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Secularism is the Aberration
Belief is the natural state of humankind.
It is interesting that so many who are committed to cultural relativism are also so narrowminded in their understanding of other cultures. At least, many who consider themselves secular humanists are unable to understand how it is that religious people “could really believe all that stuff.”
Western societies are unique in human history. You could call our cultures “WEIRD,” “Enlightenment liberal,” or “secular, open societies,” or you could use some other term, but the truth is that we live in ways deeply alien to the typical human experience going back to the beginning of time. In most developing countries, and some pockets of developed countries, culture more closely resembles the cultures our ancestors would recognize. The norm in human history is the “traditional culture”—that is, honor-based, religious, superstitious, violent, and tribal.
There are good things about our culture and good things about traditional cultures, but it is worth remembering that our open society is the exception, not the norm. Strangely though, as Arthur Meltzer has noted, our societies are uniquely blind to our peculiarity. We struggle to believe our ancestors lived the way they did, believed the things they did, and wrote the ways they did. We think all human beings think the way we do—in secular, open, universalist terms.
Which brings me to a recent article I read, in which an atheist explained that he believed he finally understood religion. It was all a game! Church was a game of make-believe, and the rule of the game was never to let on. He thought he was expressing a profound truth about the world, but really, he was only expressing a truth about himself.
Of course, he thought it was make-believe! That’s why he became an atheist. Those of us who don’t believe we are playing a game, who “actually believe all that stuff about God and Heaven,” did not leave the faith of our childhood in adulthood. In that regard, we are more like the average human, and he is the exception. Western secularists believe some grand theory is needed to explain why so many humans are religious, when really what is needed is a grand theory to explain why secularists aren’t religious.
The Daily Saucer is our place for freelance contributors and editorial staff to offer short takes on the news cycle, quick observations on the issues, and brief thoughts on broader topics. The views offered in this space reflect only the personal views of the authors.
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