Thank you for sharing the principles of Humanism. One could study and discuss each one. I shall keep it on file. I like the one about being open to new ideas. ("We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking")
Have a great day!
Every day one is aware, is a Great Day!
There are some who might disagree!
If one disagrees one does not realize what the enormous odds are to be aware of the universe. After you lose conscience the brain is still active, some times the activity is so low that it is undetectable but then restores itself. But when the brain is dead it is dead. You can believe what you want and you can disagree with facts but that doesn't change the facts. Talk to a patient with advanced altzheimers and find out how much of their personality and awareness is still there. That's a fact you can measure! Anything else is wishful thinking.
I cannot disagree with you. Were you always a Humanist?
No, I was brought up Dutch Reformed based on Swiss theologian Calvin. I questioned many of the inconsistencies and started to do a lot of reading. The war didn't make any sense to me after all the Germans were also protestant (lutheran) and prayed to the same "God" for victory! When Billy Graham came to Amsterdam he really turned me off, because he was becoming a millionaire using the gullibility of the believing public. Buy yourself into heaven.
By the way, I hate labels because they always "paint" a certain picture in the minds of people of who you are, usually a negative one, as far as "atheists" or “Humanists” are concerned. I prefer the term "non-believer" (in the supernatural). That does not limit itself to religion but to astrology, homeopathy , near-death experiences claiming to have seen Heaven, Ghosts, speaking with the dead thru a medium and all the other unproven ( and not provable) nonsense mainly practiced to separate the gullible from their money.
For your information , if you didn't know already, Humanism was listed among the world religions. So much for Humanistic principles as non- religions morals.
In the first place anything "supernatural" was considered "Holy" nothing is "made holy" except that people considered it Holy. Yes I must explain a lot more, there are "humanist” who are considered religious by Religious scholars who declare it is, but that is the trouble with labels, remember I want to be called a "non-believer" because of that. You should call it "secular humanism" if it helps. I can get you some articles which explains the problem much better than I can do here.
Communism has been called a "religion" too! Religion should be defined as a way of living with the belief that there are supernatural "Gods''. A set of principals outlining rules of how we can live together and have morals without a "god" can not be called a religion although religious scholars want it to be called that way.
Religion by definition includes "god". Secular Humanism without a "god" can therefor NOT be classified as a religion even if some people like to do that.
There is nothing in our sharing of information that affirms or denies what has been my way of looking at my life inrelation to the seen and unseen. With all the "hang ups" about the word God, I can see the value of not using it.
The only hang-up about the word “god” is that people regard it different than what is should be. It means boss, king, emperor, leader etc. If you substitute the word "god" by "emperor" in the bible you can instantly recognize why the god in the old testament is almighty , always right, must be obeyed without question, is cruel to his enemies (leader of the enemy is named the devil) etc.
I perceive the word ``God`` to mean the unknown, the all in all, the alpha and the omega. The notion transcends time and space and human understanding. I can live with that.
Just another word for "boss"
The word "boss" does not include free choice, which we all have......or do we?
Free choice "??? in what context? "Boss, emperor, dictator etc. only means somebody in charge. Historic kings ,emperors, etc. were considered to be infallible, must be obeyed without question, provided protection from the enemy (The Devil) and were almighty and vengeful. Look at the "god" of the old testament who fulfills that definition exactly. So if you are a subject of the emperor you don't have free choice. "You are for me or against me"
An emperor might have wished to be worshiped as a god, and a dictator might have felt he was a god because their words were law - but heir power proved temporal. we are not talking about the temporal, but the spiritual. There was and is a choice. To live under the law of a human, or to die for what one values more. It happened in the Old and New Testaments and is still happening to-day with religious and non-religious people. Why? Perhaps they have seen the light.
