Secularism is the Religion of Humanity

What does it mean to be “secular”? Does it mean that you’re an anti-theist or even an atheist? No it doesn’t. The word “secular” originally meant a preoccupation with worldly, human affairs. It’s not just a denial of religion, but an affirmation of humanity. Robert G. Ingersoll explains:

Secularism is the religion of humanity, for it embraces the affairs of this world. It is interested in everything that touches the welfare of a sentient being. It advises attention to the particular planet on which we happen to live. It means that each individual counts for something. It is a declaration of intellectual independence. It says that the pew is superior to the pulpit. It says that those who bear the burdens shall have the profits, and that they who fill the purses shall hold the strings. It is a protest against ecclesiastical tyranny, against being the serf, subject, or slave of any phantom, or the priest of any phantom. It proposes to let the gods take care of themselves. It is living for ourselves and each other, for the present instead of the past, for this world instead of another. It is striving to do away with violence and vice, ignorance, poverty, and disease. But it does not believe in praying and receiving, but in earning and deserving. It says to the whole world: Work that you may eat, drink, and be clothed! Work that you may enjoy! Work that you may give and never need! That is secularism. That is the religion of humanity.

Robert G. Ingersoll was a 19th century orator who was known for his passionate defense of secularism during the Golden Age of Freethought.


Posted on February 26, 2012, in Politics, Religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Fantastic quote, Mike. One of my absolute favorites.

  2. I particularly love this other Robert G. Ingersoll quote, “Science is the enemy of fear and credulity. It invites investigation, challenges the reason, stimulates inquiry, and welcomes the unbeliever.” 🙂

  1. Pingback: Affirming Humanity « Dianoilogos

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