Humanism?

17Aug10

Working slowly through my thoughts and feeling regarding humanity, religion, philosophy and reality; I’ve come to a juncture where I can almost identify with a particular school of thought without reservation. I’ve always felt that being an atheist was too bland, too…run of the mill. There is a certain stigma attached these days and the label seems to attract all manner of disaffected people who really haven’t given much thought to the matter before joining the local atheist meet-up group. The other issue that sticks in my craw is the matter of being labelled as an atheist as if I have now joined an organised club or ‘movement’, and more than once I’ve heard that old argument, “isn’t atheism just another religion?”.

Instead I’ve been thinking through the idea of humanism. In the paraphrasing of Sir Terry Pratchett, I like humanism because it’s good to leave room for doubt. What this means is that, the rest of humanism aside, I don’t want to put myself in the rabid atheism basket and claim there is no supernatural being whatsoever and there never was. I doubt there is and I see no reason, evidence or good sense that suggests I’m wrong – however I’m open to new evidence and the possibility of something being proven in the future. If it turns out there IS an all-powerful (or whatever) supernatural being that we could label God, then he will still have a lot of explaining to do should he come over to borrow a cup of sugar.

What I will be telling people who ask indignantly what I stand for, or claim I believe in nothing and therefore I no longer count toward society, is that I believe in humanity. The advancement of humanity to achieve it’s potential, realise it’s goals, evolve to the next stage in as much peace as we can and work together without division. I believe in us, Homo Sapiens, as the greatest and most powerful force that inhabits this local area of the universe. I believe in people working together to build a great and lasting society, people helping other people rather than finding ways to fight against each other. Taking our intellect as far as it can go, discovering all the ways we can better and extend our lives and the lives of all other humans – from the house next door to a country on the other side of the world.

This, for me, doesn’t include an anti-god component or even a fervent anti-religion component when you think of the quiet and private religion of ordinary people who practice at home and don’t force their ideas on others. No, what I oppose is the establishment that runs religion. Religion with a capital R. That which controls and governs peoples lives, how they think and feel, how our society should be run, what we are allowed and not allowed to enjoy. I could go on for several sentences, but the heart of the matter is that I abhor religion in most of it’s organised forms because of what they stand for and what they do to otherwise normal peoples lives and potential. I see this as the greatest limiting factor in the equation of humanities development and therefore I oppose it, defy it, detest it, and see it as the greatest evil man has ever visited upon his fellow man.

That probably doesn’t take me to the end of my search for fulfillment, but so far I’ve thought through several philosophies, read many ideas, looked at all major religions, thought like a rabid atheist, been a semi-conservative and hardline capitalist, read a lot of hard science, learned the scientific method, come upon the meaning of life, partially sorted out what I believe in and come to a crossroads. I don’t have another avenue to explore just yet, but I am content that all the time spend so far has been fruitful.

A little more about the history of humanism – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

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6 Responses to “Humanism?”

  1. Godless is Godless; no matter what apologetics you apply to it. It’s your soul though so I don’t really care until you start trying to push your amoral secular crap onto an essentially moral culture.

    I will never try to convert your kind, only remove them from the public sphere as needed and only as needed.

    • Appreciate the opinion, though I’m not sure why you label me as amoral simply because I don’t believe in the philosophy you believe in – though that has been the norm since man first developed language and began debating.

      • No God, no morality; it’s that simple. That doesn’t, however mean that I believe that ethics are beyond the capacity of the Godless. I wrote about that earlier here.

        One thing in polite disagreement though – I have found little evidence to-date that calling the Godless “amoral” has “been the norm since man first developed language and began debating.” The “norm” seems to me to have been calling your sort “immoral,” which seems far from universally accurate to me, possibly even impossible.

      • Oh I see. You say I’m immoral or amoral because I don’t believe what you believe. Hard to argue with that because you’ve created a self fulfilling argument, or one that you hold as self-evident without really presenting anything AS evidence.

        I see what you’re getting at with the amoral/immoral thing, but again I think we’d never come to an agreement. I believe that morals are innate to a civilised society and don’t spring from religion, indeed religion takes already established laws and enshrines them within a deistic system of beliefs – by doing so entangling them until it appears that morals and god are one and the same thing. The end-product is your belief that only the godly are moral. That’s what the entire system was built to make you believe – the god-fearing are good (so long as it’s YOUR god) and anyone else is either innately evil or without a moral compass at all (amoral) and therefore free to do as they wish on a whim.

    • One point in contention, since the rest is a waste of argument: I don’t, nor do many others – the non-monotheists – care that much about MY Gods vs. YOUR Gods. As long as the person understands that the source of morality must come from outside of Man, we’re fairly OK with the people in question – except when they behave such as you think we all do.

      • Really? History, ancient or modern, doesn’t support your argument. It’s a nice fantasy, like the rest of religious belief, but ultimately only there to mitigate primal fears like the fears of death, loneliness and loss of control.

        Thanks for the comments and for being so condescending through the whole process.


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