Do You Like Secs? December 22, 2008

Do You Like Secs?

An ongoing question in the non-religious world: What should we call ourselves?

Secular Humanists.

If we’re looking for something short and slangy, Ron Lindsay has a different suggestion:

If brevity is what we want, why not “Secs”? One thing we all share, presumably, is a commitment to secularism. For those who also think of themselves as secular humanists, “Secs” is a mere abbreviation. For other nonreligious, the term should be sufficiently vague that they can embrace it without feeling they are betraying some fundamental principle. And unlike “Brights,” the term is descriptive and offends no one,

Does anyone else want Secs? Let me know.

I feel that there are 29384823 jokes waiting to be told.

I’m blanking.

Help me out here, please.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Iztok

    Q: What is the difference between a Bright and a Secs?

    A: Secs do it non offensively.

  • Adam

    When i read the title I thought you had misspelled sex.

  • Polly

    Less god = more secs.

    I look forward to the day when Congress and the administration will be overflowing with secs.

    Looking for community? Nothing beats lots of good secs.

    I’ll be back later…

  • I like it!

    This is a good term. It’s funny, and it does get at a core area of agreement: support for secular involvement in society.

    Just a sec, while I tell my friends about this.

  • bernarda

    I suggest “animals”. Humans are occasionally a bit more perceptive than other animals, but not nearly as adapted to their environment.

    The name “animals” would show that our species is nothing special.

  • Andrew

    I think secs is a decent title, as I know numerous pastafarians/humanists/nihilist atheists that dislike being lumped under the humanist/bright title. Secs is a delicious pun, and it reflects that, despite our various differences, we share the secular outlook.

    Plus, I think we can agree that our society could always use more secs if we want to have a good time.

  • Skeptics?


    Atheist: technically, I am this, but when I use this label people think that I KNOW that there is no deity/universal spirit, etc.

    Humanist: not sure as to what that really means; I certainly believe that there are other life forms out there, some with intelligence?

    Brights: I am not that bright. 🙂

    Freethinker: not really; there are things that I am closed to (e. g., accepting things sans evidence)

    Pastafarians: *I* am a Pastafarian, but there are non-theists who don’t like the FSM

  • Emily

    I can just imagine it at a holiday party… “Me and a few of my secs friends are gonna go have our solstice party…wanna come?”

    I’m assuming singular would be ‘sec’ as in ‘I consider myself a sec’

    wow. I like it more than I should… It’s growing on me! :O

  • I love secs.
    But I’ll stick for atheist as much as I’ll stick to gay instead of homosexual or queer…

  • AxeGrrl

    how about the ‘Sexy Secs Sect’! 🙂

  • My problem with the word secular is that surely it can also apply to someone who privately believes in a religion but still believes that religion and state should be kept separate?

  • Stephen M.


    Then if I have a couple of “secs” in my car, I can say I had “Secs in my car!”

    Secs in a plane
    Secs on a train
    Secs in a house
    Secs with a…….yikes!

  • I’m happy with “atheist.”

  • On religion, I am an atheist; in politics, I am a secularist.

    In all matters, I research, collect, evaluate, & think.

    I chuckle at those who can sum their beliefs on a t-shirt or bumper-sticker.

  • Ross

    As has been noted, sounds an awful lot like “sex.” Also, I agree with Clare. Secular can apply to people who still have religious belief, but a belief in church state seperation.

    File “Secs” along with “Brights” as failures.

  • lurker111

    I like the term “manumit.” Refers to a free man (or woman); derived from “manumission,” the freeing of. Jerry Sohl used the term in his classic 1955 the-Soviet-Union-wins thriller, _Point Ultimate_. Hmmm. Just checked the dictionary, and “manumit” is in there as well.

  • AxeGrrl

    I’m still content with ‘heathenist’ actually 🙂

  • Troll

    Teh fundies will have a field day with this:

    Secs is (are) destroying society and denigrating religion. Secs must stop.

    …or something to that extent…

  • I think “sec(s)” suffers from being too cute -like Brights (though without the appearance of arrogance).

    Not that I have another serious suggestion. The problem with atheist, is that it defines what one does *not* believe in, without making any positive assertions. It is a good answer to the question, “Do you believe in God”, or even “What religion are you”, but not much beyond that. So I do agree that we need a good label, it’s just that I haven’t seen one yet.

    I think it is only really suitable as an answer th
    I’ll stick for atheist as much as I’ll stick to gay instead of homosexual or queer…

  • I usually go by “Justin.”

  • MrMarkAZ

    OK, how’s this for the joke dept?

    Single secularists: pre-marital secs.
    Robert Ingersoll impersonators: oral secs.
    Secular proctologists: butt secs.
    Atheist convention in Honolulu: secs on the beach.

