On “Building Better Secularists”


In an opinion piece in the New York Times a couple of days ago, the conservative commentator David Brooks wrote of the various challenges arrayed against those of us who choose to live our lives outside of organized religion.

We have a huge mountain to climb, in Mr. Brooks’ estimation.


First, we must construct a personal moral philosophy, all of our own.

Second, we must build communities to support us — and build them from scratch!

Third, we must set aside — and even more difficult, we must keep — a regular time for reflection (in his words, a “Sabbath”).

Finally, we have to find the “moral motivation” to care.

Consistent with the familiar, benevolent, “Who me?” pose of David Brooks, his piece makes every effort to sound fair (“The point is not that secular people should become religious,” etc.). But the impression is leaves is unmistakable…

Why would you do this to yourselves?

Just go with a ready-made religion already!

Choose one, any one, doesn’t matter.

In today’s paper, there were some useful responses from non-believers, questioning some of the premises of his argument.

I have just one response to Mr. Brooks myself. I would suggest that he has left out our biggest advantage over the religious…

The truth.

That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it?

That’s our base camp.

Let’s keep climbing.

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