Humanist Perspectives: Making Peace with Religion


This post is part of our Humanist Perspectives series. In this series, we invite guest contributors to explore active humanism and what it means to be a thoughtful, engaged member of society. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Making Peace with Religion
by Serah Blain

I spent a lot of time in the atheist blogosphere this week and really enjoyed the diversity of voices within our movement, the exposure to new ideas and approaches, and the passion of those (particularly the young people) who are out there doing things and writing about it. But I also grew tired of reading about how much we have to hate religion if we want to be good at atheism. I struggle with the way Sam Harris-nicks advocate that we speak out against all religion, period.

It is not specifically religion I oppose as an atheist. I oppose fanaticism—and the way certain kinds of religious tenets seem to make people more vulnerable to it. I oppose spreading the idea that knowledge is gained by authority or revelation to the exclusion of the scientific method. I oppose the dehumanizing in-group versus out-group dynamic many religious communities create. But if a progressive religion (Unitarian Universalism or Ethical Culture, for example) does not entail that kind of thinking, then I fail to see how its existence perpetuates the kind of harm fundamentalism does. In fact, such progressive religions are in a unique position to criticize the harmful aspects of wrongheaded religious thought. This is a vitally important role.

Read the rest of this post at NonProphet Status.

Serah Blain writes the blog The Majesty of Being. She serves on the boards of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, the Arizona Coalition of Reason, and the Prescott Pride Center. The Executive Director of QsquaredYouth, a nonprofit organization that supports LGBTQ youth in Prescott, AZ and surrounding areas, Serah is also the organizer of the Prescott Freethinkers, a thriving community of nontheists in Northern Arizona that meets regularly for discussion, fellowship, and fun. She also co-chairs the Secular Student Alliance at Prescott College where she is working on a B.A. in Engaged Humanism. Her current interfaith volunteer projects include hospice care and faith outreach for the Prescott Pride Center. Serah and her husband Robert have two children who they are raising to be conscientious, compassionate human beings.