Secular Humanism / Humanists?


I've observed that the self-righteousness that religion too often provides people with enables them to do horrible things in complete peace of mind. It's heart breaking and mind boggling. The worst evidence of this is when people use their beliefs to condemn, punish, and even kill others for not believing what they do. It's amazing that in our modern world this kind of thing is still happening (and I'm referring to *completely* modern countries here).

Interesting thread, especially since I've nearly finished reading ("noted atheist") Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion. He makes many of these points. I've never been unequivocally sure where I stand on the religiosity spectrum, other than knowing intuitively that the core tenets of the Abrahamic religions are, in Dawkins' words, "barking mad." I'm clearly not a militant atheist, but I do agree with Dawkins that agnosticism is simply evading the issue. Probably Spinozan pantheism of the philosiphical (as opposed to the religious) sort fits best. No anthropomorphic or personal God there, and it also seems to meet Darwinism half-way. Nature and the "god-force" ("creative urge," "Will to manifest," etc.) are singular in concept, and work singularly to bring order out of chaos over the course of evolutionary history. This seems to satisfy my personal observations of the phenomenal universe as possessed of an as-yet inscrutable organizing principle, and not utterly random or chaotic.

I have no quarrel with the secular humanist stance on human reason and "non-God-based" ethics and morality, nor with its rejection of faith - and not thorough examination - as the basis for one's personal ideology. (I delight, when confronted with a devout religionist's query "Are you a person of faith?" in saying with enthusiasm "Oh, no, I'm a person of certainty!") But the "philosophical naturalism" argument seems too mechanistic for me. Even Dawkins says that natural selection is not "blind," and has its own immutable logic. It's not unthinkable that life has evolved on a set of coded instructions supplied by a "higher consciousness" of a complexity and subtlety that human science has not yet been able to locate and decipher (and, yes, I'm fully aware of the "infinite regression" conundrum). Faith as an explanation for "the world and all that is in it" may make people happy, but it also makes them "comfortably numb," which is exactly how the perpetuators of modern religious fascism want them. If the US ever degenerates into full-blown theocracy, I'm gone!


.....Actually, I dont mean to be contradictory but that Christian concept of 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' IMO is flawed and leads to some of their problems;.....
A masochist definitely should NOT practice the Golden Rule.


Humans are social primates. Most of our development and specialisation (aside from tool development , usage and culture) relate to that. We specialise in dealing with 'each other' in a variety of ways. When dealing with a person, entity, personality, etc. we find that, in ways easier. So a dynamic is to project a 'something' into a form of personality and being.

Thats why we have everything from grandfather looking gods to possessing entities (and the best way to deal with a such averse 'psychological syndromes' is to treat them as an entity with a personality as well ! )

Thats why I have no problem with god forms, animism and other practices I utilize; they are a metaphorical analogy and component of belief system ... which are not a reality or a truth but help define reality and truth in the way we usually perceive it. But most people confuse belief, religious / spiritual analogy with 'truth' and 'reality'.

Do I believe in 'life after death'? Yes.

Is there life after death? I dont know.

Most people have trouble with that distinction.

As far as free will goes I had some friends that had a junkie friend. They were always helping him, pulling him up out of the gutter, helping him dry out, get re-established then he would do it again ... and again ... and again ... until one day he told them to **** off and leave him alone "Dont you realise I WANT to be junkie?" he asked them ... since then they let him be. When he is 'together' they associate, when he is in bad phase they dont. Perhaps we should leave that sort of help (when people clearly dont want it) alone. I will instinctively help someone out of the gutter ... but if they want to lie there and insist on it ... well, I'll just shove them over a bit so they dont impede the flow of traffic or water down to the drain.

<remembers> I saw this really drunk guy trying to get up once so I helped him and then helped him on his way a bit until he seemed okay ... he said thanks, I'm okay now.

Great ... thats my 'good deed for the day' :) then he took 5 more steps, careered forward and cracked his head on the footpath - claret! I wont try that again !