Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Boy, for all the criticizing of religion by secularists, many sure seem to want to be considered “religious.”  First, there is the proposal to erect a “Temple of Atheisim.” Now, a soldier wants the U.S. Military to recognize humanism as a religion.  From the AP story:

Soldiers who don’t believe in God can go to war with “Atheist” stamped on their dog tags, but humanists and others with various secular beliefs are still officially invisible in the Army. Maj. Ray Bradley is applying to be the first humanist recognized as a “distinctive faith group leader” by the Army. In the meantime, he can’t be designated as a humanist on his official records or dog tags, although he can be classified as an atheist.

The distinction may not seem like a large one to those unfamiliar with humanism, but the Fort Bragg-based officer says it’s the equivalent of being told that “Christian” is an acceptable designation, but not “Catholic.” “Humanism is a philosophy that guides a person,” Bradley said. “It’s more than just a stamp of what you’re not.” Humanism’s core beliefs range from the assertion that knowledge of the world is derived from observation and rational analysis to the conviction that working to help others also promotes individual happiness.

Please.  The point of secular humanism is to eschew religion as a means of promoting human welfare and determining “Truth.”

Should we have “Stoic” dog tags?  How about “Utilitarian” dog tags?  And what about Christian humanists, do they have two religions?  This “religion envy” is bizarre.

Dear Reader,

We launched the First Things 2023 Year-End Campaign to keep articles like the one you just read free of charge to everyone.

Measured in dollars and cents, this doesn't make sense. But consider who is able to read First Things: pastors and priests, college students and professors, young professionals and families. Last year, we had more than three million unique readers on

Informing and inspiring these people is why First Things doesn't only think in terms of dollars and cents. And it's why we urgently need your year-end support.

Will you give today?

Make My Gift

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles