a bad thing in and of itself. "

Really? I find appealing to authority shamefully fallacious and irrational.It goes against the idea of liberty and equality, so it most certainly is a bad thing.

"To be brief, I think it is best said, "Put up or shut up." Not just to you, but for anybody that rejects the idea that education improves the ability for people to operate a society."

I am simply left shocked by that.

The declaration or proposals are not aimed at the 'community' but toward believers. I honestly see them as ridiculous, because no believer is going to agree with them, even if they logically follow from basic individual freedoms.

This is a discussion of course, and holding a polemic position against them is part of the process of discussion. The first part of shutting down discussion is to silence the polemic position.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:42:46 UTC | #635954

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 26 by JHJEFFERY

All very nice except for this bumbling of syntax:

All blasphemy laws, whether explicit or implicit, should be repealed and should not be enacted.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:53:02 UTC | #635959

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 27 by rjohn19

I cannot disagree with anything in this faithless manifesto but I think the only practical purpose might be to help herd the cats of all degrees of nonbelief into speaking with one louder, clearer voice. This is a "must" fo any minority wanting its agenda to be taken seriously.

When the faithful now think of New Atheists, they tend to see a one-trick pony repeating the mantra of "you've got to be batshit crazy to believe that nonsense." And while I do see a positive in broadening the perception, I don't ever want that particular pony hidden away somewhere in a secret stall. In this regard, I found the proclamation a bit too deferential to the craziness. The US Constitution has most of the safeguards asked for in the above but the lunacy rages on.

Nice wish list anyway. So, whose turn is it to point his magical finger and intone in his best Jean-Luc-Picard baritone, "Make it so."

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 16:07:28 UTC | #636001

Alan Canon's Avatar Comment 28 by Alan Canon

I like the declaration from beginning to end, but as an American, I demand big, fat, obsolete Roman numerals to number the various clauses!

In all seriousness, this is a great document, and "mad props" to those who drafted it!

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 16:15:19 UTC | #636005

Lapithes's Avatar Comment 29 by Lapithes

It seems to me that 4a (the "democratically decided" bit) conflicts with 1a, 1c, 2b, 2c (strongly), 3c, 4c and possibly with entrenched constitutions such as the United States'.

The least you can expect from a declaration is consistency, as well as what you least do expect.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 16:20:22 UTC | #636010

ganggan's Avatar Comment 30 by ganggan

I don't understand this: "Freedom of expression should be limited only by the need to respect the rights and freedoms of others."

Why should "freedom of expression" be limited under certain circumstances? Is blasphemy disrespectful to the right of believing in god?

In my view, freedom of expression should NOT be limited by any reason, at all.

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 17:07:44 UTC | #636024