Sunday, 25 October 2009

Atheism and Secularism - spot the difference

Just a quick blog to explain the difference between atheism and secularism.

Atheism, as most people know, is the belief that there is no god of any type. Strictly speaking this just refers to god(s), but most atheists also reject ideas about spirituality, afterlife, and other unseen concepts such as chakras, auras, energies etc.

Secularism is the belief that religion should not be a part of government, public institutions, large organisations and/or (to a greater or lesser extent) public life itself.

Many people lump them together, but they are very very different ideas. To look at them bluntly, sure, they are both technically "anti-god", and many atheists are secularists because they simply don't like religious influence over their lives. However it's quite possible for spiritual or religious people to be secularist too.

I am atheist because I don't believe there is a god. Very straightforward. I won't bang on about it here.

However, my atheism personally leads me to secularism, and it's more than simply due to disliking organised religion. I am allowed to be atheist without fear of punishment or persecution because society allows it. I'm grateful for that tolerance, and I think everyone should have the freedom to personally believe in whatever religion they like, no matter how wrong or crazy (unless it hurts people). This is why I am a secularist, and I think everyone should be secularist: it is, ironically, the only way to protect people's religious freedoms - whether they have a religion or not.

I know there is much confusion over these issues - I'm going to post another blog with some detail and examples about secularism, so if you've got any queries, give me a shout and I'll include your questions.

For now though, I ask you all to please support the cause of secularism, whatever your religion or culture.

P.S. No-one expects the-!

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