Secular Believers

Secular BelieversThe film Secular Believers provides an example of how secular beliefs can be included in a religious education syllabus.

It was made for the UK education system and its message is that beliefs, and believers, come in many shapes and sizes, and not all of them can be described as 'religious'.

The film provides an introduction to a fascinating range of non-religious people and their beliefs.

With this example we can understand why religious people shouldn't fear inclusion of secular beliefs in our religious education syllabus.

Watch the full documentary now

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Ratings: 7.25/10 from 4 users.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • saundra g

    The rest of the modern world is progressing ahead, leaving religion where it belongs...in the church....bravo for them...

    In this matter, America is backwards....

  • Rant

    I, for one, am Neo-Pagan and do have a bit of structure to my belief system (not nearly as structured as 'organized' religion). I have always heard of Secular belief but have only now had an opportunity to really understand it.

    Very informative. Very well put together.

  • vince

    I am a Christian. I am not a creationist nut nor do I devote my time against abortion. After all, nature is the biggest abortionist. My time is spent thinking about truth. Jesus could have saved himself by merely defending himself by the law of the land. But that wasn't the point. The point was Truth (what I believe is God). Jesus was killed to protect the law and belief of people who had something to lose to the truth. Even Pilate asked "What is truth?" when questioning himself. That is why he said he washes his hands of the whole thing. Religion? Not so fast. The laws of society today are defended more religiously by the non-"religious" people than most clerical people defend themselves. I will say that most religious people have lost sight of the point of their religion. Anyway, consider this the extent of my evangelism. Big bang? How else!! Not miraculous enough?!?!?!

  • vince

    I also think that firearms have been and are a useful tool for mankind, but not against each other (if you can help it). Just defining myself against trolls.

  • Danica

    This film was not completely impartial. Despite its attempt to expose both standpoints to the "Is there a God?" question. I would have liked to know why the Christian convert abandoned his former Athiest principles. Was his reasoning not worth including in the film? He seemed quite sharp,and informative in my opinion. The film's exclusion of this particular piece of information is an overt indication of a skewed portrayal, which I find curious since one of the major themes expressed throughout the film is this "all-inclusive" approach. Aside from that however I very much enjoyed the piece. It was engaging, thought provoking, and I learned many new things.

  • Mokstar

    Danica,
    if you are referring to the guy in section 8 (no joke intended there). the reason they never talked about why he converted is literally from what he said...

    "I used to be an atheist.", that's it, he just never went into it. it is not like he started to and they cut it out.
    but then again, he does go on about how he thinks atheist are boring and without.."umf".

    plus this is not about christianity nor was it about "is there a god". where did you get that from?
    this whole documentary was about secular beliefs and the people who subscribe to them, and most importantly "why religious people shouldn't fear inclusion of secular beliefs in our religious education syllabus."

    from your perspective, that would be like someone complaining that a documentary about panda bears didn't have the point of view of the polar bears...

    comment about the doc:

    I thought this was a great doc, and very informative. i really enjoyed the questions presented at the end of each segment.

  • yavanna

    Disappointed with this doc as a "secularist". It seem far too apologetic.

    Danica - the convert to which I think you mention is Prof. Alistair McGraph. He is an extremely intelligent scholar, very charismatic and "believable." He has been involved in several god vs atheism debates. Just off the top of my head against Hitchens. One of which I`m sure was on fora tv. I cant remember why he "left" atheism however - I remember thinking WHY WHY WHY at the time. (Hitchens owns him of course.

  • Yavanna

    Having watched this now a second time , I think the most important thing for an atheist / agnostic to accept is that we should not be defined by what we do not believe - rather we should examine our own personal beliefs unrestricted.

  • Leah

    Good documentary. One of my complaints is in regard to the comment from the speaker at the godless Americans march on Washington. She stated that all Americans are godless because there is no God. I think that by making that statement, she is not glorifying her beliefs...she is tearing down other religions. I find this to often be a thread of atheism. There are a great majority of atheists that don't just take pride in their beliefs, they take pride in tearing down the beliefs of others. Not the best way to make your points. Paraphrasing the man at the end in the pitfalls section, anti-religion fanatics are just as bad as religious fanatics!
    I am also wondering why it is necessary to teach children in a public school setting about secular beliefs when the public schools and voters are intensely trying to keep religious beliefs from being taught in schools (at least in America that is, I am not aware of how it is in the UK). If one is going to be taught, certainly the other should be taught as well. All belief systems should be taught to children if it is even necessary to teach them at all.

