A "Secular Spirituality"?

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tbieter
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A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by tbieter » Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:01 am

The first three paragraphs:
"One hundred fifty years ago this month, Abraham Lincoln died, leaving an heroic legacy of tolerance and sacrifice for an exceptional American idealism — that all persons are created equal.

But inequalities remain for too many African-Americans, inequalities that began with the slavery overthrown 150 years ago by Lincoln and millions of his fellow white Americans.

Time magazine’s current cover screams out the contemporary slogan: “Black Lives Matter.” But behind the failures of compassionate policing is a grim reality: African-American men are disproportionately engaged in crime and thus subject to criminal justice proceedings and incarceration."

The last paragraph:
"For Lincoln, the way forward to full equality for all must draw upon a secular spirituality uplifting each and every one of us to do our level best." (Emphasis added)
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/comm ... 84951.html

Isn't the phrase "secular spirituality" an oxymoron? A mixing of the temporal and the transcendent? It is my understanding that Lincoln, though not orthodox or a practicing and professing Christian, was a believer in a Deity. Comments
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Li ... d_religion

Melchior
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Melchior » Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:30 am

I have no idea what people mean when they use the term 'spirituality'. They throw it around a lot but I don't get it.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Immanuel Can » Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:17 pm

The history there is also apocryphal. As you point out, Lincoln was at least religious, and in any case, he did not invent the idea of the equality of persons. That honour goes to John Locke, who rationalized it philosophically long before Lincoln, and who Lincoln and the American "fathers" had certainly read...we know because they borrowed Lockean language for the constitution, which preceded Lincoln and the Civil War by a hundred years.

Lincoln did not immediately free the slaves. He left that until the strategy was necessary for the war. He may have had it in mind to do all along -- we don't know -- but his actions suggest he, like many Northerners, may not have been motivated by a human rights desire so much as by the political question of how the economies of new states in the Union were to be run (on the Southern or Northern model), and by the question of how the balance of power would be settled at the national level. That's what most historians today would say about that.

Equally importantly, the history of ideas given there is wrong. "Secularism" is not, in fact, it's own thing. It is a derivation of secularized Protestantism. As such, its fundamental values are derivative, not original. For the equality of persons, it has no way of legitimating (i.e. providing a rational defense for) why we are obliged to think it's true. That rationale again comes from Locke, and is explicitly derived in a line of thought he develops from Christian assumptions.

We've also got to get the focus of secularism right. Secularism itself is a political strategy rather than an full ideology: it's the idea that if people are religious they ought to suppress that in the public square, or keep it as a matter of private concern rather than public arbitration. It's not equivalent to, say, Atheism, since it remains unconcerned about the nature of private belief. It's only associated with Atheism because it amounts to a kind of strictly methodological non-religiousness; but it has no additional requirement that a secular person must believe any particular thing about God or gods. In fact, secularism also derives ultimately from Locke's concern with freedom of conscience and the right to act freely based on private beliefs...yet another Protestant value.

To use secularism to add ideology to the public square thus seems rather...well, unsecular. The idea of a secular "spirituality" is, if not an oxymoron, at least an oddity. It sounds rather dangerous -- like unrestrained indoctrination in favour of imaginary entities, done in the name of a delusory national unity...something like that. "Uplifting" people by fostering belief in something treated methodologically as unreal? From a secular perspective, and from a "religious" one as well, I suppose, it sounds like an extremely dubious project, even when invoked in an apparently good cause.

Melchior
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Melchior » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:30 am

Immanuel Can wrote: The idea of a secular "spirituality" is, if not an oxymoron, at least an oddity.
I agree, and that's what I mean by not understanding what 'spiritual' used by non-religious people today.

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ReliStuPhD
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by ReliStuPhD » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:58 am

Perhaps we're being too harsh. A secularist might be within his/her rights to believe in ghosts. ;)

Melchior
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Melchior » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:12 am

ReliStuPhD wrote:Perhaps we're being too harsh. A secularist might be within his/her rights to believe in ghosts. ;)
Huh?

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ReliStuPhD
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by ReliStuPhD » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:37 am

Melchior wrote:
ReliStuPhD wrote:Perhaps we're being too harsh. A secularist might be within his/her rights to believe in ghosts. ;)
Huh?
Ghosts -> Spirits -> Spirituality

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Immanuel Can
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:18 pm

Secularists may not believe in spirits...

...but some drink them. :wink:

Gee
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Gee » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:19 pm

I don't see the problem with the words "secular spirituality" and suspect that you are creating a false dichotomy by associating "secular" with non-religious and "spirituality" with religious. Since "secular" can mean "earthy" or "worldly" and is used as an adjective here, it is my thought that secular spirituality simply means spirituality that has not been interpreted, deitized, and categorized by religion.

Religion did not invent spirituality, it only interprets spirituality, just as philosophy did not invent the mind, and science did not invent the body. Religion is a study of spirituality.

Immanuel Can;

You can not capitalize the word "secular" or give it an "ism" to change it's meaning without also corrupting its meaning.

