[FoRK] Ross Douthat on Secularism (vs. Atheism)

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar <drernie at radicalcentrism.org> on Fri Jun 1 08:51:49 PDT 2007

I hesitate to bring this up, but I do think this is a worthy  
distinction. I wonder how many FoRKers are really more concerned  
about encouraging secularism than atheism per se...



There are two strains of secularism, I would argue, which are usually  
intertwined but philosophically distinct: A soft secularism that  
argues for a legal separation of church and politics - no school  
prayer, no federal funds for churches, etc - and a hard secularism  
that militates for a complete separation of religion and politics,  
and shades easily into hostility toward organized religion in a  
general. But neither form precludes private belief in the  
supernatural. A perfectly "secular" society would be defined not by  
universal atheism, but by a religion-free politics in the short run,  
and probably a long-run "decoupling," as Razib puts it, of  
supernatural beliefs from religious institutions.

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