Secular Liberalism and the Rapprochement with Progressive Religion

25 Mar

Secular Liberalism:  Last, Best Hope for a True Rapprochement between Secular Values and Progressive Traditions in Religion


I’m as critical of accomodationism as anybody.  But given the latest back and forth between the no-talk godless and the lets-talk wing of religionists and nonbelievers, I think it’s time for a forced truce between the two factions and a negotiation of the terms of surrender. The religious accommodation camp should admit defeat and let a discussion of secular religion proceed forward, allowing the metaphysics of the past to pass away the way it should have done so a long time ago, and take its place alongside the other great mythologies of history.  … They were phantasms anyway to begin with so it shouldn’t matter whether they’ve finally been acknowledged to be that or not.  No one’s going to care in fact if they are declared thus and are publicly agreed on to be ficticious, except for perhaps the committed religious and supernaturalists.

And, yet, many secularists are going to have to admit a kind of defeat also.  They were defeated from the start by the atheist heritages of history and the secular strains of thought systems like Buddhism and Taoism, which rendered modern secularism obsolete by virtue of its commitment to contemporary, Western culture … Worse still, they’ve been undercut by the liberal strains of religious traditions (ala Jimmy Carter’s form of liberal Christianity, liberal theologians in Christianity, et al). … Point is, they’ve unknowingly been outmaneuvered on these issues, and its time to move on after having acknowledged their loss at liberal religion’s hands.

Liberal Christianity has trumped secular orthodoxy.  Time to pick up the pieces … It’s over but it’s not over.  The old debate is now defunct.  The new consideration – that of a Secular Liberalism – should now be taken up by those liberal religious, secularists, and anti-accomodationists willing to do it.

Here’s the task.  Our world’s in a bad way … economically, socially, environmentally … and we have to do something monumental to fix it.  We have to address such issues as climate change, the possibility of a large scale war occurring in the Middle, dismantling institutional behemoths of the past (leftover monarchical systems and holdover theocracies of the premodern era), and how to best construct governments and societies to serve the needs of people all over the globe.  But to do that, we can’t merely expect to apply modernistic or Western-centric solutions to these problems w/o further understanding the wider domains of human experience and culture.  Therefore, re-constituted ‘religion’s‘ task here would be to help us flesh out those aspects of its traditions that would best assist us in gauging the most globally appropriate, historically conscious, humanocentric approaches to handling these issues we’re faced with in the world.

Maybe it’s just a fantasy to envision this kind of an alliance between liberal believers and secularists, but it’s no more of a pipe dream than envisioning either a completely religion-free, philosophy-free world or a new, politically leftist, religionism of the future.  It’s worth a try and the New Atheists should take it up before they find themselves in a major conflagration with religiously-minded social  conservatives here in the Trans-Atlantic world and abroad in places like the Middle East where the power of reactionary Islam is growing in concert with intransigence towards the West.

A newfound Secular Liberalism would be a welcome change for our world, torn apart as it were by competing orthodoxies, dogmatisms, and neo-conservative, tea party style machinations on social welfare and democratic values in society.  Spearheaded by progressives, socialists, and social democrats in the U.S. and abroad, such a movement would go a long way in addressing our world troubles as well as mending fences between liberal secularists, religious liberals, and of course their counterparts in the orthodox secularist community (AKA the so-called Dogmatic Atheists).

Not to do so only ensures the victories of dogmatic conservatisms around the world and the outdated religious impulses that gave birth to them.  If a better tomorrow is to come for our world and for humanity, then Secular Liberalism must be at its forefront. In lieu of that, we’re lost to the culture wars of the past.


03.05.12 – Time for a far left ultra radical Xtianity

The history of Xtianity shows the falseness of the current ultra-conservative character of most Xtian churches, in the sense that originally the emergence of the religion was part of the Jewish revolt against Rome, and the Reformation was a revolt against the Theocratic cooptation of that original revolt. … Could an Xtian socialism/communism temper that disaster in the coming crash of capitalist modernity? Absolutely it could.


One Response to “Secular Liberalism and the Rapprochement with Progressive Religion”


  1. Caught in the Throes of Embattlement « Dianoilogos - April 11, 2012

    […] leaning point of view … The movement should be broader than that, I agree, and I do maintain a Secularly Liberal position. … But at the same time, I’m very concerned about a kind of political Rightism […]

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