Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Apr/09

25

Atheism, religion and politics

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At ScienceBlogs I look at World Values Survey data and compare secular and conservative East Asian nations to the religious but liberal United States. I conclude (after looking over data tables):

My point here is rather simple: increased secularism in the United States would almost certainly lead toward a shift to greater Left-Liberalism. But that dynamic will almost certainly exhibit diminishing returns as secularization proceeds and the personality and social profiles of atheists starts to converge upon the general population. The bad news for conservatives is that I think the secularizing tendency in America during the current period is good for liberalism. The good news is that it probably isn’t as bad as it could be if you extrapolated on a straight line from the current secular population in terms of political outlook.

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9 comments

  • Conspirama · April 25, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Secular Right » Atheism, religion and politics…

    Atheism, religion and politics. April 25th, 2009 – David Hume. Goto comments Leave a comment. At ScienceBlogs I look at World Values Survey data and compare secular and conservative East Asian nations to the religious but liberal United ……

  • Mark in Spokane · April 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Part of the problem with your speculation is the simple fact that secularism is battery acid to tradition. Every culture is based, at its core, on cult — on religion. The very word “culture” reflects this reality. Once the core cult of a society is removed, then the society become unhinged. Soviet Russia demonstrated this; Maoist China did a good job of showing this as well. The current demographic collaspe of Europe is another example of this truth in action. I am afraid that once “secularism” gets strongly embedded within a culture, that culture is in for deep trouble.

  • Author comment by David Hume · April 26, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    . Every culture is based, at its core, on cult — on religion.

    kind of wrong. or at least right but trivial. yes, the chinese state had a cult, but it was qualitatively different from the cult at the heart of the iberian monarchies. ergo, the differing roles of institutional religion in chinese and spanish societies.

  • Mark in Spokane · April 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Your observation is quite correct as far the type of cult goes. I wouldn’t even attempt to argue that the cult at the core of Chinese or Japanese society was the same as the cult at the core of Spanish or Norwegian society. But that doesn’t undermine the simple fact that at the core of each society is a spiritual core. Those spiritual cores are different — non-theistic in China, ancestor-worship oriented in Japan, Christianity in Spain and Norway (albeit of different types) — but the cults in each case are not easily reduceable to “secular” values and themes. And I am sorry, one cannot look at Japan or Spain and Norway today and say that they are viable long-term societies. They simply aren’t. The Spanish and Norwegians and Japanese are going the way of the dodo. And as this blog’s own Mr. Derbyshire has pointed out, China is looking at its own looming demographic plunge.

    There is a question whether a truly “secular” society is viable — not a secular state or a secular polity, but a secular society. Once the cult at the core of a culture is lost, things don’t go well for the society as a whole. We see evidence of that all around us in the world today.

  • Author comment by David Hume · April 27, 2009 at 11:05 am

    There is a question whether a truly “secular” society is viable — not a secular state or a secular polity, but a secular society.

    there are very few secular societies (china perhaps) in terms of belief about the supernatural. the set of unviable societies is far larger than the few secular ones.

    also, i don’t grant that china was really non-theistic. perhaps i should flesh out my point in a post.

  • Secular Right » A non-secular past, present and future · April 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    [...] the comments below I engaged in a little bit of glib dismissal in regards to the contention that a secular [...]

  • Cornelius J. Troost · April 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    David Hume is right about the secularization process that emerged from the Sixties Revolution. While we still have room to descend further into effete liberalism, the Obama phenomenon reminds us that American youth are far removed from their religious conservative counterrparts of the pre-Sixties era. Those who were not conservative were indifferent to politics in that pristine world.Today they are products of multicultural TV and self-esteem schooling wrapped in MSM torrential liberalism. The cult of Obama says much about the religiousity of liberalism.

    If indeed America becomes ever more secular it will implode because it has willingly allowed mass Third World illegal immigration as well as a potentially destructive European-style socialist political order to replace what Peter Hitchens called “the last great free society.” Constitutional democracy is threatened already by Obama’s minions as we see in DHS’s internal memos identifying us conservatives as enemies. This is really happening today. Given a strife-ridden bilingual U.S.A. with Babel-like chaos, it may well be Islam that is the winner because the residual religiousity of the masses will attach to the force with greatest power. I can assure you that Eurabia is not a pipedream and a similar fate could befall America long before effete atheists debate suitable politico-economic scenarios for a secular state.

  • Kevembuangga · April 28, 2009 at 12:59 am

    The cult of Obama says much about the religiousity of liberalism.

    True!
    LOL (oh! hum! may be not…)

  • Canatheist · April 30, 2009 at 8:04 am

    @Mark in Spokane
    You’re missing a few key points in your argument. First off, soviet Russia and Mao’s china replaced religion with a kind of forced atheism – very different from the US, which has no official religion. Second, it was a revolutionary change, not a gradual one as we see happening in the US. Third, you’re trying to compare totalitarian regimes to a republic. I don’t know if that was your intent, but that’s how it came across.

    I can’t agree that ‘secularism is battery acid to tradition’. To religious tradition, perhaps – but when was the last time you heard any sort of argument about why there shouldn’t be a thanksgiving day, father’s day, mother’s day, flag day, or president’s day?

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