THE SECOND WAVE OF THE NEW ATHEISM: A MANIFESTO FOR SECULAR SCRIPTURAL SCHOLARSHIP AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES

View previous topic View next topic Go down

THE SECOND WAVE OF THE NEW ATHEISM: A MANIFESTO FOR SECULAR SCRIPTURAL SCHOLARSHIP AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Post by Guest on Mon 11 Jan - 12:44

A MANIFESTO FOR SECULAR SCRIPTURAL SCHOLARSHIP AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES

Insofar as we believe that religious belief has the potential to incite actions that could ultimately lead to the destruction of our planet, we identify ourselves with what is called “the New Atheism.” We affirm that a Second Wave of the New Atheism exists insofar as that descriptor encompasses self-identified atheist scriptural scholars or scholars of religion who:

-Are academically trained experts in the study of religion and sacred scriptures (e.g., the Bible, Quran, and any other text deemed sacred on religious grounds);

-Regard activism as a fundamental orientation of all scholarship insofar as they agree with Noam Chomsky that "t is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies" [4].

-Uphold and defend freedom of expression;

-Question the notion that religious thinking is itself good or ethical;

-Acknowledge that human ethics need not depend on religion;

-Welcome as wide a diversity of scholars as possible in terms of ethnic sel identification, gender, or sexual orientation;

-Recognize that most of biblical scholarship is still largely part of an ecclesial academic complex that renders it very distinct from other areas of the humanities and social sciences, especially insofar as it seeks to protect and preserve religion as a valuable feature of human existence;

-Aim to expose the bibliolatry that still lies at the core of biblical studies insofar as most of biblical scholars believe the Bible should be a vital part of modern cultures or bears superior ethical values;

-Advocate the discontinuation of the use of any sacred scripture as a moral authority in the modern world;

-Acknowledge that the traditional scriptural canons are an artificial theological construct, and encourages scriptural scholarship to study all texts considered authoritative or sacred by ancient religions;

-Call attention to the ethical advances or positive features of texts in the ancient Near East that have not received due attention;

-Seek to make scriptural and religious studies relevant by encouraging scholars of sacred scriptures and religions to engage in public discussions and/or use cyber media to educate the public about issues such as the role of religion in violence and the use of sacred scriptures to oppose gay rights, contraception, gender equality, and other social and human rights issues that should be adjudicated on non-religious grounds;

-Encourage secular scholars of religion and sacred scriptures to help establish policies that are based on reason and democratic values instead of religion; they should be the guardians of a strict separation between religion and state;

-View cooperation with scientists as a necessary strategy to challenge those who use sacred scriptures to deny the existence of evolution or anthropogenic climate change, among other general scientific conclusions;

-Work to ensure that professional organizations of scriptural and religious studies, such as the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion, insist on methodological naturalism, and not theological methodologies, in their basic approach to all research presented at its meetings, as is the case with all other areas of the humanities and social sciences;

-Affirm that religious obscurantism can only be countered through education;

-Insist on critical education that focuses on a historical and social understanding and development of religion; that is, teaching and education that is fact-based instead of faith-based; people should know ABOUT religions and religious texts,
not in the sense of maintaining the value of any religious tradition, but to develop critical thinking about religions;

-Regard the study of the Bible, the Quran, and other sacred scriptures as important in understanding western history and modern culture, but without seeking to retain their moral authority.

Scholars who share these views may not identify themselves as any sort of New Atheists or as part of any Second Wave of the New Atheism. Indeed, some of the following signatories do not necessarily apply those labels to themselves. When the co-authors say that “a Second Wave of the New Atheism exists...” they are affirming the existence of people who already think this way, but may not have identified as such explicitly up to now.However, we invite all scholars who share these views to join us in expressing, or putting into practice, any or all of the ideas and goals that we have outlined here.

Signatories

Kenneth Atkinson, Professor of History, Department of History, University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA).

Hector Avalos, Professor of Religious Studies, Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa, USA).

Carol Delaney, Associate Professor, Emerita, Cultural and Social Anthropology, Stanford University (Stanford, California, USA)

André Gagné, Associate Professor, Departments of Religion and Theological Studies, Concordia University (Montreal, Canada)

Daniel Gullotta, Graduate Student, Yale Divinity School (New Haven, CT, USA)

Jaco Gericke
, Associate research professor in the subject group Theology and
Philosophy, School of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, North-West
University (Vaal Campus, South Africa)

James Linville, Faculty, Department of Religious Studies, University of
Lethbridge (Lethbridge, Canada).

Jennifer Tacci, Graduate Student, Department of Theological Studies, Concordia
University


NOTES
*This Manifesto was first published on January 7, 2016 at Bible & Interpretation. The permanent website where it will be updated is here: LINK.



Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum