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Is Secular Leftism A Religion?

anticlimatic

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Religious belief is human nature, huge new study claims – CNN Belief Blog - CNN.com Blogs

If human beings are religious by nature, and traditional religion is dying off in the west, is this new rise in leftist ideology a substitute religion all its own that will only be recognized in hindsight?

If you are familiar with Christianity, consider some of these parallel phrases and let me know what you think:

Blasphemous
Problematic

Evil
Hate

Original Sin
Privilege

Confess and repent
Check your privilege

Peace and justice for all
Equality

The Devil
The Patriarchy

Sin
Oppression

Communion
Inclusivity

I feel like I could go on all day...
 

Cor Luctis

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What do you mean by "secular leftism"? I see religion at root as belief in some supreme being/deity/super-natural force, something beyond the physical world. Does your secular leftism include that? If not, I would not consider it religion. Ideology to be sure, perhaps philosophy.
 

Virtual ghost

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What do you mean by "secular leftism"? I see religion at root as belief in some supreme being/deity/super-natural force, something beyond the physical world. Does your secular leftism include that? If not, I would not consider it religion. Ideology to be sure, perhaps philosophy.


My thought exactly. Just if something is a political movement that doesn't mean it is religion.
 

anticlimatic

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What do you mean by "secular leftism"? I see religion at root as belief in some supreme being/deity/super-natural force, something beyond the physical world. Does your secular leftism include that? If not, I would not consider it religion. Ideology to be sure, perhaps philosophy.

My thought exactly. Just if something is a political movement that doesn't mean it is religion.

A belief in some supreme being would fit the same genre of religion that Christianity falls under, but there are others:

Definition of religion
1a : the service and worship of God or the supernatural
(2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

You can argue that it's a different kind of religion, as though no religion has ever done that before.
 

Cor Luctis

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A belief in some supreme being would fit the same genre of religion that Christianity falls under, but there are others:

You can argue that it's a different kind of religion, as though no religion has ever done that before.
I see. So you are going with the less common definitions, I assume (4) as (3) is considered archaic. (2) is self-referential in any case (religion as a system of religious attitudes). I don't prefer this definition as it is far too broad. Under it, nearly anything can be considered a religion. At least this is clarified now, for anyone wishing to pursue a discussion under these terms.
 

anticlimatic

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I see. So you are going with the less common definitions, I assume (4) as (3) is considered archaic. (2) is self-referential in any case (religion as a system of religious attitudes). I don't prefer this definition as it is far too broad. Under it, nearly anything can be considered a religion. At least this is clarified now, for anyone wishing to pursue a discussion under these terms.

The archaic definition (I think) just links the word roots with an old synonym for ‘conscientious,’ which is a pretty strong pillar of leftist living.

This for me is an interest in isomorphisms between religious institutions under the presupposition that secular leftism is one of them.
 

Virtual ghost

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A belief in some supreme being would fit the same genre of religion that Christianity falls under, but there are others:

You can argue that it's a different kind of religion, as though no religion has ever done that before.


Ok, fair enough.
However in my first language the definition of religion is different and requires supernatural. You can have a cause without religious element and therefore I vote "no" in this thread since I fail in adapting to your definitions. :shrug:


I leave this thread to those for who it was made for, I don't belong to this "debate".
 

anticlimatic

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So you are going with the less common definitions

in my first language the definition of religion is different and requires supernatural

tumblr_po0eyleZC31sg9ebxo7_r2_250.gif
 

Lark

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What do you mean by "secular leftism"? I see religion at root as belief in some supreme being/deity/super-natural force, something beyond the physical world. Does your secular leftism include that? If not, I would not consider it religion. Ideology to be sure, perhaps philosophy.

Yeah, I would say there definitely has to be supernatural, metaphysical or cosmological aspects.

What is being described is a philosophy, tradition, set of social or cultural norms.

There's all kinds of problems with that, not least the implicit idea that there a dichotomy between religion and secular left wing thinking, not that it would not be accepted by both the right and the left of the political spectrum at present. For me that sort of agreement alone ought to make it suspect thinking.
 

Lark

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I see. So you are going with the less common definitions, I assume (4) as (3) is considered archaic. (2) is self-referential in any case (religion as a system of religious attitudes). I don't prefer this definition as it is far too broad. Under it, nearly anything can be considered a religion. At least this is clarified now, for anyone wishing to pursue a discussion under these terms.

