Monday, July 16, 2012

What Does a Secular Society Look Like?

Lots of people don't understand what we mean by a secular society. If you're one of them, watch this video by QualiaSoup. He uses a very good example—the saying of prayers at city council meetings.

Most of you have been to business and/or organization meetings of various sorts. You don't normally start those meetings with a Christian prayer in spite of the fact that you might be making some very big decisions. At the recent evolution conference in Ottawa, for example, there were five society meetings of boards of directors and (I'm told) not one of them began with a prayer!

People believe in many different gods. Evey person on the planet thinks that the vast majority are false gods that do not exist. Some of us think that applies to all gods. You have no right to promote the existence of some gods over others at public meetings in a secular society, especially a multicultural society like those that exist in most modern, industrialized nations.

Whether or not you believe in god(s), the only reasonable approach in a modern society is the secular one where religions is a private matter, not a public one.

A link to this video was sent to Katie Mahoney, city councillor for Ward 8 (my ward) in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.



Hat Tip: Friendly Atheist

7 comments :

  1. The popup ad on this video asked me if I'd ever considered joining the priesthood!

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    1. So, what's your answer? You'd probably make a good priest ... except for one or two minor impediments.

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    2. If you enjoy telling lies to children this could be a good career choice.

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  2. The Gloucester Council revised prayer sounds as if it were inspired by the the Serenity Prayer:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer

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  3. Please let us know if Katie Mahoney replies, and post her response if she does reply.

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    1. She did reply but all she said was that Mayor Hazel McCallion continues to lead the council in reciting the Lord's prayer at every meeting.

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  4. McCallion credited her faith with giving her the energy her job demands. "Having a life filled with purpose and meaning and living my life in a Christian-like manner helps to motivate me and keep me energized," she said.

    Presumably she was living her life in a "Christian-like manner" when McCallion promoted the interests of World Class Developments, in which her son Peter was a principal, in pushing for a land deal aimed at bringing a $1.5 billion hotel and convention centre development to downtown Mississauga, and continued to do so to a “limited extent” after the deal fell apart and the partners in WCD negotiated a $4 million settlement from the land’s owner.

    Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

    -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)

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