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Donald's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Donald

Comment #59806 by Russell Blackford: "Donald, I don't know what you mean by saying that religions have to be forced to be secular. If you mean that literally, then I can't agree. I have no wish to use force against religionists."

I meant force in the wide sense of encountering opposition that is stronger than they are. I don't believe they will choose secularism from within (except as a response to external opposition that is stronger than they are). Their natural tendency is to grow into governments.

"Force" can be peaceful. For example, people had to be forced to wear seat belts by laws, car manufacturers had to be forced by law to make safer cars, and so on. If the movement to expose as false, beliefs such as "holy books are the word of god", is sufficiently successful, then the combination of weakening of religious power and a stronger public expression of atheism, could force religions to give up some of their aspirations for political influence and power.

The disparate sects who founded the USA were forced to agree to a secular constitution, despite the desire of every sect to promote their own influence, by the presence of the other, competing, sects. They were also mindful of the consequences of a single sect having dominance - they were fleeing from the Catholic church.

The word "force" does not have to mean violence and warfare, despite its overuse in that way by headline writers. Nevertheless, the history of religion is replete with examples of exactly that, because religions became too powerful. Of course I prefer peaceful means to force religions to remain, or become, secular.

Tue, 31 Jul 2007 00:07:00 UTC | #56642