Gee

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Immanuel Can
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:47 pm

Actually, as I said, "secularism" is a political phenomenon, not an ideological package.

It has only an incidental association with any ideology that denies the "spiritual" exists -- it *treats* it as non-existent, but does not contain the predicate that it *actually* is. It can assimilate religious or "spiritual" ideologies, because they all become private matters under secularism. But if any cannot -- Islam being an example, since it is both ideological and invariably political as well -- secularism cannot incorporate them. It can try, but ultimately it will have to destroy eject them, since they deny the very possibility of the existence of any genuinely secular issue: under Islam, ALL decisions are religious.

Now, now; simmer down: there's nothing wrong with saying "secularism." It doesn't distort the meaning at all. You're mistaking "-ism" for some allegation of bias. But in truth, "secular" just means "with spirituality having been privatized," and "secularism" means "the belief that it is right to privatize or suppress spirituality and thus eliminate it from the public sphere -- or the practice of such a belief": as in, "France is a secular country, where education has been secularized because of their belief in secularism in the political realm." They're what we call cognate terms...the same meaning in different grammatical forms.

Nothing there is sinister. You can relax. :)

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ReliStuPhD
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by ReliStuPhD » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:29 pm

Gee wrote:I don't see the problem with the words "secular spirituality" and suspect that you are creating a false dichotomy by associating "secular" with non-religious and "spirituality" with religious. Since "secular" can mean "earthy" or "worldly" and is used as an adjective here, it is my thought that secular spirituality simply means spirituality that has not been interpreted, deitized, and categorized by religion.
Well, the definition of "secular" clearly rules out the spiritual:
"denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis"
"not spiritual : of or relating to the physical world and not the spiritual world"
"Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis."
We're not setting up a false dichotomy here. Instead, we're pointing to a contradiction derived from the actual definition of the words. "We need a spirituality that has no spiritual basis." "We need a spirituality that is not spiritual." "We need a spirituality that does not relate to the spiritual world." Those are pretty clearly self-contradictory, no? "Earthly" or "worldly" are too general to describe "secular" well. "Secular" has a definite meaning, and it is directly opposed to the "spiritual."

Gee
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Gee » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:52 am

Immanuel Can wrote: Now, now; simmer down: there's nothing wrong with saying "secularism." It doesn't distort the meaning at all. You're mistaking "-ism" for some allegation of bias.
So you are saying that "dual" means the same as "dualism".

"Race" means the same as "racism".

Bullshit.

Gee

Gee
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Gee » Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:06 am

ReliStuPhD wrote: Well, the definition of "secular" clearly rules out the spiritual:
No. Secular rules out religion. You keep insisting that religion and spiritual are the same thing. This is where the false dichotomy comes in, not with the word, "secular", but with the word, "religion".
"denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis"
Note that this is about religious spirituality.
"not spiritual : of or relating to the physical world and not the spiritual world"
Note that this is about superstition as there is no "spiritual world". If you think otherwise, please show it to me.
"Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis."
This is again about religion.

Spirituality is NOT religion. Do you have any idea of what spirituality actually is?

Gee

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:02 am

tbieter wrote:The first three paragraphs:
"One hundred fifty years ago this month, Abraham Lincoln died, leaving an heroic legacy of tolerance and sacrifice for an exceptional American idealism — that all persons are created equal.

But inequalities remain for too many African-Americans, inequalities that began with the slavery overthrown 150 years ago by Lincoln and millions of his fellow white Americans.

Time magazine’s current cover screams out the contemporary slogan: “Black Lives Matter.” But behind the failures of compassionate policing is a grim reality: African-American men are disproportionately engaged in crime and thus subject to criminal justice proceedings and incarceration."

The last paragraph:
"For Lincoln, the way forward to full equality for all must draw upon a secular spirituality uplifting each and every one of us to do our level best." (Emphasis added)
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/comm ... 84951.html

Isn't the phrase "secular spirituality" an oxymoron? A mixing of the temporal and the transcendent? It is my understanding that Lincoln, though not orthodox or a practicing and professing Christian, was a believer in a Deity. Comments
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Li ... d_religion
I'm puzzled why you have so easily swallowed the caricature of Lincoln. And also puzzled why you think spirituality was relevant to the race question. Racist are spiritualists too.
There are many false assumptions lying under this thread opening, that are too removed from common sense to be unpacked and hold water. It's as if you think 'spirituality' is some kind of panacea, rather than the delusional state which it so obviously is.
Last edited by Hobbes' Choice on Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: A "Secular Spirituality"?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:06 am

Immanuel Can wrote:The history there is also apocryphal. As you point out, Lincoln was at least religious, and in any case, he did not invent the idea of the equality of persons. That honour goes to John Locke, who rationalized it philosophically long before Lincoln, and who Lincoln and the American "fathers" had certainly read..

Lincoln did not even believe in the equality of persons.
The Cursus Bellum was the the North wished to colonise westward without the "negro", whilst the South wished to colonise using them as slaves. Lincoln wished to pack them all off back to Africa, and resisted emancipation as long as he was able.

Truth is the first casualty of history.

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