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May 9th, 2011
12:37 PM ET

College becomes nation's first to offer major in secularism

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - I don't know whether to be surprised that it happened or surprised that it took so long: a California college has become the first in the nation to offer a major in secularism.

The New York Times reported this weekend on the move by Pitzer College, a liberal arts institution in Southern California that's one of seven Claremont Colleges.

Some back story from The Times:

The department was proposed by Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist of religion, who describes himself as “culturally Jewish, but agnostic-atheist on questions of deep mystery.” Over the years he grew increasingly intrigued by the growth of secularism in the United States and around the world.

Indeed, signs abound that an aggressively secular demographic is growing in the United States and Europe, even as religion continues to occupy an important place in America and as Christianity and Islam see tremendous growth in the global south.

Last month saw the publication of a so-called secular Bible by an influential British atheist.  A recent academic paper predicted that religion will all but die out in nine Western-style democracies. And the number of overtly secular campus-based student groups appears to be exploding.

In addition to publishing books about atheism, the Pitzer College prof who proposed the new secular studies department has compiled a list of the 65 greatest songs for atheists and agnostics (though the atheism or agnosticism of some titles on the list, like The Beatles' "Think for Yourself,” are debatable).

A few additional details on Pitzer's new department from the Times:

Professors from other departments, including history, philosophy, religion, science and sociology, will teach courses like “God, Darwin and Design in America,” “Anxiety in the Age of Reason” and “Bible as Literature.”

... Laura Skandera Trombley, the president of Pitzer, said in an interview, “It’s a serious area of scholarly endeavor, and Pitzer College has a tradition of doing really exciting, cutting-edge intellectual work, so this really fits into the ethos of the college.”

Have you seen other signs that colleges are becoming more interested in the study of secularization and atheism?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • California • Education

soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Artist

    mehmet

    Mankind in this century has perceived that their greatest need is for moral and spiritual strength, comfort, and resolution. Therefore, for them to abandon Islam and truths of belief at this time, which are a point of support and secure such moral strength, comfort and happiness, and, instead of benefiting from Islamic nationhood, under the pretext of becoming westernised, for them to rely on misguidance, dissipation, and lying politics and diplomacy, which completely destroy and annihilate all moral strength, comfort, and resolution, is an act far from all benefit and profit for mankind. Just how far it is from benefiting mankind, mankind, and first and foremost, Islam will realize. They will be awakened to this truth, and, if time has not run out for this world, they will adhere to the truths of the Qur'an.
    ---------–
    Your book is no different than the christian myth as well as yours followed it. Perhaps the muslims felt left out and felt a need to create their own fairytale.

    May 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Artist

      Pastor Evans

      This is one of the reasons why America is under judgment right now and its only going to get worse for people like this ignorant professor and college. Only a "FOOL" says in his/ her heart that there is no God!!! Believe it or not because it is your choice, but God is real and you'll either know that now or at the day of your judgment where you will give an account of your life individually and all by yourself!!! Amen!!!

      ------------
      .
      First you gav eme a nice chuckle this morning. Second I have a question, do you hear god's voice? Do you talk to your god in the heavens? Depending on how you answer, you might need medical help.
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      May 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  2. Reality

    Living with Islam?

    From Sir Salman Rushdie's book "Satanic Verses", p. 376, paperback issue – for those 1.5 billion Muslims to read as they are forbidden to purchase or read said book:

    One of the passages that prompted the crazy Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa against Sir Rushdie:

    Mahound = Mohammed
    Gibreel = Gabriel

    "The faithful lived by lawlessness, but in those years Mahound – or should one say the Archangel Gibreel? – should one say Al-Lah? – became obsessed by law.

    Amid the palm-trees of the oasis Gibreel appeared to the Prophet and found himself spouting rules, rules, rules, until the faithful could scarcely bear the prospect of any more revelation, Salman said, rules about every da-mn thing, if a man farts let him turn his face to the wind, a rule about which hand to use for the purpose of cleaning one's behind.

    It was as if no aspect of human existence was to be left unregulated, free. The revelation – the recitation- told the faithful how much to eat, how deeply they should sleep, and which se-xual positions had received divine sanction, so that they leamed that so-domy and the missionary position were approved of by the archangel, whereas the forbidden postures included all those in which the female was on top.

    Gibreel further listed the permitted and forbidden subjects of conversation, and earmarked the parts of the body which could not be scratched no matter how unbearably they might itch.