  • lolwut

    @Leah

    I'm an atheist and I'd like to offer my 2 cents in reply to your comments :)

    "...she is not glorifying her beliefs…she is tearing down other religions. I find this to often be a thread of atheism."

    -In the general use of the term, "atheist" just means someone does not believe in god. It does not make any positive assertions by itself, so of course when a bunch of atheists get together we're gonna rant about how dumb we think god/religion/the supernatural is. Lots of us might be "humanists" or some other "-ist" that describes our positive beliefs, but there is no guarantee that everyone at an atheist rally/gathering will share those beliefs (it is an atheist event after all, not a humanist or naturalist event).

    "...anti-religion fanatics are just as bad as religious fanatics!"

    -I agree that some anti-religion fanatics like Dawkins and the in-your-face anti-evangelists are just as pompous and annoying as wackos they like to bash.

    "I am also wondering why it is necessary to teach children in a public school setting about secular beliefs when the public schools and voters are intensely trying to keep religious beliefs from being taught in schools."

    -"Secular beliefs" like methodological naturalism (aka the scientific method) and the well-founded knowledge that has been derived from this process (aka evolution, the big bang, modern geology, history, physics, etc) absolutely SHOULD be taught in public schools as these "secular beliefs" are the cornerstone of all modern knowledge. In the 21st century, an education lacking a thorough understanding of the scientific method and the major ideas it gives us is no education at all. Turning your back on this information is literally turning your back on verifiable, objective physical reality and saying that you have no interest in teaching our children about the world around them. Opposition to teaching science on the grounds that it is a "secular belief" equivalent to religion is absolute lunacy.

    However, I draw the line there. "Fluffy" personal beliefs of all sorts should be left at home for each family to discuss on their own. I strongly oppose the teaching of classical religious ideas like creationism/intelligent design, etc, but I also believe that applies to humanism and other non-religious metaphysical beliefs. The only place where discussions on metaphysics like god and humanism might belong is in a philosophy class, and even then the views should be unbiased, given balanced time, and be open to fair criticism, discussion, and debate.

  • Mokstar

    Mokstar,

    No. I think he probably did try to voice why he converted. That's an important matter no? The other convert, the one who went from a Christian to an athiest or w/e certainly gave his speil. Bible fallacies, historical discrepancies...etc. Why such vague detail with the other side? How do you know they didn't cut it out? Were you there?

    As for your second point, sure on the surface the doc is about secular beliefs in modern society, but it's obvious that the underlying message within is God's existence. That's what everyone interviewed talked about, their own take on God. That's the whole [i]point[/i] of religion/atheism. You really think primary and sole message of this film is to learn about how seculars celebrate weddings?

    From your perspective that would be like someone assuming that a documentary about gun control is about AK47s.

  • Danica

    Whoops, ok the previous post was actually mine.

    My bad!

  • SexMoneyMonkey

    @Danica

    It might be important in some documentaries but I don't see how it would be important in one that's about secular people. If it was a secular versus religious then sure, but this is about why religious people should not fear secular people. Why a secular person became religious seems very unrelated to the topic.

    Imagine a documentary about why secular people shouldn't fear Christians that went into detail about why a Christian became secular, would seem unrelated.

    Information should be out there, sure, and it is. But there's no point in including unrelated information in a documentary.

  • Danica

    SexMonkeyMonkey,

    Well your thought experiment should sway both ways, why a Christian goes secular is plain irrelevant in both cases, but yet it's included. If they took the time to include irrelevant details for one individual's view than it should be reciprocated for the opposite individual. I'm not even religious, and so there's no sentimental motive here. It just seems like a landslide imbalance.

