About Humanism…

2018-03-05_15-41-02.pngOver at my blog RedLetterLiving.net I spent five years exploring various forms of religion concentrating on Christianity in all its shapes.  I came away from that study convinced that the vast majority of Christian religions, of which there are thousands, spend very little time on the words of Jesus and it seems that many are now spending more time in the political realm than anything else.

One glaring omission from that study was of Humanism.  As a then member of an Evangelical church, I was basically told that Humanists were the scourge of the earth.  They were all God-hating atheists who despised those who are too weak to believe what they do. There just seemed to be a lot a fear about humanists in the Evangelical community. Unfortunately, I never got around to studying for myself just what being a humanist was really about. I am now in the process of correcting that error. Starting with this post I will present a series about what I am discovering.

What got my attention on this topic was a recent Internet news item that quoted the story below:

Just hours after the Texas shooting, Roy Speckhardt, executive director of AHA, [American Humanist’s Association] was speaking to several hundred Air Force recruits a few miles away from Sutherland Springs.

“I spoke about how, even as we critique fundamentalism, we must always respect each other as human beings, even when we don’t agree on religious and political ideals and convictions.” …

These words seem to relay that although many in the Christian community generally despise them most humanists will not answer “tit for tat”. That kind of caught me by surprise.

I have a number of initial questions about humanists that I will attempt to find the answers.

Are they all atheists?

Do they hate God?

Do they hate others who believe differently than them?

Do they believe they have the only true answer?

Are they just intellectuals who look down on others they see as less knowledgeable than them?

Do they even have empathy?

How many are there and what is their history?

I want to close out this first post with what the American Humanist Association says they are about.

Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity.
– American Humanist Association

That doesn’t sound very evil to me.  The definition of lifestance is: 

A person’s lifestance, is their relation with what they accept as being of ultimate importance.

We all seek at one level or another what is the ultimate importance. It gives us a fundamental path forward in life. Many choose to believe in a supreme being that controls everything, and many don’t. I guess that is what this study will likely be about.

I am trying to approach this series with an open mind and if you do the same, I think both of us might just learn a little more about the people who are called humanists.

 

5 thoughts on “About Humanism…

  • As always a stimulating post. I remember, somewhere near a million years ago, when I was at university, a man I knew was studying “Comparative Religion ” and I was astonished there should be such a subject, and wondered what it could entail, but now I think of him as very forward thinking and am of the belief that no religion, culture or nationality has an insight into the profound which negates another point of view, but that they are often trying to express the same thing but in different languages. In particular I developed a greater respect for religions not based on the middle east and for humanists as well, who I thought of as being well-intentioned people whose morality was not based on a particular faith or religion. Of course, I am more than capable of being wrong!

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    • Yeah, Peter, I think we are all more than capable of being wrong. (ha) Studying religions and all the theologians who put their spin on this and that is very enlightening to what to believe. I have come to believe that I need some evidence before I can be attuned. But, as you say that is just me and I don’t lessen others who do it on pure faith…

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  • Are they all atheists? No, some are agnostics or spiritual but following no dogma or
    specific religion

    Do they hate God? No, they just don’t all believe in a supernatural god and /or they see
    harm in many of the beliefs people attribute to god

    Do they hate others who believe differently than them? No, but they do believe they aren’t
    getting the full picture

    Do they believe they have the only true answer? No, but they do believe no one else does
    either

    Are they just intellectuals who look down on others they see as less knowledgeable than them? In some cases, yes

    Do they even have empathy? Yes, and probably more since they do not judge

    How many are there and what is their history? This I don’t know other than its growing as
    people are beginning to see the hypocrisy in many Christian religions and the
    politicizing of it.

    I have wondered why Christians would hate humanists or any non believer. Hate is a strong word and it makes me think they must fear something in order to hate and not just have a live and let live attitude. And they must fear that not everything they believe is true.

    I’m a big believer if people would take classes in the actual history and archeology of Christianity, instead of bible classes to just read what’s already in print, they would be enlightened and not so judgmental and not so sure they were the only ones who had it “right.”

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    • Mary, thanks for your answers to my questions I pretty much in an uninformed way agree with them. I wonder if I will still do that after this study is over?

      I am a big believer in “Coexist”, that is you believe what you want and I will do the same. No harm, no foul as long as we agree to disagree.

      Studying Christianity to the depth I did was very enlightening. It showed me that men were very deep in shaping and re-shaping that religion. It has become something VERY different than what it started out to be as accounted in the book of Acts. Then there are the current day Evangelicals who are trying to morph it into a purely political organization.

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  • This is a long video and I watched it in segments, but I’m impressed with Bart Erhman. He is the professor of religious history at Duke University in North Carolina and has other Utube videos and has written many books.
    He was a person of religion, but is now an agnostic and basically is not out to deconvert people, but feels they should know the real history of what they want to believe in.

    I think you might find him and some of his books interesting.

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