    He vetoed the consumption of prawns, those bizarre other-worldly creatures which no member of the faithful had ever seen, and required animals to be killed slowly, by bleeding, so that by experiencing their deaths to the full they might arrive at an understanding of the meaning of their lives, for it is only at the moment of death that living creatures understand that life has been real, and not a sort of dream.

    And Gibreel the archangel specified the manner in which a man should be buried, and how his property should be divided, so that Salman the Persian got to wondering what manner of God this was that sounded so much like a businessman.

    This was when he had the idea that destroyed his faith, because he recalled that of course Mahound himself had been a businessman, and a damned successful one at that, a person to whom organization and rules came naturally, so how excessively convenient it was that he should have come up with such a very businesslike archangel, who handed down the management decisions of this highly corporate, if noncorporeal, God."

    May 11, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • mehmet

      Mankind in this century has perceived that their greatest need is for moral and spiritual strength, comfort, and resolution. Therefore, for them to abandon Islam and truths of belief at this time, which are a point of support and secure such moral strength, comfort and happiness, and, instead of benefiting from Islamic nationhood, under the pretext of becoming westernised, for them to rely on misguidance, dissipation, and lying politics and diplomacy, which completely destroy and annihilate all moral strength, comfort, and resolution, is an act far from all benefit and profit for mankind. Just how far it is from benefiting mankind, mankind, and first and foremost, Islam will realize. They will be awakened to this truth, and, if time has not run out for this world, they will adhere to the truths of the Qur'an.

      May 11, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  3. mehmet

    This century, man has been awakened by the warnings of war, science, and awesome events, and he has perceived the true nature of humanity and his own comprehensive disposition. Man has begun to understand that with his wonderful comprehensive abilities and disposition, he was not created only for this brief and troublesome worldly life; rather, that he is a candidate for eternity, for there are within him desires that extend that far. Everybody has begun to realize that this narrow and transient world is not sufficient and cannot meet man's boundless hopes and desires.

    If it is said to the imagination, which is one of the faculties and servants of humanity, "You will rule the world and live for a million years but in the end you will be dispatched to non-existence with no possibility of a return to life", for sure, the imagination of one who has not lost his true humanity and who has been awakened, rather than being joyful and pleased, would weep longingly and with sighs and regrets at there being no eternal happiness. Thus, included in this point is the fact that in everyone's heart an inclination has sprung up to search earnestly for a true religion. In the face of the sentence of death, before anything else man is searching. for a truth, contained only in true religion, so that he may save himself. The present state of the world testifies to this fact.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  4. Frogist

    I think most people here would benefit from an understanding of the differences between secularism and atheism. I am a little foggy on that definition myself. I take secularism to mean regarding the world apart from religion. Wiki defines it as mostly about keeping gov't separate from religion. Keeping human activities and decisions unbiased by religion is its other description. I particularly liked the quote from Holyoake, "Secularism is not an argument against Christianity, it is one independent of it." If anyone can give a clearer definition than that, I would really appreciate it.

    I'm pleased that there is an alternative to a religious studies focus. It creates a balance that seems really necessary today. People are very confused about a life without religion and make up all kinds of things simply out of ignorance and fear. Courses like this might really help to clear up misunderstandings that religious people tend to have and use to villify the non-religious. However, part of me really wishes a course like this was unnecessary. Secularism is part of our ident!ty as a country. So as Americans we should all have a general idea of what it means. Sadly that's not true as proven by the attacking comments made by some on this forum. I guess that's why this course addition is a timely one.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • mehmet

      Moreover, mankind has been awakened and aroused by the sciences of civilization, in particular; they have understood the true nature of humanity. Without any shadow of a doubt, they are not able to live without religion, aimlessly. They cannot. Even the most irreligious of them is compelled to take refuge in religion. For the only point of support for impotent mankind in the face of the innumerable disasters and the external and internal enemies that plague them, and the only point from which they may seek help and assistance in the face of the innumerable needs with which they are afflicted, and their desires that stretch to eternity, despite their utter want and poverty, is in recognizing the Maker of the world, in faith, and in believing and affirming the hereafter. There is no help for awakened mankind apart from this.

      If the jewel of true religion is not present in the shell of the heart, material, moral, and spiritual calamities of untold magnitude will break loose over mankind and they will become the most unhappy, the most wretched of animals.

