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← Who wants to go through life defining themselves as a 'non-believer'?

Cartomancer's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Cartomancer

I disagree profoundly. I find it entirely and gloriously edifying to identify myself by what I am against. Often this via negativa is by far the most sensible policy to take, because it is usually far easier to identify bad ideas and commit strongly to rejecting them than it is to identify good ideas and commit strongly to supporting them.

British politics is a case in point. I tend to vote for the Liberal Democrats when I do vote, but politically I would describe myself as "anti-Tory". I have some serious reservations about the Labour party, and about the Lib Dems also, especially now they have become Tory-enablers. Even the Greens have some very silly policies on homeopathy, and in any case stand almost no chance of having any influence where I am. I can't commit wholeheartedly to any party. But I can most assuredly despise David Cameron's callous, banker-cosseting, free-marketeering, economically illiterate, socially backward, Eton-mafia of a rich-man's party and everything it stands for. I think the vast majority of people in Britain feel the same.

Similarly with religion. I might have a humanistic ethical outlook, but I don't find that an especially interesting fact to mention. Ultimately one has to have a humanistic ethical outlook if one doesn't believe in divine morality-givers. No, the important thing is that I have rejected the irrational nonsense of religion, because religion is the nasty, pointless, dangerous stuff. I don't have to have something to put in its place to feel complete, just as I don't have to have something to put in the place of a pair of handcuffs when I finally get out of them.

Ultimately one can only believe that "no religion" is a negative identification if one believes that religions are positive, important, special, useful or otherwise laudable things. Far from being the equivalent of "no opinion" or "no comment" it is more the equivalent of "no problems" or "no disability" or "debt-free", all of which anyone would be more than happy to identify as..

Sat, 26 Mar 2011 11:35:46 UTC | #607352