An emperor WAS worshipped as a god. We have to live under the laws of humans because the "laws " in the bible (and many other writings in history, just as valuable, but ignored by Christianity) where also written by humans. The meaning of "spiritual" original meaning the "breath" has undergone a massive change in meaning and become a mystical concept. We are talking about religion but for some people astrology is just as valid. Children can believe in Santa Claus too. There are many other belief systems in the world, very different from each other but all based on superstition with no proof. Why does Christianity think that they are the only "correct" belief? Every other belief system thinks that they are the only correct one. All I am trying to point out is how religion originated and the the old scriptures (not only the bible) clear show that, because of limited knowledge, the diverse religions came about because of the human desire to explain the world around them and that smart people used their "teachings" to create power over their followers and it worked. That is still happening! In our "democracy" especially the USA, Muslim and Catholic countries the Clergy have more power than the elected representatives of their governments. So why give it up, even if there is no shred of evidence that god or any other deity exists.
There is a choice. to live under ancient laws, written by humans, and which have not adapted to modern times or to write laws which fit the current circumstances. If the ancient laws where written by god, why isn't he writing them now? Any human can insist that whatever he writes is inspired by god (the Pope is one example). There aren't any ancient books written by females. I guess god didn't think they were smart enough.
Science is expanding our understanding of creation and our place in it. For those who open their minds...and hearts, the writings in the Bible can take onew meanings, as it relates to the here and now.The "breath of life" connects us to all that breath, the spirit connects us to all that is....heaven and earth, human and divine, above and below, seen and unseen. They are different, but the same. The Jesus message comes closest to teaching a connection with life, death and the universe that I believe in. I can relate to it, because it gives my life meaning and purpose. I do not need scientific proof, because I feel it. It is a never ending story. It takes courage to believe this. All religions, secular humanism included, would have me believe their way is the right way. Oh, were it that easy.
Secular Humanism is not a religion! and I don't "believe" in it. That's the trouble with labels. Many religious people seem to want to proof that it is just a "belief" so they can dismiss it as just another religion. I am a non-believer! I do not believe in the non-existing supernatural . Whether it is religion, astrology, mind reading, ghosts or extra-sensory perception.
Much serious research, duplicated and repeated experiments, including scientists who want to "believe", have found there is no ESP. There are some who have found so called support for ESP but when their "results" were checked they could not be duplicated. There is big sum of money ($1,000,000.00 by magician James Randy) pledged to anyone who can scientifically proof that extra sensory perception is real, rather than imagined (or faked) and who's experiments can be duplicated but none of this money has been collected although many have tried. Large, repeated, experiments have been held about the effectiveness of prayer, is one example, in double blind test, and no effect was found. Hallucinations and dream research have shown to be chemical electrical disturbances in the brain which can be induced and duplicated.
Why is the bible the only historical book with the truth! It is a very contradictory assembly of "wisdom" written by many different people. Jesus message is only hearsay from his followers, at least Mohamed wrote the Koran himself. There were many "prophets" at the time and the books of the New testament where chosen by the early christians from many others that they ignored because they did not "fit" in their way of thinking. There is a lot of reading out there which is as valuable, historically speaking, that is different from the bible, although there is a lot of contradictory info, as you well know, in the bible itself. Of course the writings in the bible can take on "new meanings". Churches do that all the time to try to make it "fit" modern times. If there was a god, why isn't he/she writing a new one? and what about the lost souls (spirits) before christianity or before any of the current religions existed or before writing existed? Of course, the ancient "story tellers" would also claim that their god spoke through them (often under the influence of narcotics as we found in some pre-literate tribes).
PS: I find it telling about the influence of christianiy in this part of the world that my spelling checker indicates a spelling mistake if I don't spell it with a capital "C'. Weird, it doesn't do that when I type god.
I was looking at the symbols of the following World Religions - Baha'i, Christianity, Humanism, Jainism, Native Spirituality, Shinto, Taoism, Wiccan, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Paganism, Sikkism, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrianism. At the end, Huston Smith, wrote: "If we take the world's enduring religions at their best, we discover the distilled wisdom of the human race."
