The word religiosity means “excessively religious”. I would like to coin the term secularocity, a companion word that means “excessively secular”.
Now you might wonder why a secularist, agnostic and sceptic like myself is coining words that arguably have a negative connotation regarding secularism?
It is a good question, and I think the answer is balance.
I have a theme – explored a bit in my post on The Orthosphere – about the role of religion in society (the beneficial role) and my dislike of radical atheism.
Just like David Sloan Wilson and Alan De Botton, I think that religion and religious thinking have contributed immense good to humanity. I think that religious thinking is inexorable or perhaps inalienable from the human mind, it is an emergent property of the way in which our brains evolved. I think religions have tremendous power to organise society, more often than not for the good. The author Aldous Huxley explores this very same in his book XXX about a post-nuclear California with the church is now entirely satanic but just as it was in the dark ages, it is the guardian of knowledge and in its own twisted way, civilisation.
As a non-theist I still have tremendous respect for my religious fellows. I genuinely enjoy watching and listening as moderate religious people address the important questions in life.
Just as one should read newspapers that do not share your political outlook I think it is wise to expose oneself to philosophies and beliefs that I disagree with you or in which you do not believe.
I have absolutely no time for radicals and extremists, be they Islamists, the Christian far right or radical atheists. I do however thoroughly enjoy hearing, seeing and talking to religious moderates.
My strongest religious sympathies lie with Buddhism. It is the least supernatural of the major religions, it is open to science and its practices like meditation are proven to be mentally and physically beneficial.
That said, the more I learn about religion and philosophy, the more I see that many of the distinctions are false distinctions.
Ultimately I am devoting of the perennial philosophy.
There seem to be threads of truth that bind all of these religions. Aldous Huxley again in his eponymous book “The Perennial Philosophy“, does a masterful job of showing the themes and essential truth as promulgated by the major religions are all pretty much identical. Even Norse mythology and African animist beliefs map against the perennial philosophy.
For any atheists, agnostics, non-theists or otherwise anti-religious people out there may I recommend some sources of religious thought and discussion where I think you might learn a lot from our religious brothers and sisters?
- On Being Podcast – http://www.onbeing.org
- Alan Watts lectures – https://www.youtube.com/user/AlanWattsLectures
- Zencast podcast – http://www.zencast.org