Religion’s Decline & the Rise of Secularism

Thomas Paine; a painting by Auguste Millière (...

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Within recent years especially, and probably since the 18th century, despite the resurgence of religious conservatism, a growing number of people worldwide are embracing a secular lifestyle, and religion seems to be declining somewhat.

And no, if you think that secularism is a religion, then you have an equally good reason to think that triangular is a color.

I didn’t think so…

And by secular, I don’t mean strict self-identified atheists, but also agnostics, anti-theists, humanists, philosophical naturalists, pantheists, and others who neither believe in any sort of personal supernatural divinity nor follow a religious or spiritual tradition, Old or New Age.

Is religion disappearing? I think it’s too early to say, but my guess would be probably not any time soon, and it may be just current religions that this will happen to, leading to the founding and rise of new ones, like every other extinct or nearly extinct religion humanity has invented.

As most of you are probably aware, I’m an atheist, though I generally don’t give it much thought nor care. I wouldn’t be a very good anti-theist, at least not yet, since I don’t spend as much time polishing my arguments as I could.

I think that the ascendance of secularism in all its forms is a good thing, for society as a whole, for as long as we secularists don’t adopt the tactics of religion’s defenders and try to muzzle the opposition by blasphemy laws, disinformation, obfuscation, censorship, and the occasional fatwa, (and I certainly don’t advocate outlawing nor banning religion) a more secular society and likewise, secular government, has better safeguards against any one religion gaining undue privilege or power, unlike significant sectors of some U.S. state and federal government at this time in the Culture Wars.

As a former Seventh-Day Adventist (known by at least one other blogger as Sadventists), I know from experience the extremes to which religious doctrine and dogma can be carried, and just so you know:

It wasn’t skepticism leading to atheism that drove me away from religion, it was religion that did so, all by itself.

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