I don't think that even a scientist would throw the baby out with the bath water.
If we take the world's enduring religions at their best, we discover that humans strive to have an explanation for everything, even if there is not a thread of evidence for their theories. Of course their are some "good" guesses. e.i. if you marry a virgin you do not get a venereal disease or food laws preventing food poisoning. Good guesses. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, not so good. Beating your wife and kids with a stick, as long as it was not thicker than a thumb, judge that one your self.
Distilling means evaporation most of a mixture to have a little worthwhile substance left. Yes throw the bath water out, and make the baby healthy by feeding it the proper food, we are discovering more and more proper food.
I have nurtured a spiritual baby that was borne from an inner human need, just as you described. I call it spiritual because, like that first breath, it comes from outside myself. I have taken from my church/religion that which nurtures my baby and myself. It takes discernment; perhaps this comes from personal experiences and a desire to find life, even in death.
If all humans need answers for everything, thank goodness that there are so many ways of finding out the truth of the matter.
I don't consider your way "wackie"; as an educated
person I assume you do not consider mine so. With advanced technology scientists are learning of things once thought beyond the laws of nature as we know it, ie. supernatural. Some humans don't need to wait for the proof.
You mean some humans do not want to wait for "proof" so they make one up.
A witty response, Ben. We all see what we want to.. and what we want to see suits our own needs and perception of the world. There are those who trust only what they can see...or hear...or read...or envision. There are those who seem to use an inner radar which they cannot explain or understand...and sometimes don't even want. Weird? Certainly unscientific. Who knows?
Not weird, but a product of our brain. There is much research now about what chemicals and hormones do to our mind and how we experience it. Experience with LSD for example gives you a profound religious experience. Many hormones also affect your feelings. Some induce panic, some make you feel happy other make you hallucinate. We know now what causes "inner radar". Some of those "intuitive" feelings make us happy, some sad, some panicky etc. These feelings can now be explained and even artificially induced. So it is not a matter of "seeing what we want to see", more likely "not seeing what we don't want to see" because it makes us uncomfortable.
We cannot ignore the scientific (what can be seen) and to me it is always awesome to hear scientific explanation of what was considered the supernatural. It does not take away from the core of my belief; I feel the religion of my choice guides me on my spiritual journey. I don't have to follow the road map given, that is my choice.
As an atheist, do you feel you are on a spiritual journey, if so, what replaces the word God as a benchmark for non-religious morals.
Let me correct you first. As a NON-BELIEVER (not believing in the supernatural, no labels please, as they are loaded with misunderstandings by believers) I don' need "god" as a "benchmark" (a benchmark created by the ancients because of a lack of understanding of the natural world) to be able to form "morals" which were created by humans to be able to live together peacefully and happily. The ancient "morals " haven't proven to be very suitable, have they? Laws (morals) are rules that make it possible for humanity to live together and although not perfect, they do improve over time. "Spirituality" originally meaning "breathable" is just a word that has accumulated dubious meanings to explain supernatural theories and is therefor quite meaningless to non-believers such as I. The trouble with the old "morals", when they were finally written down, is that they do not change and adapt in the light of new knowledge. They did when "morals" (rules of behaviour) where passed on by word of mouth, songs and dances, by the story tellers, who adapted them to their "present". This evolvement was interrupted by the invention of writing. Now the rules became written in stone and are much harder to change. They do change, but much more slowly and these neessary changes are obstructed by the fundamentalist believers especially. I am on a journey (not a spiritual one since that word does not make sense) to make people see that the "morals" of the past must be changed to more rational and workable rules to improve the interaction of people so we arrive at a better, more peaceful and happier situation than we have at the moment. The old "morals" have proved, over
and over that, although sometimes sounding great. they do not work so it is time to change and religions are the biggest obstacle to change.
