Talk:Secular religions

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Heh! Like it! (Not to mention "Evolutionism as a word") SusanG  ContribsTalk 11:18, 27 September 2008 (EDT)


As a former Objectivist, I can say that it nearly meets any definition you'd like of a religion. It has a founder, a set of dogma (more dogmatic, in fact, than most forms of Christianity), and even supernatural characters. (They don't call them that, but it's obvious that Aristotle is God, Aquinas is Moses, and Rand is herself Jesus, while Plato, Augustine, and Kant are all the Devil.) If nothing else, it should count as a secular cult. Researcher 18:02, 30 September 2008 (EDT)

Employment discrimination[edit]

In the UK, all manner of beliefs or lack thereof have been legally counted as "religious" for purposes of employment discrimination cases (e.g.. Although I suspect these wouldn't pass either in normative or sociology of religion terms, they should be noted here - David Gerard (talk) 16:15, 15 November 2011 (UTC)

The "Does secular religion exist" section[edit]

This is a pretty badly argued section, and it's overall not a very convincing article either.

However, those using functional rather than a substantive definition of religion would argue that whether the nature of the belief is supernatural or theistic is irrelevant, so a secular religion is possible.

This statement is silly because if you're talking about "secular religion" then you're using a "functional" understanding of religion by definition. Earlier on we have this:

Religions invariably include a belief in some form of supernatural beings, force or deity at work in the world, and usually involve specific activities including worship and ritual ceremonies.

This conflates the two definitions haphazardly, and is also very questionable. Firstly, why does religion "invariably" include this kind of belief? This is a distinctly Eurocentric claim based on a post-Reformation understanding of what "religion" means. Secondly, why is it "invariably" incorporated in a belief but only "usually" to do with specific activities? (The sociological consensus is pretty much the exact opposite -- there are some types of belief that "usually" characterize what we understand as religion, but ritual is inherent to it.) More generally, saying that A "invariably" includes B and therefore A cannot include B is tautologically shuffling definitions around and doesn't make "A including B" a useless concept.

Returning to the last paragraph, we have:

The concept of 'secular religion' is a paradox, since anything secular is, by definition, not religious, and if it becomes religious it ceases to be secular.

This statement (and the one after it) is verging on being a PRATT as far as sociology of religion is concerned. Yes, it is true that the public secular sphere has been defined in the West in juxtaposition to the private religious sphere, but this has no bearing at all on whether secular attitudes can in fact be considered using the interpretative apparatus usually applied to religion. If they can, then it's pretty arbitrary to beat around the bush by calling it "quasi-religious". --Lord Shang (talk) 00:54, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

New atheism proselytizing -- atheism as a religion.[edit]

How does the new atheist who tries to convince people to abandon faith or who argues that belief systems other than her own are universally a bad thing not, in the words of this article, "mimic the forms of religious institutions"? Theory of Practice "Now we stand outcast and starving 'mid the wonders we have made." 15:51, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

I've wondered that myself. I don't spend time trying to convince people that Loch Ness, or Ghosts do not exist. When you hold there is no god, and go about your business the same way you do about Santa, or Loch Ness that's one thing. But when you activly try to change the mind of those who believe, are you not proselytizing? And isn't your "lack of belief" now something more?--Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 16:16, 31 December 2012 (UTC)


This discussion was moved to Forum:Dirk Steele said something.

Unitarian Universalism[edit]

This discussion was moved to Forum:Dirk Steele said something.

Why did whoever removed it remove it? Shall we go, you and I while we can/Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds? 12:59, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Dunno. Ask them. Dirk Steele (talk) 13:39, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, butterfingers on my iPad. Redchuck.gif ГенгисmaraudingModerator 13:48, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Auguste Comte[edit]

It sould be noted that 19th century French thinker Auguste Comte created a secular religion called The Religion of Humanity, which probably comes closest to a "secular religion" than a lot of other beliefs in this article. Does this bear adding? MidnightBlue766 (talk) 02:07, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Oh, why not - David Gerard (talk) 22:33, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

Atheism as religion, take II[edit]

....atheism itself is a religious belief.

This seems to be worded oddly. While atheism may not be a religion, atheism is a religious belief; it is a belief about deities. The fact that it's a null hypothesis doesn't change the nature of the subject. - Smerdis of Tlön, If you burn with an inner fire, you are already damned. 02:39, 23 March 2015 (UTC)


The way in which ethnic nationalists fervently believe in the total veracity of their own persecution-complex-fostering lies and the propagandic nature of the narratives of all other ethnic groups (for no other reason than groupthink caused by echo chambers and early indoctrination) does seem to me rather similar to the way in which adherents of religions so often firmly believe in the existence of their local deity or the validity of their own particular denomination and the falsehood of all others.--Кřěĵ (ṫåɬк) 23:07, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

That's really going to take you into definitions. It can be a little difficult to maintain a definition of "religion" which is sufficiently narrow to be meaningful. There are certainly close parallels with nationalist beliefs and religions. But there are also close close parallels between football (US soccer) supporters and religious believers. The belief tends to be total, it is often inherited, it's not based on logic and evidence, and it is very difficult to escape from.
But for a religion you really need some supernatural elements, probably a god (or gods or whatever), some priests, an afterlife and some associated ritual. But even then you are going to have some grey areas. Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:09, 14 June 2021 (UTC)

