Secularism Isn’t Atheism

The New Oxonian

Jacques Berlinerblau’s recent HuffPost religion column touches on a theme that is near and dear to the heart of this blog: the difference between atheism and its false equivalents.

In the past months (and years) I’ve occasionally commented on the highjacking of the term ‘humanism’ by atheists in search of an upmarket brand name.

As most readers will know, its combination with the term ‘secular’ to make the brew even weaker and more tasteless (e.g., by the so-called “Council for Secular Humanism,” a limb of the uniquely misnamed “Center for Inquiry”) continues to appeal to shrinking numbers of full-blooded atheists.  Increasing numbers of atheists are happy to be known as atheists; and a few of those are just as pleased to be free of the moniker “secular humanism,” which  never meant anything anyway.

But on the pretext that words and definitions matter, neither secularism nor humanism are explicitly irreligious, anti-religion, or atheistic.

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