      May 11, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Frogist

      @mehmet: I'm as-suming nothing you wrote was in response to my post since it doesn't really discuss any of the points I made. Also it is clearly possible to live without looking to god or religion as a guiding influence as has been repeatedly pointed out by many who have posted here. To deny that evidence simply causes your opinion to look biased.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  5. Adelina

    At this rate, they would major in drunkenness and the cause of foul languages as well.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Magic

      Adelina

      "At this rate, they would major in drunkenness and the cause of foul languages as well."

      Is that what YOU would do, Adelina, absent your magical supernatural being?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Magic: It's current goings in any secular society. Simple observation.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Magic

      Adelina,
      "It's current goings in any secular society."

      Ah, all those drunken, foul-mouthed Scandinavians, Hollanders, Canadians, eh?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Magic: Humans need godliness to be happy and worthy because that is the purpose of being human. We are not animals to enjoy foul things and lie in dirt when there is a divine purpose for us and others need our help. Wake up.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Eric G

      @Adelina: Wake up? I am wide awake. You choose to have faith in something without supporting evidence, and in spite of verified evidence to the contrary. It is you that chooses to believe in a fantasy. It is you who sleeps.

      Your arguments and threats are childlike and without logic.

      I will ask you once again....

      Please provide verifiable evidence to support the hypothesis that your, or any other gods exist. Without this evidence, your positions based on your beliefs are morally invalid becuase you have no evidence to support them.

      If you cannot provide this evidence, you either do not understand the verified evidence that disproves your claims (which is an argument from ignorance), or you do understand the verified evidence but deny it's existence because it does not support your world view (which is dishonest).

      Please provide your evidence to support your world view for verification. If you cannot, please let us all know if you are choosing to be ignorant or dishonest. Those are the only options you have.

      May 11, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • Artist

      Eric G

      @Adelina: Wake up? I am wide awake. You choose to have faith in something without supporting evidence, and in spite of verified evidence to the contrary. It is you that chooses to believe in a fantasy. It is you who sleeps.

      Your arguments and threats are childlike and without logic.

      I will ask you once again....

      Please provide verifiable evidence to support the hypothesis that your, or any other gods exist. Without this evidence, your positions based on your beliefs are morally invalid becuase you have no evidence to support them.

      If you cannot provide this evidence, you either do not understand the verified evidence that disproves your claims (which is an argument from ignorance), or you do understand the verified evidence but deny it's existence because it does not support your world view (which is dishonest).

      Please provide your evidence to support your world view for verification. If you cannot, please let us all know if you are choosing to be ignorant or dishonest. Those are the only options you have.

      ------------–
      .
      I suspect she will remain quiet and ignorant to your question. As well as her faith is in man. They have always worshiped man's creation while choosing to be ignorant of this fact.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  6. Adelina

    Secularism = a headless body, without hope or a decent direction, destined to immoral chaos

    May 10, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Magic

      Adelina

      "Secularism = a headless body, without hope or a decent direction, destined to immoral chaos."

      Secularists have much hope, Adelina - it simply is not grounded in superst.ition.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Magic: What hope? Butchering unborn humans and other unfits for reducing human population? Secularists have no hope – only self-destructive, filthy selfishness.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Magic

      Secularists are not for abortion... and those who allow it have hope for a better life for those who are born. There is no greater abortionist than Nature (or your imaginary "God") anyway.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Adelina

      @Magic: Your reasoning was used by Nazis in destroying the Jews. And God has a right to destroy human life because He takes care of it perfectly, but humans don't. Why are you guys so idiotic to put yourselves equal level with the holy, almighty God when you are such stupid, evil humans? You may have a hope for the future but your hope is selfish and the methods you need for your hope are crimes against humanity. Only Christianity provides decent hope and decent method.

      May 11, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Adelina.. Humans do not need god any more than you need to dance around Stonehenge with the pagan founders of your religion.. We are animals, as you are, and your failure to understand evolution does not change that fact.. not that you use facts of course in any discussion.

      May 11, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  7. HotAirAce

    Yahoo!! This is another step towards religion becoming regarded just like astrology. I hope ('cause praying is just another silly believer behaviour and absolutely pointless...) to see the day when believers are embarassed to declare their childish beliefs in public, not to mention continuing to cling to all their stupid ceremonies to honour non-existent "supernatural" man-made beings. Grow up folks – there are no gods!

    May 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Susan

      Can you imagine being able to take all the assets wasted on churches, we could balance all our state budgets and teachers wouldn't have to loose there jobs! LOL!