By the way I wonder why you use the expression "religion of my choice". If religion was indeed directed by a "god" why is there a choice? Why are there so many different choices? Why is god's word open to so many interpretations? why are there so many gods? Any answer to these questions, given by religious leaders are from la-la land.
You have answered my question by your underlined remarks very clearly; we seem to share the same destination, albeit coming from different directions. It is interesting you used the words "lala land". My mother always said I was in lala land.
I am sorry you ended a great explanation with putting down those who do not believe as you do. Or, perhaps you said it in jest. I am still developing a sense of humour.
I saw a National Geographic program, showing the different projects over the years. In the one showing different cultures over the world including ours, it was noted that each has a ritual or custom which seems to connect them to a "life force" which gives them peace and joy. I am comfortable with those words.
My Mom used to say, "There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves the best of us to talk about the rest of us."
We all have one thing in common, we breathe to sustain our lives. That should be a motivation to work to-gether..God or no God.
Yes, I used La la-land in jest and I debated whether I should leave it in or not, since it could be interpreted the way you suggested. The better way to say it is that the answers to those questions by religious leaders make no sense if critically examined.
I think I would have liked your Mother!
The life force that connect us is indeed the air we breathe! (from latin "spiritus")
I am reading a book called, The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel - an intellectual approach which you might find interesting. I see things differently in some cases. Which leads me to believe that our reality is very personal. And cannot be denied.
In one of my previous blog I wrote about a woman who believes she has met God and the Devil. This experience was very real to her.
I can relate to what this woman said. It appears that your reality is very different from hers. I see there is validity in both.There is a duality inherent in human nature and I have read that behaviour reflects personality.
Having an open mind to the diversity and uniqueness of the human race, helps us to further its journey towards peace.
You have concentrated on the `bad``in religion; can you give me some examples of the good....or perhaps you are one of those with a closed mind. I am no longer talking about proof of a higher power or divine intervention, but of the acceptance of one another`s beliefs.
As I mentioned I think we have a different understanding of the meaning of "reality". Something is real if we can consistently prove it to be true and existing, not assumed. Her "reality" is that her personal dreams and hallucinations are "real" so the "validity" of is not existing. Unless you "believe" hallucination and dreams are supernatural happenings. I am agreeing that there is a diversity and uniqueness of the human race but that has nothing to do with accepting different "realities". Different theories,different opinions but not realities. I do respect your opinion and we do have similar ideas. As far as "open and closed minds" we also seem to have a different
nterpretation. If we scientifically have found out how the brain works and causes dreams and hallucinations (or "drug" induced experiences) and therefor know that they are not real, although it seems to be real to the person(s) involved, then it is not having a closed mind if one rejects that interpretation. Do you honestly think that she met the devil in person and was rescued by god? Where is the validity in that?
Sure religion has the value of making living together in a community together and gives many persons the security and the feeling of belonging and make people think of the more disadvantaged. But we can do the same without the leaders of religion who wish to have the power to dictate their point of view (and enforce it ). If the religious morals where correct why do we have so many religions AND different churches in the same religion. Because each "leader" wants to build his/her own power base. You talk about acceptance of one another's belief. I can accept religious morals when they are universal, like "they shall not kill" but many are not applicable to the current world problems and hinder the peaceful existence we long for. I do not have an open mind for suicide bombers, who believe that it is moral and .the way to go to heaven or christian protestants killing catholic each other in Ireland. I wish there was a higher power or divine intervention but obviously there is not.
PS: I do read many books on both sides of the argument. Of course behaviour reflect personality and vice versa. The Case for Christ is a philosophical argument which is valid for many historic philosophers. The "Case for Buddha" or "Ghandy" etc. should be considred as well Why pick out christ only? Of course the words of christ were not written by christ but by others after his death, who's words are they?
PS2: the words of the famous bible prayer "our father who art in heaven" reflect the "morals" of that time. Thou shall not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his ox etc . indicating that wifes are possessions equal to a man's animals. Perhaps we should update that prayer!
