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Should secular people actively oppose religious superstition and extremism?

By Don Smith ()     Permalink
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Should secular people actively oppose religious superstition and extremism?

     Freedom of religion and tolerance for diversity are fundamental principles of American democracy. Believers have the Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to follow and proselytize their religious convictions.  

On the other hand, non-believers have the similar rights to follow and promote their secular beliefs, don't they?  Freedom of religion and tolerance should not be used as justification for stifling honest, open discussion. 

Religious extremism and superstition distort our politics and harm society.   On issues such as militarism, women's rights, gay rights, gun control, taxation, climate change, and the dismantling of the social safety net, fundamentalist Christians have allied themselves with the Republican Party.  Fundamentalists have promoted anti-scientific theories such as Creationism and have spread the idea that America was founded as a "Christian nation" -- a view at odds with the historical record.

But is religious belief specially protected?  Even if, constitutionally, secular people are allowed to oppose religious beliefs, it may be the case that doing so is immoral or divisive or strategically unwise.  And we need to be careful not to lump extremist views with harmless or beneficial moderate views.

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Should secular people work actively to refute and, where appropriate, condemn religious beliefs? 

Yes, fundamentalists believe ridiculous things and promote regressive policies.
       73% from 66 votes  
No, religious speech is specially protected.
       8% from 7 votes  
No, the effort would likely backfire and would be politically and morally unwise.
       14% from 13 votes  
Not sure, or other. (Please explain in comments.)
       4% from 4 votes  

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fundamentalist religions are among the most danger... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 10:02:27 AM
How would you have worded it?I liked the 11th Comm... by Don Smith on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 10:50:01 AM
Most God's in religion have these 3 parameters:1) ... by David Vicks on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 10:45:35 AM
Which there is in the Bible, by them coming up wit... by Michael Dewey on Wednesday, Nov 9, 2011 at 2:28:33 AM
God's in many religions are far from all good.&nbs... by Justin Samuels on Monday, Dec 5, 2011 at 10:56:02 AM
I had never really understood, the oppression that... by Turbo Kitty on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 11:04:55 AM
If 'God' existed there would never have been a 9/1... by Ted Rosa on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 6:26:32 PM
but is a dick head. There is no proof to the contr... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 9:46:54 AM
I chose this: "No, the effort would likely backfir... by jaydo on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 12:54:42 PM
"Revealed" religions kill children in the US every... by Bob Johnson on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 1:18:24 PM
Freedom of religion in a liberal democra... by David Ruhlen on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 1:28:37 PM
See Uncle Sam Wants You to Stop Voting Against You... by Don Smith on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 4:00:14 PM
Thanks Don.As it happens, I've just posted an arti... by David Ruhlen on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 4:25:39 PM
to be. Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawkings, Christop... by M. Wizard on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 3:57:17 PM
Atheist authors such as Sam Harris have addressed ... by Don Smith on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 4:40:22 PM
It's too late now, because the poll is underway, b... by Don Smith on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 12:36:40 AM
beliefs, for example. His outright mysticism has b... by M. Wizard on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 1:39:00 PM
He spent a great deal of time (I believe years) in... by M. Wizard on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 3:12:28 PM
Instead of left, right, center, centrist, extremis... by David Vicks on Monday, Sep 26, 2011 at 12:53:28 AM
It would appear that all sides of the God question... by R. A. Landbeck on Saturday, Sep 24, 2011 at 5:38:57 PM
if we may assume there is such a thing, not to use... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 9:44:04 AM
They are totally dangerous given the times we now ... by billy Jackson on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 10:21:59 AM
It is not "religious beliefs" we should refute and... by E. J. N. on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 12:11:38 PM
Hello All,   What makes Scientific Reasonin... by William Huie on Sunday, Sep 25, 2011 at 8:08:11 PM
Though Congress shall make no law regarding religi... by Michael Dewey on Monday, Sep 26, 2011 at 8:11:05 AM
They promote regressive policies because they need... by Donnie McLeod on Monday, Sep 26, 2011 at 5:42:57 PM
by the First Amendment provision that "Congress sh... by John Sanchez Jr. on Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 at 7:58:13 AM
"You never change things by fighting the existing ... by Craig Daniels on Monday, Oct 10, 2011 at 2:01:09 AM
History shows quite clearly how religion can be an... by E. J. N. on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011 at 8:54:44 PM
with religious beliefs. I for one would claim any ... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011 at 9:28:10 PM
I think the answer for me is YES we can be activel... by David Vicks on Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011 at 9:29:53 PM

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