      May 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • Wordy Woodpicker

      I agree, Susan. Heheheh, maybe then they would have been able to teach you the difference between 'loose' and 'lose'; and 'there' and 'their' 🙂

      May 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  8. ACJ

    "Some things are true whether you believe in them or not." -City of Angels

    May 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      ACJ wrote: "Some things are true whether you believe in them or not."

      And some fairy tales are false whether you believe in them or not.

      May 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Eric G

      Truth is only observed through evidencial support. Verified evidence provides truth. Evidence and truth do not require belief.

      To believe without evidencial support is dangerous.

      May 11, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  9. JesusFreaker

    Adlina, "The Bible-literate Christianity never condemns anyone to execution because of un-orthodoxy".

    READ Deuteronomy 13:6-16 for the first time and get back to me on that. Millions have been slaughtered because of the "good" book.

    May 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • Adelina

      @J-F-, my longer comments have been rejected; that's why you didn't see. The Old Testament passages are there for the offences are national treasons. National traitors get executed today in all nations for bringing deadly dangers to many.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  10. James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil

    Most of the problems of the world are, and always have been, caused by religion. For example, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, 9/11, and family planning clinic bombing in the USA. Then there were the crusades, the inquisition, witch burnings, and the dark ages. Get the idea?

    Humanity will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and rational thinking.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Artist

      I fear mankind will most likely have to start over to reach this goal. We have too many religions and no shortage of ignorance.

      May 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  11. Artist

    CW

    @ Artist,

    ....God gave us all the Bible.....
    >>>>>>>>>
    Okay, now we are cooking... who wrote the bible? Please explain without using assumptions.
    >>>>>>>>>>

    Well CW are you going to humor me or not or back away into the shadows?????????

    May 10, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  12. Artist

    Adelina

    .... Without the Christian heritage, you are just another barbarian. @Humans have been around only 6,000 years. Regard anything before that as a fiction. Christianity continued from the Hebrews, so it has the longest records and finest wisdom and insights.
    -----------------
    It is obvious you are a troll and cannot be taken seriously. lol Folks dont feed the troll..lol

    May 10, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  13. CW

    @ Artist,

    Just scanned your comment,

    You said:

    Who wrote the Bible?

    -----

    I say:

    God used man to write the Bible.

    By the way the so called "cricket's" you heard were not b/c I wouldn't respond but b/c I didn't get back on until this morning. Also....why do you ask?.....since "you don't believe" and "won't believe" what's the difference who wrote the Bible.

    peace.

    May 10, 2011 at 8:47 am |
    • Free

      I guess God also guided the Church Fathers into selecting which books to include in the Bible, which to reject, which sects to deem heretical and who to put to death for not being orthodox enough?

      May 10, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Adelina

      @Free: The Bible-literate Christianity never condemns anyone to execution because of un-orthodoxy.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Stevie7

      @Adelina: "Christianity never condemns anyone to execution because of un-orthodoxy."

      Only if you ignore the old testament.

      And your god likes to condemn people all the time. Like when he executed the ENTIRE PLANET except for a handful of people from a single family (given your literal interpretation of the bible) – children, infants, and then unborn included, because he wanted to start over.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Adelina

      Stevie, God is the Creator. He has responsibility for the future generations. It NEEDED to start over. You guys are haughty against your Creator God when you are downright immoral; that's why you have no hope at this rate. The people at Noah's time were better than our generations. Why are you guys so stupidly proud against God when all you accomplished was polluting the planet and piling up unnecessary toys? Reality of death and the coming of judgment for mankind hasn't changed a bit.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  14. someoneelse

    @TheEasterBunny, the best part is you don't realize you actually helped to prove my point. Thanks by the way!

    May 10, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  15. Adelina

    Secularism is futile. Without Christ, no ideology can provide any ground for love and forgiveness for mankind. Apart from Christ, logical conclusion always comes to destruction of certain innocent members of mankind. Only knowing Christ reverses every barbarism of mankind including secularism.

    May 10, 2011 at 5:40 am |
    • Ma Chang

      In China, every one is supposed to be equal but you are only low class christian who-re with internet connection.
      You come here to talk lies. We see you talking lies. You go now! We do not need you here!

      May 10, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Stevie7

      Because Christianity never caused any wars? Did you sleep through history class? Buddhism is probably a more peaceful and more forgiving religion than Christianity (just read the bible – it's full of violence and condemnation). Why isn't that the One True Religion?