I agree with what you say about religion and some of the horrific deeds prompted by religious leaders. And I agree one does not have to belong to a church or be religious to do good in the world.
All these musings... what we consider factual or delusional are but words. Some take things literally, some search for deeper meanings. The "Devil" stands for the beast in all of us; the word "God" represents the highest good in all of us. Both are but words. Both are manifested in many ways. Your lady friend experienced both. Science has proven that what was once thought supernatural - beyond the laws of nature –is now possible. Yes, I believe in the supernatural.
Your last statement cannot be not true. When we prove that there is a natural explanation for "what was thought to be supernatural" it just proofs that that "supernatural" was NOT supernatural, It does NOT proof that supernatural exists for the things we haven't found out yet. Now we know what thunder and lighting is caused by and it is not a God throwing a hammer about in the heavens. There is a lot to be found out yet in the NATURAL world but there is not a thread of evidence for the SUPERNATURAL. The devil in the old testament stands for "enemy" (see the biblical reference elsewhere on my website). Even Ronald Regan refers to the Evil Empire when talking about Russia. There is good and bad in all of us. We must take personal responsibility for that and not blame it to external forces. Blaming your bad behaviour on the devil (the devil made me do it) and credit god for the good things you did. Do you need the "god" in you to do good or can you make that decision yourself? I like the slogan "Good without god" which many non-believers use. "Factual" means FACTS (gravity make you fall down), Delusions (going up o heaven etc.) are fantasies. They are not "just words".
You say tomato, I say tomawto -it is all the same fruit.
You can love to eat them or be allergic to them.
Yes, there is proof that the supernatural exists and it
proves that it wasn't super-natural in the first place.
My last statement is true forme. In The Super Brain written by Deepak Chopra, M.D. and Philosopher and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, presents the brain in a revolutionary new way. You might find it interesting. Some things are possible, some things are probable, some things are proveable. It is all in how you look at it.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and bring peace, health and happiness to everyone in the world. But that would be too divine.
I can also imaging a fruit that is even more delicious than anything on earth, even taste it in my imagination or dreams, but that doesn't mean it exists somewhere.
Your second statement is contradictory in that when proof exists that it wasn't "supernatural in the first place" it negates the supernatural.
I do update myself regularly on the latest research in many subject areas and at the moment I am reading a blog about a fascinating discussion about superstrings and multi-universes between two scientist. The one "believes" that they do exist because it fits into his theories but the other points out that, since there is no way (yet) to test this theory it is not reality. If you speculate without it being testable then anything goes, you can make anything up, says his critic. I agree whole heartedly! There are many scientist speculating, including religious ones, and theorizing based on the research they are involved with, but until it is testable by others it is just speculation no matter how hard this scientist wants it to be true. There have been many dead ends in science. Philosophers are notoriously well known to speculate without proof.Somethings are possible, probable or provable, but is not "all in how you look at it". If a thing is possible then it is, unless you proof it to be true andthen it has been provable. That it is reality no matter how you look at it. I too wish that I could wave a magic wand and bring peace and happiness in the world, but I can't. It is also not "divine" since divinity is a dreamed up concept which existence is in extreme doubt, since if there was a divine god I expect him/her to wave that magic wand and bring peace and happiness, but no matter how hard I look I can find any trace of that. That's reality.
You continue to negate the ideas and feelings that I have that are different from yours. I hardly think this is away to bring peace and harmony to a troubled world.
I am sorry if I give you that impression, that is not my purpose. and I sincerely apologize .Your feelings and ideas are worthwhile. My point is that you should be proud of your feelings and take credit for it. They are yours and not from some divine spiritual identity. You are responsible for all the good in you. If there is "bad" in you , you are responsible for that too and not the devil. Since you are a great person and not a bad one you have won that battle all by yourself. Be proud of that. I have also learned a lot from this discussion. Thanks for making me think. We can be "good without god"
You are good without god.