Monday, March 02, 2009

Secular Thought for the Day?

It is only very occassionally that I write on this blog about religion. That's not because I have anything against religion and faith per se, in fact I have a great and almost irrational reverance for it to be perfectly honest. I did used to go to Church as a child and teenager after all.

In fact I even went on Christian based adventure holidays more than once. The one in Barnstaple was awesome and a good laugh. If it wasn't for the Church of England I probably wouldn't be a smoker. Saying this thought I don't believe in God nor do I disbelieve in God.

I do however have a great deal of respect for the moral and ethical teachings of the different faiths, and as such I actually quite like the "Thought for the Day" feature on the Today programme. However there now appears to be another alternative for the secular athiests (who I also consider people of faith) at Secular Thought for the Day.

The site is campaigning to have the faith aspect removed from the Today show, or to at least have secular thought represented in it. I don't have a personal problem with the latter, but I do think the former would be a real shame - especially because, as I say, the secularist atheist position is as much an article of philosophical faith as any religious faith.

19 comments:

Deadbeat Dad said...

I always used to reach for the 'Off' button whenever TFTD was announced.

Last summer, I stopped listening to R4 altogether (breaking a twenty-year habit). Life is much the better for its absence.

Mike Law said...

You really need to read Dawkins' book (The God Delusion) - he explains why atheism is not a matter of faith far more eloquently than I ever could.

Martin said...

On a similar theme, at the convention on modern liberty on saturday, I was speaking to a man from the National Secular society. We both agreed that "secularism" has been tainted with this theres no god, religion is for fools mentality expressed by people like Richard Dawkins. I looked down to take one of the badges being given out and noticed one of the designs was... a purple badge saying only "atheist". They were then removed from the pile, pretty damn quickly. Hmm..

marksany said...

they've been after a secular thought for the day for years, on the basis that they should have their turn along with all the other religions. The usual argument against is that the vast majority of the rest of R4 is secular already.

I think they are making a mistake in trying to compete with religions, as if secular belief is another faith.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

How militantly reasonable...

Idle Pen Pusher

OutspokenButNothingToSay said...

As a non-believer studying theology I absolutely agree with you. The fact is that the dogmatic campaigns conducted by some atheists (e.g. signs on buses anyone?) are every bit as narrow-minded as those of the ultra-evangelical branches of the church. Christianity's system of beliefs and values is rooted in the fabric of Western morality, including secular morality (e.g. human rights) and as such it should be recognised for its importance and intrinsic value regardless of its ultimate 'truth'.

dizzy said...

"You really need to read Dawkins' book (The God Delusion) - he explains why atheism is not a matter of faith far more eloquently than I ever could."

I have and he doesn't. The fact is is that the non-existence of a "Creator" is just as untestable as the existence of one.

The former relies on a belief that science deal with truth - which it doesn't. Whilst the latter relies on the "revelation" of truth.

As a scientist one must accept at least the possibility for the existence of God, which, incidentally, Dawkins does do and has done in interviews.

Anonymous said...

Existence of God may be untestable, but it is unlikely, you could say a lemon jelly flavoured labrador called Fiona gave birth to the God worshipped my Christians, Jews and Muslims, that would also be untestable, and just as valid as saying there is a God. Just because you can't prove something doesn't exist doesn't mean it does exist.

dizzy said...

"Just because you can't prove something doesn't exist doesn't mean it does exist."

Nor does it mean it doesn't

Mike Law said...

Yep, Dawkins does accept the possibility for the existence of God. However, science cannot "prove" that unicorns do not exist and that there is no pixie gold at the end of my garden... I'm off on my trusty horned steed to pick up that stash!

Doesn't probability come into your examination of the possibilities?

dizzy said...

Science doesn't "prove" anything. It only fails to disprove.

Mike Law said...

You win... I cannot "prove" to myself that there is any point in continuing with this :)

Keep up the excellent blogging!!

How do you find the time?

Falco said...

How many times, atheism is not a faith!

May I refer you to the Spanky Lesbian Pixie Wenches argument:

http://dsftyj.blogspot.com/2007/09/spanky-lesbian-pixie-wenches.html

Steve said...

"secularist atheist position is as much an article of philosophical faith as any religious faith."

Sorry, I just wish to record my view that this is absolute nonesense. Unfortunately the arguments (as Fermat would say) are too long to record here. But they are available elsewhere. The absence of a belief is not a faith.

dizzy said...

errr the "absence of belief" is itself a belief in the absence of belief, and becomes an article of faith in that absence.

I've had this dicussion so many times with athists who say "I believe in nothing" and had to point out to them that belief in nothing remains belief.

It's a bit like saying "there is no absolute truth". Totally paradoxical and nonsensical.

Philip Wigg said...

> errr the "absence of belief" is itself a belief in the absence of belief, and becomes an article of faith in that absence.

This is true but you're really just playing on the word 'faith'.

The 'faith' that a Christian has in their religion and the 'faith' you described required to disbelieve in any given proposition are very different things.

It seems to me that the latter is a requirement of using language, and it certainly doesn't make Christianity and atheism equivalently irrational.

Vincent said...

Dizzy, atheism is only a matter of faith if you stick to the dictionary definition of the word. It really is a word we do not need. We don't have a word for somebody who is not an astrologer. You do not wake up in the morning feeling the need to remind yourself that you are not a plumber.

We are all atheists with respect to the 'fairies at the bottom of the garden' - are you going to give credence to every individual faith in your attempt to be even handed?

I think you are an atheist in disguise, aching to break out and condemn those ***** theists :o)

80n said...

Yeah, every Muslim is a Jewish Atheist, every Catholic is a Christian Atheist, etc.

If you pick any god you are automatically and atheist in the eyes of every other religion.

Argue yourself out of that corner, why don't you.

80n said...

dizzy said:
> I've had this dicussion so many times with athists who say "I believe in nothing" and had to point out to them that belief in nothing remains belief.

Pah! You are playing with words. Try this "I don't believe in any religion".

Please explain what belief you think this presumes?