The Secular Scene is Too Damn Depressing

In my anniversary post I mentioned that I was hesitant to reenter secular society and Scott of Skeptic Meditations asked me what that meant.

The world of vocal atheists is a depressing one.

When you reacquaint yourself with the popular outspoken voices of secularism you’ll mostly be listening to complaints about the world and harsh attacks on people of faith. That’s not to say the situation isn’t similar in religious circles, but I don’t think fighting fire with fire is the appropriate response here.

There are very few vocal atheists promoting positivity. Everyone seems to be consumed by arguments and screaming how things should be. Look up popular secular YouTube channels. It’s almost exclusively people talking about what religious people did wrong this week.

Man, I’m a gamer. All my negative energy is spent complaining about everything wrong in that industry (Mother characters got cut from the new Smash Bros? For what? Doctor Mario? Are you friggin’ kidding me?). I don’t have any to spare!

The fact is that when we do nothing but argue over every issue our beliefs and principles become a very dark place in our minds.

It’s not that recognizing problems and injustices in the world is bad; it’s that the monologue usually consists only of talking about how wrong it is. I believe that if we talk more about the goal and ideal then we present a positive picture. People will be less inclined to start arguing or take sides and instead work co-operatively to achieve a utopia… An actual utopia, not a literary one that’s destined to fail to teach a lesson about hubris.

When you only talk about what’s wrong, there will always be people who disagree with you and start an argument. When you talk about the goal, it’s less confrontational and more “hey, we can do something good if we try!” Which may be cheesy and not as fun, but in the long run we’re better off.

Reminding each other that there is a simple, positive goal that we all agree upon makes it easier to achieve the goal. The goal is beautiful, uplifting, makes your outlook better and encourages you to reach for the sky.

When someone tries to promote a cause you completely disagree with, like taking evolution out of school, don’t immediately take the confrontational stance. Instead, ask why. Make an effort to empathize their reasoning and then come up with a counter argument that is more accommodating to their thoughts and beliefs rather than ruffling their fathers by obstinately saying “you’re wrong.” They are wrong, of course, but you’re not going to convince them of that by acting like the know-it-all opposition.  The goal in this situation is: Best education for our children. Both sides can agree on that, work from there.

It’s not easy. Fighting is more sensational, more fun, and keeps things interesting, but it doesn’t get shit done.

I didn’t want to get back into the secular scene because I cannot stand seeing everyone too busy fighting about everything to actually accomplish anything. I became a humanist because I love the philosophy that mankind can achieve anything it sets its mind to. Angry, depressing, derogatory blogs, vlogs, and tweets make me believe it a little less every day.

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One thought on “The Secular Scene is Too Damn Depressing

  1. I apologize in advance for such a long-winded comment.

    I agree, and I do often try (and frequently fail) to keep a neutral tone when discussing points on my blog. For me, the conversation on important things hasn’t started yet; there is still haggling over the place settings. Merit can be found in the pursuit of dialogue for its own sake, especially online. Here is a place where others can stumble across reasonable words as long as they remain written.

    If it were easy to bring polite discourse to popular acclaim, I think it would have been done by now. But swearing contests appeal to our survival instincts, and so 24 hour news will trump PBS. Another example is secular Humanism: how obvious it seems that it should have been a philosophy for more than the short 300 years we’ve had it. The Buddha, Plato, and even Cicero couldn’t fathom it in its simple beauty.

    I like to tell myself that maybe it is the effort that will count for something. Even if I can’t spark that thought that gets everyone to listen, maybe I can get one person to listen. As long as any of us are doing that, eventually the riffraff will quiet down and we can finally talk about advancing our species.

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