Well, there are some good analysis of religion by anthropologists or others which reduce it to an object of devotion and frame of orientation, ie values, ethics, norms.

Those sorts of definitions are interesting, I think, in so far as they can lead people who've dismissed religion altogether to reappraise it. Also I read some interesting stuff about how, if you employ that definition, you can analyse individuals to discover what is virtually a "private religion" and determine all their motives for anything. Though its using that definition.

The downside of it is exactly what you have said that it allows for too much generalisation and too broad a definition. Everything and anything can be defined as religious consequently.

To be honest it sounds like an exercise of the new atheist right wing, dont like something, well, then its got to be a religion. Everything you dislike is essentially the same thing anyway.
 

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One can be an atheist Buddhist. Or belong to the Universalist Unitarians and be an atheist. So no, no belief in gods is necessary to belong to a religion.
 

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What do you mean by "secular leftism"? I see religion at root as belief in some supreme being/deity/super-natural force, something beyond the physical world. Does your secular leftism include that? If not, I would not consider it religion. Ideology to be sure, perhaps philosophy.

People who are on the Left side of politics, generally see religion as archaic and or harmful to society. Meaning the majority are either agnostic or atheist.

You are also only looking at Religion from a single angle. There is far more to religion than just belief in a god. It is a way of life. Leftists also have a way of life, and it tends to mirror religion quite well. They hold beliefs that they deem absolute, despite the fact very few things are absolute, as they do not question their "god". Just like Christians take the bible as law.

Take Identity politics that some practice for an example of "doctrine" It is accepted as fact by many, and that all should abide by it. If they do not, they are evil racist bigots and must be purged, shunned, or exiled socially and sometimes physically. Calling everything a Nazi, is like saying things are the Devil. The same irrational intolerance that you see devout religious people do, is seen in some Leftist who do not get their way. Then to top it off, they preach that they are the good guys and they are trying to help everyone, and the world. That if everyone was the same as them, the world will become a utopia.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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It might be. So what? Everyone is motivated by things other than rationality. Rationality isn't a motivation, it's more of a method. The existence of God isn't even falsifiable, and the same goes for the absence of God.

I mean, I don't think it's necessarily awful that people have a value system based upon things other than merely acquiring profits, whether that value system is based on a secular foundation or not. I generally think it's desirable to strive for people to strive for something better than the exclusive fulfillment of pure id.
 

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It might be. So what? Everyone is motivated by things other than rationality. Rationality isn't a motivation, it's more of a method. The existence of God isn't even falsifiable, and the same goes for the absence of God.

I mean, I don't think it's necessarily awful that people have a value system based upon things other than merely acquiring profits, whether that value system is based on a secular foundation or not. I generally think it's desirable to strive for people to strive for something better than the exclusive fulfillment of pure id.

I agree with this a lot. You don't need religion to be moral or possess a value system, but I do think people naturally take sides and eventually get caught up in group think due to things like "socially acceptable" and peer pressure.

Which is why I think adopting a life style, that fills this natural tendency that generally results in religious like thinking, to be required in society. Buddhism is a good example, but it is too extreme to be practical in some ways. Christianity struggles to keep up with time. Hell, I think Satanism is actually really decent, with the times, and is similar to Buddhism in many ways. But there cannot be "nothing", or something will take its place.
 

Cor Luctis

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People who are on the Left side of politics, generally see religion as archaic and or harmful to society. Meaning the majority are either agnostic or atheist.

You are also only looking at Religion from a single angle. There is far more to religion than just belief in a god. It is a way of life. Leftists also have a way of life, and it tends to mirror religion quite well. They hold beliefs that they deem absolute, despite the fact very few things are absolute, as they do not question their "god". Just like Christians take the bible as law.
You are mixing up a few things here. First, what people on the left end of the political spectrum think of religion (a huge generalization right there) is quite different from viewing left-oriented politics as a religion itself. Second, something can be a way of life without being a religion. Wherein lies the distinction? I still view it as whether something deific or supernatural is included. Individuals like [MENTION=20035]anticlimatic[/MENTION] are welcome to make and use their own definitions, I just don't find this one especially useful. Third, accepting and following a set of principles "absolutely" or without question is hardly confined to left-leaning folks, nor religious world views/practices.
 

Lark

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It might be. So what? Everyone is motivated by things other than rationality. Rationality isn't a motivation, it's more of a method. The existence of God isn't even falsifiable, and the same goes for the absence of God.