  • OldLimpy

    Good God. Talk about confusing the issue. I've read the comments and watched the video and now understand why the previous comments are confused - because the people who created this video are also confused. Secular belief IS a contradiction in terms. The only people who could conceive of a term such as 'secular believer' are plainly religious and have a vested interest in passing themselves off as critical thinkers, which they are definitely not.

    How do I know, because they have no critical understanding or respect for the terms secularity or atheism simply judging people who take this position as having some kind of misguided belief that needs to be rectified. But of course secularity ignores religion and atheism denies any form of supernatural belief.

    So what are these people blathering about. Well, of course, they want to represent religious mythology as reality in our schools and want you to think that atheism is a secular belief system that can be taught alongside religion, and this crock of condescending nonsense is coming from seemingly smart people. This stupid video is just another futile attempt by religious retards to get religion into the classroom.

    I liked the part about the missionary guy who realised, as he read through the Old Testament, that something was desperately wrong with the message in the bible. It reminded me of a witty limerick that goes like this....

    There was a young man who thought triable
    An attempt to prove ludicrous the bible
    He searched tomes of renown
    But the best evidence he found
    Was the absurdities of the bible, undeniable.

    Hmmm...maybe it's not such a bad idea to teach religion in the classroom. It might completely eradicate belief in God.

  • Concerned for you

    Hi,

    I am a Christian. I do, however, respect the beliefs of others. While neither I or you can prove the existence or non-existence of God, I do feel compelled to share my beliefs with you. Please let me explain, if the weather-person suspects through his/her own research that an catastrophic storm is approaching, then he/she has a responsibility to let the people know about it so that they may make adequate preparations for their well being and safety or similarly, if at your job site the employer has a responsibility to post appropriate warnings for situations or circumstances that may cause you injury or death. It is then up to you to heed or disregard the warnings and thus proceed at your own risk or death.

    In my opinion, whether you have a belief or non-belief then you have still made a religious decision.

    Basically, all human beings are the same, whether Christain or non-Christian, we are all flawed in someway meaning that we are all sinners. The only difference between true Christians (many professing Christians are not really Christians) and non-Christians is that Christians have accepted the death of Jesus and his shed blood as a ranson paid for sins and therefore receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life as a free gift. Non-believers have rejected the ransom paid and have chosen death.

    I urge you all to fully consider the long-term implications of the decision you are making. There...I said my peace!!

    God bless you all and hear what God says to you:

    Deuteronomy 30:19
    I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants

  • z1

    What is God?

  • Kurrrt

    z1
    God? It's an invented invisable entity only religions believe in. Try not to pay too much attention to it. Very dangerous thing to mess with.
    Oh, religions? An illogical group or groups of people which find the need to follow a God or Gods, only used to invisably fix their needs. Another very dangerous thing to be involved with. Have a great day, be safe.

  • Kurrrt

    If all mankind was created from the image of our creator. Then all of humankind coalesced together as one is where to focus and seek our answers, which truly lies within the composite of us all. In no other place outside of the essence of man can any God be. This focus within humanity would also allow us to think for our self. This belief would create everyone to be leaders of man, to evolve into new cultures, and new advanced understandings.
    This belief would be void of man made illogical outside the self Gods and religions. Which is constantly restricting man from evolving. *Our need is to actually love all mankind regardless of their direction, and illogical incorrect recruited beliefs. Forgive the mistakes of your fellow man. Only through understanding, when the time comes those who know the least will be the first to know.
    Recovering from religion involves holding on to only kindness to one another and becoming a greater human being. To bring only the choices that can be made to bring the most peaceful moments to each day as possible.

  • Kurrrt

    Secular Believers, (video title).
    Just wondering,(I'm in no way an expert) I didn't know secular was an actual belief, just a meaning. Isn't it regarded seperate, and not having any view points on God or religion? Atheist somewhat the same, but argues the facts of science toward various religions, Aliah, Christianity etc, correct? All coming to a circle in attempting in recruiting one anothers projected historical understandings vs. modern.
    I feel I'm very alone and very out numbered, along with non- religious and non conflicting vs huge empires of various religions which harbor evil w/fear in it's endtrails. Answering modern day questions with ancient script, is kinda silly too yup. It sure is difficult to walk within these others. (I'm at a point where I just want off planet). There's many ethic claims, even Democratic Humanism, etc. Why not make it way simple and just use good ole "Eupraxsophy"... There's so much conflict out there that being labled with the name of your belief is creating targets. ok bye-Engine room? Hurry Scotty- beam me up! mmmmmmmm

