Secularism is the ideology that involves separating the influence of religion or spirituality from government, politics, state law or public matters. Secular thinking removes the imminent bias that appears within judicial and systemic affairs when they are dealt with religiously; in turn creating a more neutral environment for communities.
Many people advocate for secularisation as it stops unjust priority and domination of one religion comparative to the varied beliefs in one society. Non- religious believers may not condone being subjected to religious thought, with a secular society there can be a push towards science and freeing ourselves from the restrictions of religion. This essay will argue that secularism is more useful in society than religion because it prevents societal division.
The importance of neutrality that co-exists with secularism is that it pushes the idea we should all be treated and considered equally regardless of our backgrounds—and religion. This means striving to make rational choices and follow procedures that are evidenced by reason and science.
Sigmund Freud a neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis would favour the secularisation of society as he would argue “religion is comparable to childhood neurosis”, and that people of faith are viewing the world through rosy coloured glasses—In Freuds words ‘wishful thinking’.
These mindsets stunt humanity’s progress towards finding real answers behind our true purpose and creation of the universe. It is the easy route to use God as our answers, to comfortably feed our longing for the frightening gaps in our knowledge—that are yet to be filled. Freud identifies these gaps in three forms, the internal and external forces of nature and the desire for a father figure.
Religion completes our wants, however at what cost? Many popular monotheistic religions include ritual action, carried out in a repetitive manner which is similar to tactics that condition the mind and indoctrinate oneself with blind faith. Which Freud would describe as the birth of neurosis. Collectively those that believe in religion are trapped within a ‘universal obsessional neurosis’.
Alternatively, it was Freud that criticised his own point on religious neurosis by recognising, perhaps the only way to pull yourself out of neurosis, is through religion. In difficult times, it can provide a genuine sense of security and safety for people to preserve their sanity by knowing there is God/Father looking out for them.
Additionally, to the personal reparations faith gives, religion has furthermore contributed to bringing people together within communities, traditions and cultures. Nevertheless, albeit religion’s wishful happiness to people’s lives, we remain in oblivion. Under the strain of antiquated religion, progress is slow. Despite the momentary bliss that ignorance affords us—dazed by religious mantras.
Secularism by separating religion from the state will ensure society is not deluded by fantasy and it is in our best interest to teach modern science to future generations.
Richard Dawkins suggests further than programmatic secularists, that we are in fact doing more harm than good by bringing children up in a religious environment; comparative to ‘child abuse’.
Evaluating both scholars’ theories on the harmful effects of religion, it is apparent that secular society would benefit us greatly.
Thornton, Stephen. “Sigmund Freud: Religion.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://iep.utm.edu/freud-r/.
Robertson, David. “The Dawkins Letters – 10. Childhood Abuse and Gap Theology.” Bethinking.org, https://www.bethinking.org/atheism/the-dawkins-letters/10-childhood-abuse-gap-theology.