FAQ 18: Why are you so hard on religion and soft on its 'secular enemies'?

FAQ 18: Why are you so hard on religion and soft on its 'secular enemies'?

We don’t accept that we are.

Given that ‘religion’ embraces everything from non-theistic philosophical Buddhism to the extremes of the Christian Right in the USA (and other antithetical ways of looking at things), we think it doesn’t make much sense to define yourself as being ‘for’ or ‘against’ religion per se.

Ekklesia is critical of domineering religion, especially in the Christian sphere where we operate, because we think it causes great harm and betrays the origins of the Gospel as a radical message of transformation and hope.

We don’t think religious zealots should have a monopoly over the practice of faith (reasoned trust), and we don’t think that secularity (the search for a common space for living together) should be monopolised by the anti-religious, either.

The ‘religious versus secular’ fight is one with many victims and no winners. We all need to search deeper in our traditions to find ways of behaving / thinking less proprietarily, learning to turn enemies into friends. If we can’t do this, there is surely something wrong with us or with our recieved ideas?

Ekklesia been very pleased to be able to work constructively with the British Humanist Association (BHA), alongside the many Christian and faith groups we cooperate with.

But we also speak in contrast to simplistic or stereotyping comments by non-religious, as well as religious, people: Secularist leader accuses 'religious liberals' of aiding fanatics.

'Religion' is not an overwhelming virtue, nor is it blameable for all our problems - it is more complex than that, with good and bad features mixed together. The same is true of non-religion.

In our Values statement (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/about/values) we also point out: "From Ekklesia’s perspective, the resources needed to signal hope in a fearful world demand far more than has traditionally been imagined by ... the various religious and humanist/secularist traditions.

"Life in all its fullness (such as the Gospel proposes) cannot be achieved by the social and natural sciences, technological advance, economic development, autonomous reason and political operation alone - it requires a major change of heart and mind in the basic way we relate to each other, the world and God."

What that means in practice (and in intellectual effort) is what we exist as a think-tank to explore.

See also: Research: Reconsidering the Secular.

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