  • platoson

    Good doc, the problem with atheists is that they say they do not believe in God, but by this most mean the traditional Christian (outdated) concept of an old man in the sky. Such a fairy tale should be rejected, but rather than explore further, most throw the baby out with the bathwater and close their minds to the possibility that the energy from which all life originates has intelligence, direction and purpose, as a result they never experience this energy in its pure form.

    As scientists are exploring the quantum world, they're discovering this world and universe are both far more complex than we ever imagined and therefore it is foolish to say something beyond the physical cannot exist as it cannot be proven. A good scientist would be an agnostic because he would always be open to new information which is the way that science has traditionally progressed.

    What atheists haven't understood is that if you rely on your 5 senses as science does, then you cannot experience the supernatural as these are beyond the normal physical senses, yet humans do have a sixth sense, but of course those who refuse to acknowledge it will only experience life on a very superficial level.

    This is like living in the Matrix, or sleep walking through life, (which most people do) the only way people can experience a deeper reality is through raising ones consciousness, but this can never happen as long as people are convinced that materialism is all that exists.

    Ultimately atheists are much like religious fundamentalists who(both soundly sleeping) are not open to another view but have already made up their minds before the argument has even begun (Dawkins is a perfect example).

    As long as people's minds are closed there will always be atheism and religious fundamentalism, but both must die for humanity to progress.

  • Danica

    Platoson,

    The sixth sense exists? Evidence? Aside from kant's a priori...which is super ambiguous. Can you link it? what have you seen that's got you convinced?

  • Kurrrt

    Here's a planet that rules humanity with many different religions. Depending on their birth loction is their selected faith. Non-existing God's create as much fear they need to enslave mankind to obey and follow only them.
    Life's not about belief or a catagory of faith, it's about being human. It's about a focus within mankind. Not a consciousness taken to empty holes in the sky. You don't hear about heaven or hell, or angels in the newspaper, or on cable tv news. It's because they exist only in the mind of the follower. You're told there is a one God, in the holy bible the God's say "let US make man in OUR image". Language translation errors go without correction, and the mistake is taken for truth for generations, now into the next. Ancient Dictators and Rulers paid scribes to construct bibles. No one took notes when Jesus spoke, his origional sayings were masked by dictators, darker forces using distortions of their illogical wisdom, only used to control. No mentioning of bible text events on anywhere else around the planet? 40 authors wrote holy bible#2 and it's written 125 years later. The bibles word keeping slavery times just as active, has got you to were you are today. Once the imaginary God leaves the mindset, the devil will certainly follow. Because the ones who brought you hell, are the same ones who make you believe in a God.

  • Kurrrt

    Ed Danes remote viewing course.
    Everyone can do it, and don't even know it.

  • IzzyB

    Platoson, what do you call this pure energy which has intelligence, direction and purpose and can be experienced? Is it some kind of bodiless mind?

    What do you call a sixth sense that will allow us to experience the supernatural? What sort of sense could it be?

    How can it be possible that an atheist is not open to another view?

    If you desire your opinions to be informed by the absolute best available explanations for reality, then you need to honestly answer the questions above and stop watching TV. These ideas of yours are an excellent example of an argument made out of good old foggy thinking and unashamed ignorance.

  • IzzyB

    @ Concerned for you - Dividing your world into christian or non-christian is anything but respectful in fact, it is conceited, disrespectful and unabashedly arrogant. Your threatening mockery of non-christians is atypical of a depth of ignorance normally displayed by the moderate and liberal faithful. Don't you know the concept of sin can only apply to judeo-christian believers who have no choice but to buy into the whole redemption package which is completely irrelevant to non-christians, particularly atheists. Your entire belief system seems to be based on nothing more than an immorally prudent decision to ensure you are forgiven. Everyone, christian or not, is already forgiven, what do you think christ died for or did you forget that little detail. I am sure you are a good person but you need to think this through again.

