I was recently reading various articles on the Internet about Secular Humanist Judaism. Various atheists I have known in person are proud to be referred to as a cultural Jew; that is they may keep some of the trappings such as some of the food and customs, but do not at all take the notion of a God seriously– We all know someone like that and there are lots of famous examples too. That got me thinking about the concept of a Secular Humanist Christian. What would that be like? I think it would be a lot like most of us. Either we grew up with religion or we studied the bible as part of our English writing heritage, we listen to religiously themed music, look at religious Christian art because we happen to enjoy art. Perhaps if we did not try to mix the concept of atheism with that of Judaism as we never mention our (most of us?) Christian heritage in our atheism, we’d not be having the charge of Islamaphobia levied against us.
Think about it. Is someone still an anti-Semite if a bigot defaces a star of David symbol on a cultural Jew’s front living window? After all this cultural Jew is an atheist not a believer. A bigot is a bigot and I’d like to think they weren’t an atheist but, it is still possible they are isn’t it? What about the case of a cultural Jew on social media publishing a star of David and they get attacked by a horde of angry sounding atheists who mistakenly think they are a believer? Are the atheists now antisemitic? The point here is we as a society have already conflated religion and theism, at least with Judaism. I think we never notice this because the majority of us in this society are cultural Christians.
Is it then possible that there exist Secular Humanist Muslims and we have an exact parallel with that of Cultural Judaism? Yes, of course. I personally know a Secular Humanist Muslim. He is fond of reciting portions of the Koran and he loves some of the culture as we ourselves — As Cultural Christians often like portions of the Bible. After all, Dawkins talks about the beauty of some poetry from the KJV. This would explain the reticence of the Left to criticise non-Christian religions. We (Cultural Christians), like it or not are in the majority.
This understanding I think is necessary to help us deal properly with the threats from organizations such as the Muslim Action Forum (MAF). We must be able to demonstrate a proper separation of criticism of religion from the criticism of people themselves and, that criticizing such things as the ‘metzitzah b’peh’ or oral suction during a circumcision is not anti-Semitic. We are also in danger of having a blasphemy law that protects only the Christian religion modified to cover all religions.