  • Epistaxis

    Got Secs?

  • L

    When people ask I say something other than Atheist, because many people have not heard the term Humanist or any of the others before and question their meaning. I get to explain what I believe without as many stereotypes and prejudgments attached.

  • roundishbed

    OK, how’s this for the joke dept?

    Single secularists: pre-marital secs.
    Robert Ingersoll impersonators: oral secs.
    Secular proctologists: butt secs.
    Atheist convention in Honolulu: secs on the beach.

    Hahaha! That’s hysterical MrMarkAZ.

    But really, secs? We’d never be taken seriously. I like atheist!

  • Tao Jones

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to be labelled a secsist. And the more militant among us would surely be called anal secs.

    Depending on what I’m trying to accomplish by labelling myself, I’ll either say I’m an atheist or an animist.

    Once I called myself a Scientific Methodist (being a believer in the virtue of the scientific method) which confused people but Scientific Methodologist didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

    Interestingly enough, I was checking out some Sookie Stackhouse novels in the fantasy section of Chapters and I noticed an anthology of Sci-Fi short stories called Savage Humanists. Anyone know what the deal is with that?

  • belongsomewhere

    Less god = more secs.

    Love it.
    I could never call myself a sec, I prefer atheist or secular humanist, but this is good for a laugh. My boyfriend, who is Jewish, says, “When we have sex, that’s not me agreeing to join your secs group. I suppose there’s such a thing as good secs… But I’m not interested.”

  • mikespeir

    I’ll pass on the “secs” thing.

  • I just thought of this:

    secs? Why not cscs? or even coss?

    (think trig)

  • I just don’t understand why this quest to find an alternative name continues. I am an atheist, and I am not interested in pretending otherwise or dressing it up in misleading language.

  • Loren Petrich

    I don’t like that — seems like “sex” to me.

    And I’m reminded of when some people at IIDB (now FRDB) argued over a good abbreviation of “metaphysical naturalist”. They came up with the likes of

  • skinman

    I hate this question and the whole “what do we call ourselves” debate. Trying to assign ourselves a name is pointless as well as a waste of time. I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in any kind of deity. I’m not a sec and I’m sure the hell not a bright. What is this desire to hide behind some soft little word? I just don’t get it.

  • Lost Left Coaster

    I’m a humanist. A secular humanist, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. Usually I just tell people that I’m “non-religious,” but it honestly rarely comes up in conversation. I don’t think we really need new words to identify us. We’re never going to all agree on one term to describe ourselves (witness the hostility from so many atheists to the word humanist), but as long as we all get along and recognize that our interests as secular people are served by solidarity with each other, that is good enough for me.

    I have to admit that I am really baffled by the term Bright, and I do not understand how it came about. At least the word humanist has a long history to stand on. Bright is very strange to me. Sec, well, that word is a little too close to sect, and I guess that may be the intention, but I don’t feel like explaining the difference between sec and sect every time I have this conversation.

  • JimboB

    I don’t think secretaries (commonly abbreviated as secs) would approve.

    Although I’m all for Secs Day!

  • When a person embraces atheism, is that a sec’s change?

  • Jennifer S

    I prefer the term atheists.

    non-theists – not bad, but it seems like an apologetic version of the term atheist

    freethinkers – not bad, but freethought refers to a specific movement and philosophical tradition. I think freethinkers are a subset of atheists

    seculars or ‘secs’ – doesn’t get to the point. A person can be religious and still participate in secular society

    humanists – still doesn’t get to the point. my husband is christian and considers himself a humanist. They’re not mutually exclusive in my opinion

    brights – too pompous

    skeptics – too general. one can be skeptical about a lot of things

    pastafarians – don’t like it. it’s funny, but i think it goes too far to mock and ridicule people who believe in god. this furthers the negative stereotypes about atheists.

  • What about “people”? I know the feeling of inclusion and group membership one gets from adopting a label is comforting, but the problem with labels is they can prematurely define your whole self up front.

    “Hi, I’m an atheist” – you burn bibles, worship Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, think your uncle is a monkey, spit acid at Christians, and devour infants for fun. You also wake up screaming in the middle of the night because as we all know you’re really as afraid of hell as I am. GTFO because I’m afraid some of your satan-ness has rubbed off onto me.

    “Hi, I’m a sec” – you’re 1/3 bottle of Cointreau?

    “I’m Derek. I’m 27, married, like to cook, enjoy music from the 1980s and a good science fiction novel. I write software for a living and sometimes I also code as a hobby.” And if you ask, I might also tell you I don’t believe in any god or gods.

    At the very least it’s good to establish your humanity before bringing up the subject of your nontheism. I just wonder why we have to define ourselves by it.

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