To the Editors:

Last week Steve Robinson asserted that "liberal secularism has transformed into a religious dogma," since it is "ripe with symbols, narratives, and practices that give meaning to life."

But it is unclear to me how peace signs and iconic pictures of Obama—examples cited by Robinson—can impart meaning to life, as a crucifix or the Star of David might. Robinson pins the liberal narrative as the plight of the poor, but this again seems patently different from biblical stories, or the Islamic hadith. This definition of religion is simply much too broad for the term to carry any meaning: Kappa Alpha Psi, Harvard University, the State of Maine, the Republic of Singapore and the New York Yankees would all qualify.

Robinson then implies that traditional religion should be included in policy making to answer questions science can't: "How did life begin? Why are we here? What is our purpose in life?" Incidentally, the first question can be approached scientifically (just talk to Professor Eben Rose in the geology department). More importantly, though, an effective government doesn't need to answer these questions. I don't want to suggest that hard science (chemistry, biology, etc.) can solve all of our problems, but that empirical analysis in general can do a pretty good job. Ethical deliberations are also important, but religion doesn't need to inform them, either.

When Bush consulted God before invading Iraq, he was engaging in a poor decision making process, to put it lightly. My hope is that a president will consult reality over beliefs before making policy decisions. If that is a religious statement, consider me a zealot.


Alex Williams '12