New Reed Secular Alliance Signator, Elad Gilo, is passionate about the freethought movement. Below is a complete biography of the Reed sophomore.
Name: Elad Gilo
Interests: I love to travel. Whenever I get the opportunity to travel the world and experience new cultures, geographies and people, I will take it. I enjoying backpacking and outdoor sports. Snowboarding is my sport of choice, as I used to partake in it competitively on a national level. Above all I like to hang out with friends and talk about whatever pops into our heads.
Major: Economics and Philosophy Interdisciplinary Major
Year: Sophomore, class of 2012
Passions: The topics I tend to be most passionate about usually surround religion (e.g. atheism, secularism, and the rise of evangelical Christianity). The other topic that I feel particularly connected to and passionate about is the Iraeli-Palestinian conflict. I am strongly committed to the establishment of a two-state solution and the pro-Israel, pro-Peace movement.
Secularism: Secularism has become an increasingly important topic for me. Since I began my journey from skeptical young boy to an atheist adult, I have taken it upon myself to engage any and all on the topic of religion and the existence of “god”. While I hope to have treated everyone with respect, I became very tired of a society that found it so difficult to a) address the issue of piety and religion, for fear it would offend someone’s personal beliefs, and b) that people would not use the consistent reasoning in their own daily life or regarding the existence of a deity.
As my own path has taken me to atheism (the negation of a world view, not a world view in itself), I understood very well that my goal could not be the abolition of religion (unrealistic/utopian) but rather the assurance of a secular society in which one’s individual rights and self be protected from the influence of religion. To this degree I find the issue of secularism something that can unite atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, and even the religious.
With nearly 1 of 5 individuals not subscribing to a theological belief in the US, there is significant work that has to be done, in order to unify this voice and as a whole ensure the civil liberties of all (particularly in the face of rising evangelical political influence). This task is not an easy one. Trying to organize a population of non-theological individuals around a cause appears rather paradoxical to many. The same people who reject the organization of a belief also organizing themselves? To this I respond by saying a) the alternative is much worse, and b) so long as secularists remain non-dogmatic in their worldview, then the worry becomes unfounded.
As the Reed Secular Alliance signator, I hope to continue fostering debate and dialogue regarding secular issues on the Reed Campus. It would be my goal to continue educating the students at Reed about local and national issues regarding unconstitutional religious influence in civil society, and furthermore, mobilizing students for different secular campaigns. If nothing else, the RSA will provide a space for like-minded individuals to meet and discuss along with showing support for secularism on a state and national level.