Re-Religionizing Religion

18 Feb

Atheism and the Re-Religionizing of Religion


John Landon Writes:

The new atheism … has forced many atheists to change their labels to do something else in the wake of the simplistic, ill-informed, prejudicial, and increasingly intolerant new atheist cult.

In a strange way, the new atheists are feeding a continuation of traditional religions, because what is offered is almost grotesque… Have your rally, and then let’s move on, hoping against hope these nudniks haven’t destroyed the legacy of Reason inherited from the Enlightenment.

The true atheists should rally in private to a new vision of religion beyond the mythologies of god, and the domination of churches, but alive to the depth of universe which science has completely missed.


This seems like a good idea, secularists re-religionizing religion.  But what does it mean? If its an honest push to redefine religion on naturalist or secular terms that’s fine; religion as such becomes another philosophical approach to human living like classical forms of Buddhism or Taoism.  However, if it’s merely another tack by those in the New Age movement to redefine the domain of science and nature after the manner of Deepak Chopra (i.e., the whole bit about “quantum consciousness”), then it won’t do at all.  All it amounts to is a ‘new age’ con job on atheists and secularism.

What’s needed is a re-naturalization of religion rather than a re-religionizing of faith.  In other words, rather than just looking for a back door through secular values to a new religious creed, atheists should instead be focusing on ways in which religions can be baptized into a new secular vision of the world.

Now, maybe even this is going too far. But it demonstrates nicely the problem with trying to re-cast faith on renewed ideological terms.  What is an atheism that’s remade “religion” into a new kind of “religion” for mankind? It seems a contradiction to even suggest it.  And, yet, that’s exactly what ‘rally[ing] to a new vision of religion’ would entail.  Therefore, rather than trying to re-contextualize religion and remake it into a new form, why not encourage religions to secularize instead and to develop new secular approaches for themselves in their mission and activities.

That’s how to honestly redefine religion for the future.  Anything else merely reshuffles the deck while not addressing the real problem behind religion (i.e., its flawed metaphysics).  Getting rid of god mythologies is fine and so is dispensing with the dominion of the organized religions in society.  But unless you cut to the heart of religious culture, you haven’t changed anything.  All you’ve done is inadvertently given religionists a key to your backdoor, right as you’ve locked and barred the front.

Give religionists (i.e., new agers) the means to define the terms of discourse in this fight over atheism/belief, and you do yourself in. … You spell the death of your secularism.


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