      May 10, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Adelina, your argument is not very convincing, Christianity is only about 2,000 years old, man has been on this planet for about 250,000 years. It seems to me that we got along for 248,000 years without it. I think we can get along without it again don't you?

      May 10, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • Adelina

      @Ma-Chang, Chinese Christians need more religious freedom in China. Don't bully in CNN forum. @Stevie, you say stupid stuff about Buddhism because you are not a Buddhist. Without the Christian heritage, you are just another barbarian. @Humans have been around only 6,000 years. Regard anything before that as a fiction. Christianity continued from the Hebrews, so it has the longest records and finest wisdom and insights.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Adelina, it seems to me that Native Americans date their history back 30,000 years, we can date the Native Australians back about 50,000 years. Do you (Christians) not count those people as Humans? These are not suppositions, these are recorded facts, unlike someone being born of a virgin by a ghost, now which is more likely close to the truth?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Jana

      @adelina

      what is so barbaric about secularism?

      and how do you know humans have been around for only 6,000 years?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Stevie7

      "how do you know humans have been around for only 6,000 years?"

      Because the bible says so. And the bible is literally true – especially the specific translation that Adelina uses. Why is the bible true? Because the bible says its true. See? Proof (using the logical reasoning of a second grader)

      May 10, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil

      Adelina, you, like all theists are a fool. There isn't one shred of proof of any god. You prefer your delusions to reality. What a sick, twisted thing is religion.

      Most of the problems of the world are, and always have been, caused by religion. For example, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, 9/11, and family planning clinic bombing in the USA. Then there were the crusades, the inquisition, witch burnings, and the dark ages. Get the idea?

      Humanity will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and rational thinking.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Adelina
      I have twice related you a story of selfless, secular medics saving hundreds of dying children from religious persecution in the recent past.
      Both times you completely ignored the fact that christianity is not required to be compassionate, selfless, humble and giving.
      It seems that you are totally unwilling to even consider anything that doesn't jive with your narrow, bigoted opinions.

      Is it deliberate, or do your religious blinders simply block out anything that might make you think?

      May 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Adelina

      There is no true proof of civilizations that goes before 5,000 years. Humans are animals without religion. The Christian charity far over whelms everything. My comment is short because longer ones keep get blocked no matter how I cut up words.

      May 10, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Hitch

      @Adelina

      ‘There is no true proof of civilizations that goes before 5,000 years.’

      Sure there is. Look at all the libraries filled with anthropological books on prehistoric civilizations.

      ‘Humans are animals without religion.’

      Honey, humans are animals WITH religion. The events of 9-11 attest to that. All the horrors of death, rampaging, destruction, ‘in the name of god’ no less in your OT bible attest to that.

      ‘The Christian charity far over whelms everything.’

      Right, the charity ongoing in Africa in food aid is mitigated by profligate church & its refusal to condone the use of devices/condoms which protect them from HIV. Some charity.

      ‘My comment is short because longer ones keep get blocked no matter how I cut up words.’

      You could be creative & segment it.

      May 11, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  16. Adelina

    Is there anything to learn in secularism other than selfishness, meaninglessness and promoting hedonism?

    May 10, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • JF

      Speaking of selfishness, how about we remove the tax exempt status of churches?

      May 10, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • colbey

      both of your posts indicate an astounding lack of understanding. especially this one. why don't you try learning something about secularism, rather than simply attempting to attach any horrible things you can think of to it? that's a simplistic and childish response to your fear of the unknown.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:22 am |
    • Adelina

      @JF, no, churches are helping too many people. It would be too much loss to everyone. @Colbey, seculairism is anything but "unknown." It's nice American secularists have Bibles and Christians around them always. Others are not that fortunate. When American secularists realize their abysmal hopelessness and stupidity, Christians will be there to help you.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:36 am |
    • JF

      Help you or burn you at the stake depending on how much power they have.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • Adelina

      JF, the Christian churches always helped you for all time everywhere. When a church leadership was wrong, they prohibited access to the Bible. More power for the true Church is better for the society, but the amount of power is not important because it is the Holy Spirit who is at work and because following Jesus is out of willing love, not of enforcement.

      May 10, 2011 at 5:35 am |
    • Free

      Adelina-
      "churches are helping too many people."
      For a fee, the ti.the or whatever amount you give for the service of being churched, which actually makes it a business by any standard measure, and businesses get taxed. If churches do any charity outside of this then that should be separated from the main business and tax exempt, but the funds funneled into church upkeep, paying pastor's salaries, church publicity, and the like ought to be taxed.

