Nonreligion and Immortality

Just read this stimulating and informative article from my colleague Lois Lee of the NSRN. Here are my favourite snippets:

“Religious people can be as secular – in their politics, in their lived lives – as nonreligious.”

“…given that most measures place the numbers of nonreligious at between 50 and 60% of the British population […] it is unlikely that tens of millions of people share a single world view, whether or not it is [a] particular form of European Enlightenment scientism…”

“Gray is quite correct to emphasise […] the overlaps between religion and nonreligion that are lost from more naive accounts of both; but there are subtle differences that his bleak and blanket view miss out on too. The nonreligious, like the religious, accept and reject different types of and vehicles for immortality; like religious people, the nonreligious desire and deny the prospect of immortality at the same time.”

You can read the full thing here. It’s a pity the usual idiots that post on the Guardian site didn’t seem to get it…


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About Chris

Scholar of religion/nonreligion... PhD Student (Lancaster University), blogger, singer, actor, thinker... Northern Irish living in Scotland. Co-founder of The Religious Studies Project. Director at the NSRN. Baritone masquerading as a tenor. Vegetarian for no particular reason.

4 responses to “Nonreligion and Immortality”

  1. informationforager says :

    It looks like an interesting site. The post is good because there seems to be an almost universal Cognitive Dissonance of beliefs. I believe & I don’t believe. It is hard to be consistant. I’ll be back for more. Thanks. Keep Blogging. Keep Writing.

    • religionandmore says :

      Many thanks! I’m totally with you on the universal cognitive dissonance… we are not as rational as we think. We all subscribe to certain ideas and hold other ideas which either contradict our other ideas, or contradict the ‘official’ representations of the views which we subscribe to.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Stuart says :

    Yes, I agree, very insightful article.

    I enjoyed the concept of “secular supernatural”. I’ll have to think on that further.

    As for:

    Religious people can be as secular

    Bloomin’ right. Who wants to live in a theonomy / theocracy? Seriously. It strikes me that some Christian dominionists – and there are more and more in the UK thanks to US influence – would have us live in something akin to an Islamic state.

    I read their thoughts and the thought of them at the political reigns is positively frightening.

    That’s not to argue for the removal of all religious influence in politics, this can be positive, but has to be done through the mainstream mechanisms and not through separatist parties and organisations.

    I’m sure I read once that Cromwell attempted to institute a Parliament with the finest Christian men, and it descended into farce and he had to sack them. That may be folklore by the way.

    Anyway, just some thoughts on the run…

    ps We can’t really expect any different from the Guardian commenters can we? ;-)

    • religionandmore says :

      Yes Stuart I am totally with you there.

      The idea of a theocracy seems to me totally contradictory to the Christian (albeit perhaps Protestant?) emphasis on individual, personal, internal transformation. It’s like going back to the Middle Ages with the forced ‘conversions’ of the masses, based upon the whims of the monarch.

      I think it is entirely possible for a Christian to wish that everyone in the country/world would become Christian, and thus politics would come under an almost entirely Christian implicit influence… without wishing to thrust this explicitly upon a willing or unwilling populace.

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