It seems that many people accuse folks who espouse rational secularism as being as dogmatic as religionists. While it is true that I put my "faith" in reason, it is a completely different animal.
Religion derives its authority from revelation: usually an interpretation of ancient scripture or teachings. While most will argue that there are some lessons to be learned from these sources, most religionists assume that the text is somehow "inspired" and that we can not only learn from them, but that we should organize our life around them as the foundation of such things as morality, ethics and "right vs wrong".
The rationalist takes a different approach to life; in a phrase: "where's the data". I want to know why a course of action is right/wrong (beneficial/harmful)... I am skeptical: I at least need a credible line of reasoning.
As a rationalist, if new evidence comes to light... if a new argument is presented, well -- a previously held opinion should change.
One of the common arguments I encounter is the idea that rationalism isn't any better than religion: especially when you are talking about it's implications to society and politics. The old arguments about Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot immediately come up. I think I'll just quote Sam Harris here since he is far more eloquent than I:
That is what I advocate: reasoned, skeptical thinking -- on any subject. In a word, science. If being "dogmatic" about that makes me equivalent to the religionist, well -- pass the wine and gimme an Amen.
People of faith regularly claim that atheism is responsible for some of the most appalling crimes of the 20th century. Although it is true that the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying degrees, they were not especially rational. In fact, their public pronouncements were little more than litanies of delusion--delusions about race, economics, national identity, the march of history or the moral dangers of intellectualism. ...
Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields are not examples of what happens when people become too critical of unjustified beliefs; to the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of not thinking critically enough about specific secular ideologies. Needless to say, a rational argument against religious faith is not an argument for the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma. The problem that the atheist exposes is none other than the problem of dogma itself--of which every religion has more than its fair share. There is no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.