I mean, I don't think it's necessarily awful that people have a value system based upon things other than merely acquiring profits, whether that value system is based on a secular foundation or not. I generally think it's desirable to strive for people to strive for something better than the exclusive fulfillment of pure id.

I think you still tend to come back to the two factor definition, an object of devotion, whatever that may be and it could be a God or it could be something else, and then a frame of orientation for values etc.

I'm not sure that religion, or for the sake of this argument its equivalents, is necessarily altruistic, opposed to materialism or avarice. I've seen some great examples where it is positively avaricious, varieties of tele-evangelism or so called "prosperity gospel" for instance. Darren Brown is the most recent author I've read that wrote about it.
 

Lark

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People who are on the Left side of politics, generally see religion as archaic and or harmful to society. Meaning the majority are either agnostic or atheist.

You are also only looking at Religion from a single angle. There is far more to religion than just belief in a god. It is a way of life. Leftists also have a way of life, and it tends to mirror religion quite well. They hold beliefs that they deem absolute, despite the fact very few things are absolute, as they do not question their "god". Just like Christians take the bible as law.

Take Identity politics that some practice for an example of "doctrine" It is accepted as fact by many, and that all should abide by it. If they do not, they are evil racist bigots and must be purged, shunned, or exiled socially and sometimes physically. Calling everything a Nazi, is like saying things are the Devil. The same irrational intolerance that you see devout religious people do, is seen in some Leftist who do not get their way. Then to top it off, they preach that they are the good guys and they are trying to help everyone, and the world. That if everyone was the same as them, the world will become a utopia.

What about liberation theology? MLK, Malcolm X, many others I can think of, where all religious.

Some might say that the excising of religion from left wing thinking has been one of the more successful acts of sabotage and self-sabotage its possible to witness.
 

Lark

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One can be an atheist Buddhist. Or belong to the Universalist Unitarians and be an atheist. So no, no belief in gods is necessary to belong to a religion.

Yeah, I read a lot of interesting things lately about the rise of "cultural" affiliations to "creed communities", its a strange thing to me in some respects and I know that leaders of my own faith community have condemned the "a la carte" perspective towards religion but there does seem to be some communities that its not an issue being a believer and an atheist.

I think the bigger question is about the private and public spheres, private conscience and public rules, strictures, whether or not believers and non-believers alike will be expected to abide by binding rules arising from the strictures of belief.

The principle experience of the western world has been about this, largely, when it comes to matters of religion. A lot of the whole ditching the baby with the bathwater approach towards tradition, including religion, in favour of innovation or simply making things up as you go along with the best intentions, loses sight of all that.

So superficially I think it can appear like liberalism, and I'll say liberalism rather than socialism or communism or this vaguery that's popular with the far right "leftism", is repeating the mistakes of historical religion.
 

Wunjo

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Ideological apparatus are not religious tenets. Their form or context can change in time while religious tenets are by nature dogmatic. The concept of privilege is much more flexible compared to the definition of the original sin. This whole thread seems like a poor attempt to bash at leftists who criticize religion by the use of a subtext claiming that they have formed their own set of dogmas while criticizing religion.

Also secular leftism is a huge umbrella. While it contains the "social liberalism" that you are trying to bash, it also contains Marxism, Stalinism, Federalism and hell, even Anarcho-Socialism.

Do your homework.
 

anticlimatic

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It might be. So what?

I don't have a negative view of religion, but at least Christians recognize what they are in. This bizarre 'that's not the definition I prefer' push-back against something that would be patently obvious to a first year junior anthropologist is more telling to me of how indirectly self loathing and self-unaware some people are (which I suppose is another hallmark of most religions). If I were interested in making a judgement on the value of religion (which I wasn't initially), it wouldn't be that leftists are religious and that's bad- but that leftists are religious, so maybe people of other religions aren't so bad or different from them.


Individuals like [MENTION=20035]anticlimatic[/MENTION] are welcome to make and use their own definitions, I just don't find this one especially useful.

Woah there, Hoss. I'm not 'making' any definitions. If you want to just turn a blind eye to the bulk of the word's potential meaning, that's on you. If a 1978 Lincoln Continental drives past and someone shots "Woah, look at that BOAT!" I'm not going to scan the horizon for water like some kind of cartoon caricature INTJ.
 
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