The secularists are coming!

By Duganz

Long time and no see around these parts. What can I say? I moved away from Missoula a few years ago and with that came a sense of staying out of the conversation while Liz, JC and J-Girl continued bringing up progressive ideas in the blogosphere.

Not that I’ve been silent. I just haven’t been blogging here.

Recently I became involved in a the first ever Montana Secular Summit and I am really excited about it. Finally a bunch of secular Montanans will be gathering to talk about the issues facing our state, and how to keep the great wall of church and state present. I am so excited to be a part of it, and I really want to hear from 4&20 readers and hope to see a few in Helena on June 21st. Dr. David Orenstein will be there as a keynote speaker, and will surely be an entertaining guest. And then there will also be a lot of secular Montanans hanging out and being their lovely selves.

Well, why is that important? Because according to Pew Research, 20percent of Montana is without religion. That’s a lot of people in a state represented (currently, ick) by Steve “the world is 6,000 years old” Daines.

So, I hope that you’ll join me and a bunch of folks from around our great state as we celebrate being good without god, and just being humans.

If you’d like I will answer as many questions as I can about atheism, humanism and secularism should you leave comments on this post. Otherwise, have a nice day and please consider coming to Helena on June 21st to celebrate freedom and freethought.


  1. Turner

    Sounds like an event worth attending. I don’t have any questions about atheism. I have plenty of questions about religion. I’m especially puzzled about the number of fairly intelligent people who remain religious.

    • I don’t think it’s a matter of intelligence. Issac Newton was a great mind but also believed in alchemy and numerology.

  2. NamelessRange

    It’s worth pointing out that atheism is not counter to religion, it is counter to theism – and theism is not Christianity nor does it entail religion.

    There are negative correlations between belief and intelligence , but within a normal curve you will find brilliant theists, many of whom are religious.

    You only need to read Plantinga’s “Free Will Defense” to realize that Christian Theists can be incredibly intelligent, and are only following their logic from base assumptions that atheists disagree with.

    As an atheist, I think starting with the question of “how can intelligent people remain religious”, isn’t very charitable to religious people, and is also a terrible way to win them over.

    • Could not agree more, NamelessRange. It’s not a debate about intelligence, it’s a discussion about the reality of the world.

      One need only read YouTube comments to see that intelligence and non-belief are not always a correlation.

      I will put that book on my to-read list. Free will is a very interesting, if often esoteric, subject.

      • Plantinga’s “Free Will Defense” is a philosophical proof attempting to refute the Logical Problem of Evil using Modal Logic. It’s cool to look at, but is not light or enjoyable reading.

        Most contemporary philosophers agree he was successful as well. Which is why Contemporary atheistic philosophers have largely abandoned the Logical Problem of Evil in favor of the cumulative(and more damning) Evidential Problem of Evil.

        http://commonsenseatheism.com/uploads/Draper%20-%20Pain%20and%20Pleasure%20An%20Evidential%20Problem%20for%20Theists.pdf

        • Turner

          Wow. This philosophical stuff is way over my head. I’ve never felt the need to argue that God doesn’t exist. It’s up to the theists to prove their claims not me to refute them.

          That there is no magical man in the sky is so self-evident, so obvious, that I can’t see the need to defend it as an assertion.

          • lizard19

            of course it’s not a magical man, it’s an alien species vastly more intelligent than us, the evidence being their lack of official contact. I’m going to assume their mission is to ensure we don’t get off this rock and fuck up the rest of the galaxy.

            • Guys,guys,guys…..This is a computer simulation

  3. Big Swede

    My question would be will secularists die for their belief?

    Would they load up in cattle cars willingly, would they subjugate their women and daughters to wearing burkas?

    • Big Swede

      So, I’ll answer my own question.

      No, they’re not willing to do either. A miserable life on your knees is all they got.

      When given the choice they’d kiss Allah’s backside. Secularism is a mask hiding not from all religions but attacking one.

      • Turner

        Well, Swede, I guess I’m not a very good secularist. I think all religions, including Islam, are bullshit.

        • Big Swede

          Ok, if you go do me a favor. See if there’s a concentrated effort to demean Christianity with little or no mention of the others.

          I’ll apologize if that’s not the case.

          • Steve W

            Just because you are paranoid Swede doesn’t mean anyone is out to get you, or not.

            • Or… Does it? Swede takes his guard down for jist a second and he’ll be gunless and gay married!

          • I don’t believe that the Prophet Muhammad spoke to a god. I have said this before here on this blog. I don’t think the Koran or Bible is truth, with or without a capital T.

            But I also don’t try to demean people. I will say things about their holy books and preachers.

      • I don’t agree. But again I can only speak for myself, truthfully.

        Also, atheists don’t believe in Allah, and agnostics aren’t sure if Allah is reality, so it’d be interesting to see a corporeal Allah and humanity’s reaction to it.

    • JC

      Secularism has nothing to do with belief, Swede. Or faith for that matter. It has to do primarily with separation of church and state.

      But a secularist could practice spiritual principles that are harmonious with a variety of religious principals. So your questions are pretty meaningless.

      I might ask of you in return: do christians subjugate their youth by forcing them to recite the pledge of allegiance (“one nation under god”) in public schools? And if so, how is this different than forcing women to wear burkas?

      • Big Swede

        Women forced to wear burkas can’t attend schools?

    • No to the burkas as we don’t want Islamic Law enforced. Cattle cars? Hmm… Maybe some would. Some wouldn’t. But that’s basic humanity. A lot of atheists and secularists are humanists, however and I think that’s more of a moral philosophy than thinking church and state are seperate.

      But I can’t really answer that other than to say this: Atheism has no martyrs.

  4. JC

    Folks, remember (particularly you Swede):

    Secularism ≠ Atheism

    All atheists may be secularists, but not all secularists are atheists.

    I find great comfort in being an agnostic, and not having to think about any particular line of debate, or be convinced by any particular answer. I leave that up to others.

    Who am I, a mere mortal, to understand the greatest mystery of all: how did I get here? Yet I, as a secularist, can enjoy the greatest of mysteries: the presence of life on this globe!

    • Big Swede

      The keynote speaker, Dr. Orenstein writes for the American Atheist Magazine. The ACLU has a speaker there also.

      I’m curious tho about the afternoon workshops. 2-3pm is the “Training Seminars” followed by “Action Planning” from 3-4.

      I’m sure all these lessons will be nonspecific when it comes to all religions.

      • When I have an agenda I will gladly send it to you.

    • That’s a good point, JC. Working for a secular America does not require being an atheist. I do however (for sake of discussion) wish to bring up this point:

      Atheism and agnosticism are answering separate questions. Agnosticism answers, “Do you think thete is a possibility of a god that has been postulated?” Atheism is the answer to, “Do you believe in one of the postulated gods?”

      Keeping that in mind, I consider myself an agnostic-atheist. I don’t know if a god exists, but of the gods existing in current and past religions, I believe in zero.

      • JC

        I agree with your last paragraph. However my understanding of agnosticism is that I prefer to look at it as the middle ground between belief and non-belief, i.e, who am I to know? I am a mere mortal. I haven’t the ability to understand the creation/destruction of the universe (outside of observable processes). That would be pure hubris. For me, being an agnostic means I don’t have to engage in either the atheist’s, or the devotee’s belief. But I can referee. ;-)

  1. 1 The Dark Heart of the Hippie Dream | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] was great to see Patrick Duganz put up a post about the Montana Secular Summit happening June 21st in Helena. I hope there’s more to come, on that […]




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