      May 10, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Stevie7

      So enlighten the rest of us please, which particular church is the True Church. And if you think atheists are not capable of charity, you need look no further than the Gates foundation. At least it won't try to impose dated, 2000 year old dogma on people when giving help.

      May 10, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • Adelina

      @Free: Church workers pay their taxes. Actually all US citizens should pay taxes to churches for their well-being, but churches do all their services free. @Stevie, atheists are doing way too little comparing to churches. You must help humanity more instead of polluting the planet.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • Free

      Adelina-
      My point was that whether you are going to a church for counseling, for religious education, or just to be entertained, that is just as much a business as a psychologist giving counseling, a community college offering classes, and the singer at the local pub. Christians can still have their dedicated charities that don't offer church services to set congregations. and they can enjoy tax exemption just as the many secular organizations dedicated to doing just charity do.

      "Actually all US citizens should pay taxes to churches for their well-being, but churches do all their services free."
      Now this leads me to suspect that someone out there is challenging the Poe Law. Either that, or you truly are in a rare class of people claiming to be Christians. Either way I just can't take you seriously anymore.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Adelina

      @Free, Christian Church give, give, give – spends herself out – in order to rescue the voiceless, provide food, free education and free medical care and God's Word of Hope to the poorest in all corners of the entire planet. You present Americans are so disrespectful and ungrateful to the Christian Church though you received every good thing from her. She will reject your dirty contribution; my point is that you owe her greatly though you secularists are thankless fools.

      May 10, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Hitch

      @ Adelina ,

      ‘More power for the true Church is better for the society,‘

      Really? The history of Europe, particularly the period of the Dark Ages would suggest otherwise. The bounty of ignorance on display during the churches height of power in Europe is only matched by its own disregard for human rights, it’s utter servile treatment, subjugation of women & aiding in the ascension of power by the feudal lords of the time. By your logic the more theocratic a state, the more society is likely to be flourishing, but if we take a look at some of the most modern theocratic states like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, & so on, they’re among the most repressive, have some of the worst literacy rates, among the higher infant mortality rates compared with the entire world.

      And what might I ask is the ‘true church’? After all with all the splintering of Christianity we today have some 30,000+ sects. How can so many possible interpolations exist if they’re all reading from the same book? How could any claim to be any more authoritative than any other?

      May 10, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  17. Adelina

    The US government should treat secularism as a religion and separate it from the State and start paying for all the private schools and home schools.

    May 10, 2011 at 3:44 am |
  18. Thomas Tarler

    I really dislike the tone this article takes. Secularism is just as valid as a field of study as any major religion. Much of philosophy revolves around the question, and I feel like this major is just a combination of secularist philosophy and the social studies.

    Atheism is a valid view point of the world, and should not be scoffed at. Some of its philosophers can take an active stance against religion, but this is not what atheism is about. I reject the existence of any sort of god. Instead, I make my own destiny. My existence precedes my essence, and from there I define my essence. So what? I'll let you believe in your god, if you let me believe in mine.

    May 9, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Ted M

      Secularism is not atheism. You are confused.
      As to letting you believe in your psychotic deities, go ahead.
      But insanity is not deserving of respect, just pity and what compassion we can bring to the table.
      You are sick. You need help. May you find it somewhere rational.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:26 am |
    • Ted M

      Sorry, that was a knee-jerk reaction. It's late. My eyes cannot keep up anymore.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:27 am |
  19. Mr T

    What did the secularist major say to the engineer?

    May 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Mr T

      ...would you like fries with that? 🙂

      May 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Scare white people

      I pity da foo!

      May 9, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Jesusfreaker

      Good point. At least with a degree in religion you can take money from the sick and old.

      May 10, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • colbey

      lol – great one, jesusfreaker!!

      i have BAs inEnglish and classics, so i'm qualified to ask if a customer would like a venti or a grande. but you're right–i could've easily gotten a degree in religion and be certified to swindle the desperate and vulnerable.

      May 10, 2011 at 4:18 am |
    • JJ in CT

      I wonder what percentage of engineers are secularist? Engineers typically have great skills in logic and reasoning. Bet it's quite high....

      May 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  20. Reality

    n. secularism

    1. Religious skepticism or indifference.
    2. The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.

    The opening statement before each class for those majoring in the topic:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will converge these religions into some simple secular rules of life e.g. Do No Harm. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.----

    May 9, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.