Humanism Really is an Organised Religion

Humanism really is an organised religion, which is no bad thing.

With any luck, an enlightened one.



Mockery is not a good look, but many a true word spoken in jest – growing-up / twice-born / enlightened.

And this thread for inspiration seed-crystal:

First proposed this in response to the Oxford annual congress #whc2014

[Terry Eagleton reviewing John Gray:

“Gray also believes that humanists are in bad faith. Most of them are atheists, but all they have done is substitute humanity for God. They thus remain in thrall to the very religious faith they reject.”

As an atheist / humanist / secularist, that’s pretty much my position as far as the New Atheist humanists are concerned. And Humanity of the Gaps is a phrase I’ve coined several times.

Plenty more cutting opinions about New Atheists (Dawkins / Harris / Pinker et al) from both Eagleton and Gray in that review. But also plenty of spot on stuff:

“if you can represent the future here and now,
then it can’t be the future.”

Yes the future evolves and new species (of anything) are only known with hindsight. Political predictions, Marxist or otherwise, are wishful, hopeful, of the general direction of “progress” we want to make happen, but can never be specifically predictable.

“The popular belief that atheism and religion are opposites is, in his view, a mistake. Gray also takes a swipe at the kind of atheism that sees religion as a primitive stab at understanding the universe, one that science will later replace.”


Although Eagleton ultimately dismisses Gray’s thesis, they’re pro- and anti-Marxists, he clearly has a lot of time for his thinking. Referring to Gray as “a card-carrying misanthrope”is mischievous – sounds like we’d both listened to Gray on BBC R4 DID – neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but hopeful.

Oh, and the (George) Steiner connection … archetype of Gray’s kind of atheism according to Eagleton … and the original promoter of Pirsig (above). What a tangled web.

(Hat-tip to Elizabeth Oldfield for the Eagleton/ Gray piece).]

[Still just a placeholder collecting links.
Here a review of Gray in Quietus.]

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