Colloquium “Religion, Secularism and the Rule of Law”, Beirut, Lebanon, 13-14 April 2012
The Colloquium “Religion, Secularism and the Rule of Law” was held in Beirut, Lebanon, 13-14 April 2012. The event was organized by Association libanaise de philosophie du droit (ALIPHID, Lebanese Association for Philosophy of Law) and the International Association of Free Thought (IAFT).
Our fund-raising campaign in support of the colloquium is now over. The donations collected helped to pay for the rental of the meeting room for the event. We warmly thank all donors.
Two spokespersons for the IAFT participated in the event and each gave a talk: Christian Eyschen, secretary-general of the Fédération Nationale de Libre Pensée (National Federation of Free Thought, France), and David Rand, president of Atheist Freethinkers.
Here is a short summary of David Rand’s talk.
The Relationship Between Atheism and Secularism
Upon examination, theistic morality turns out to be arbitrary because the divine will on which it is based is unknown and unknowable. Atheism and secularism have in common the non-recognition of divine authority. The atheist founds his or her personal morality, just as the secular State founds its legislation, on considerations which are real and human, independent of any supernatural concept.
Atheism cannot be summed up as a spiritual option, or an ideology on a par with religions, because it is not faith-based. Rather, atheism is the refusal to accept a gratuitous hypothesis. The old prejudice which associates atheism with moral degradation, an attitude which is unfortunately widespread and which I call atheophobia, must be denounced because it is entirely baseless, and particularly because the enemies of secularism promote atheophobia out of self-interest.
The proceedings of the colloquium will be published both in French and in Arabic. Their publication will be announced here, as well as on the IAFT web site.