Das Kapital[edit]

Given that Marxian economics is still an active field of research, and the resurgence of socialist politics and economics in the West, is Das Kapital really without any relevance to the modern world? Vee (talk) 20:18, 3 January 2023 (UTC)

Hell, I question the objectivity of the quote given that Keynes was a pro-capitalist author (and so was kind of predisposed to dismiss and oppose left-wing economics by default, see Sinclair's Law), and especially in the 1930s Marx's work was relevant (the USSR, the socialists in China, various left wing labor movements). It seems to me this quote is objectively false, and given its falsehood, why are we still incorporating it in the article? Vee (talk) 20:24, 3 January 2023 (UTC)
He didn't really say it is irrelevant. He said it is useless. Kinda like the Bible. That being said, it is irrelevant for the modern world (except if you want to study history of though), just like every other textbook written long ago in any subject as far as I'm aware (Philosophy perhaps being the main exception. You don't use Principa as your main source in Physics, or Mosca, Michels or Pareto on PolSci, or James Frazer on Anthropology. Same with The Origin of Species and any other similar book. That's a normal process on science, books and authors get outdated. Even Samuelson, author of the most important economics textbook of the XXth century, is getting outdated, and modern textbooks (Mankiw being the most widely used today) will also get outdated in the future. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 21:14, 3 January 2023 (UTC)
Sure, there are some Marxian economists out there (Roemer, Okishio), but for every Marxian economist there are probably ten Austrian economists, and that doesn't change the fact the the Austrian School is a cult, except that even the Austrians wrote textbooks and treatises that were supposed to make Human Action obsolete, while the last time someone tried to do this with Marxian Economics was in the 1950s, with Ostrovityanov. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 21:54, 3 January 2023 (UTC)
Even in the sphere of Marxism the dialectical view of historical materialism necessitates that ideas change in response to changing material conditions. Das Kapital is a starting point, but it's not the end point in the development of Marxist theories. Hardly any self-described Marxist holds true the original ideas of Marx. Almost everyone engages with the thoughts of subsequent thinkers within the tradition. Science doesn't hold to the Origin of Species but we still talk of "Darwinian" evolution and his concept of natural selection. Darwin isn't considered irrelevant. I don't see how this is any less analogous to Marx besides Marx not really being a scientist per se. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 22:08, 3 January 2023 (UTC)
Indeed, to say that Marxist tradition has remained static is one gigantic strawman. For just one example, we can see a shift in Marxist theory from Marx all the way back with Lenin, including that there doesn't need a fully developed capitalist economy in order for a socialist revolution to commence. Vee (talk) 22:14, 3 January 2023 (UTC)
Also I would say to Gee that "usefulness/uselessness" is context and interest-bound as it depends what you need and what your goals are. Conflict theories still have a place in the social sciences especially in regards to economic anthropology, feminist sociology, the sociology of racialization, etc. It fills the niche for those who want a theory to navigate the dynamics of race, gender and class in fields interested in power, marginalization, and oppression. It doesn't really have much application in the fields you and I specialize in but that does not make it useless. Cognitive scientists and economists just have been largely uninterested in stuff like "oppression". - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 22:24, 3 January 2023 (UTC)
But I never said that Marxian economics remained static over the last 150 years. I even mentioned Okishio because his work (along with the rich, but still very unknown in the west tradition of Japanese Marxians) clashes with TRPFWikipedia (unsurprisingly, he was criticized by other Marxists, including Roemer, for that). Regarding Lenin, one example for 100 years ago of innovation is in my opinion not a good example. He was working on a time when Marxism was academically even more irrelevant than it is today [1], and yet he clashed with some other Marxists on that, I believe Rosa included. According to some (historian Robert Gellately, for instance) he didn't actually said that an agrarian country could suit a revolution. He said that Russia was more developed that most people on his time thought, but that's an entire different discussion. The problem here is how much Marxists and Marxian economists rely on Das Kapital. You don't need to read The Wealth of the Nations in order to be a good economist neoliberal economist. Most people in fact don't, they just read some parts during their history of the economic thought on college. The Weath of Nations was in fact replaced relatiely quick, by Marshall's Principles of Economics. Neither you need to read Principia to be a good physicists. I asked my a friend of mine and he said the he believes that very few academics in fact read it. I asked my sister (who is a psychologist) if she believe believes that most psychologists read all the 1300 pages of William James Principles and she said no. With Das Kapital things are different. It is still a primary source for Marxian economists. In order to be a respected Marxian economics, you have to read the whole thing. Again, I'm unaware of any attempt to replace it as the main textbook for Marxian economics since Ostrovityanov, and that was 70 years ago. And he failed, not because Das Kapital was better than his book, I believe, but because it was not Das Kapital. Meanwhile, textbooks teaching people how to read and understand Das Kapital (Althusser, Cleaver, Harvey, just to name three) are still mutiplying. I'm not aware of this phenomenon in any other science. No other school of thought puts one book in such high esteem.. There is, of course, much respect for the older authors, but people working in other areas know that their work is outdated, and don't use them as primary sources nor are scared of criticize the mistakes of authors from the past. That's why I believe Keynes was correct when he said Das Kapital was a religious textbook. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 14:02, 4 January 2023 (UTC)