  • Kurrrt

    A minor biblical deception- The ancient waters rise as Northern ice melted, the end of an ice age, the water consumed valley's, then did more valley's flood. The hunters of game and gatherers of fruit (no apples trees) from natural gardens were forced out by these floods, forced out of the gardens of Adan. (forced by nature refered to as God)
    We have "Ring Around the Rosie" and ancients they had "Adam and Eve". Both stories told in sort of a poem language, believed to have authentic sarcastic truths about them both.
    The bible doesn't give full reasons. The equasion of who came first the chicken or the egg, logicly if the rooster is left out the question remains. Perhaps an ancient bible does not supply modern man with information needed for advancing culture. An instruction book for followers of non-existing entities, was written in times of slavery and murder is not going to do it. Ruling dictators paying scribes what God says in their bible of their ancient text and times, they do that for obvious reasons to control. Does no one question reason? Freely think for yourself. Does being told how to think or follow non-existing entities seem normal? Just become human and have the best day you ever had, everyday.

  • Angel R.

    this documentary is beautiful and very very well made. recommended to watch 5/5 :)

  • A. T. Heist

    i'm a creator, because that's what i do. i create.

  • http://www.bustersideas.blogspot.com/ Patrick

    z1- what is God?
    Is he a naughty kid playing with an ant farm?

    Or is he the guy living in the upstairs apartment, a mean old man, cynical and ugly, that considers prayers "junk mail".

    A creator that can kill 250,000 people with no warning. (Can you say Tsunami?)

    A creator that causes nation to rise up against nation, that causes famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in diverse places.

    Is he a viscious step father, beating his step kids with an iron rod?

    Or is he a blacksmith, a metal worker, hammering us with his blows to make useful instruments of us.

    A god of love, pure? A god who forgives? A god who hates the sin but loves the sinner?

    A Tralfamadorian?

    A brilliant chess player/judge/creator with the legal mind rivaling the physics of the universe.

    The puppet master of the Universe?

    What is God? If a man can be measured by his actions, by what he does, how does one measure God?

  • Troy

    Lol this reminded me of one of those workplace orientation videos. But even though it was a rather rudimentary approach to explaning atheism for the most, i suppose it can play a role in starting the thinking process in a newly opened mind.

    Ok now its time to be a little harsh (In some peoples view anyway)

    In all honesty, if you still belive in religion in this day & age, theres no getting around it... Your stupid

    When the real answers are basically staring you in the face & you refuse to even attempt to look at them you deserve to be in a "flock" becuase thats in essence all you are, a stupid sheep (I dont mean to offend any sheep enthusiasts in any way for the record :)

    I read all the religious arguments on most videos because im always bamboozled by the complete idiocy of them trying to maintain a ridiculous argument that they truly belive(& for a laugh mind you) & this page has definatly proved comical so far.

  • Troy

    Hmm, the cencored word for today was "stu pid" kids :)

  • CatnipBubbleGum

    this brilliant documentary aside. Is anyone else getting a banner on this page saying: Judgment "Day 21 May 2011 the bible guarantees it" ??? People who are looking forward to a mass biblical,apocalyptical disaster are disgusting and should be woken up from this evil old testament mentality. They are dangerous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Buya-Nami/25811468 Buya Nami

    Damn it christianity gave religion a bad name, making this dumb atheist think they have answers to big questions... they should read the Qur'an and then form an opinion... they should do a thorough research before making life long decisions.

  • avd420

    Read it. I didn't like it's content or it's message and I thought the language was weak and amatuerish. As the book goes on it gets less and less comprehensible. I wouldn't recommend it.It's basically a less subtle Mein Kemph. I gave it a 1 out of 5 star reveiw.

  • Sabin Russell

    god gave me a gift....
    he gave me a headache

  • RileyRampant

    so you are saying, in essence, that anyone who doesnt subscribe to your particular brand of vague, nebulous nonsense is deluded.

    got it.

  • coryn

    Or try the Bhagavad Gita, or the Book of Mormon, they're all gibberish if you haven't been brought up with them at your side. "There is no antidote for religion mixed with mother's milk." -- Robert Ingersoll