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Why would a Christian want to change the world?
Posted: 21 August 2012 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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The secular conduct is not recognized because the method of encouragement is through the secular institutions which incidentally hides their personal efforts. Religions use direct band-aid solutions with person-to-person involvement and so it looks like they do more. I actually find it crass for them to do things like advertise for aid to those in need by exploiting their depravity. Always doing things like showing children, fly ridden, starving, and always parentless is sickening. They sell them like commodities with individual pictures that you can have of your choice of child to foster. Their purpose is not to completely solve the world’s problems but rather to soft-sell their ideologies to the desperate and uninhibited minds.

A secular method is usually to tackle the problems at their sources…the politics and economics of a region.

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Posted: 21 August 2012 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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TimB - 21 August 2012 04:45 AM

Secularists are not organized and are generally apathetic about addressing ethical problems in society.  No one particularly expects them to do much for others.

If that’s true, then theists have a cogent claim against our values and the viability of secularism. We can choose to make it otherwise.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 21 August 2012 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Based on my 40 years among Christians, I’ll tell you what I think. Basically, the more literal they read the Bible, the less they are motivated to work for positive social change. The more liberal brands of Christianity are very much about the “social gospel” but they also reject most of the fundamentalist ideas of the end times, a literal hell, and the idea that god will somehow work everything out. They see themselves as the “hands and feet” of god in this world. The fundies, on the other hand, believe that the end is near and god will sort it all out. Hence most of them are only interested in change to the extent that it brings more people into the fold.

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Posted: 21 August 2012 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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FreeInKy - 21 August 2012 10:37 AM

Based on my 40 years among Christians, I’ll tell you what I think. Basically, the more literal they read the Bible, the less they are motivated to work for positive social change. The more liberal brands of Christianity are very much about the “social gospel” but they also reject most of the fundamentalist ideas of the end times, a literal hell, and the idea that god will somehow work everything out. They see themselves as the “hands and feet” of god in this world. The fundies, on the other hand, believe that the end is near and god will sort it all out. Hence most of them are only interested in change to the extent that it brings more people into the fold.

But on the other hand, I’ve met Christian fundamentalists who were devoted to community service. Nearly thirty years ago I was crazy-in-love with an evangelical, Bible-believing Christian, and she with me. There was no way we were going to be able to raise kids together so I called it quits. But I’ll never forget all the things she taught me about life and about myself. The theology got in our way but that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t lived a good life.

Human beings are complicated. Surely we understand that. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so adamant that merely rejecting theism is nowhere near close enough to what we need to do if we want Humanism to be a force in the world. And on what basis can we not strive for that? In my view, it makes no sense to affiliate with a group like CFI, which is committed to a planetary ethic, and not do all we can to effect change.

And if we don’t do all we can to bring secular, life-affirming values to life, then who are we to complain that the public sees what others are doing, and we’re not, and takes note of the fact?

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 21 August 2012 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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PLaClair - 21 August 2012 07:28 AM
TimB - 21 August 2012 04:45 AM

Secularists are not organized and are generally apathetic about addressing ethical problems in society.  No one particularly expects them to do much for others.

If that’s true, then theists have a cogent claim against our values and the viability of secularism. We can choose to make it otherwise.

Perhaps, the secularists who are not completely apathetic can choose to make it otherwise.  But how?  I hope, but I am not holding my breath.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 02:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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TimB - 21 August 2012 11:33 PM
PLaClair - 21 August 2012 07:28 AM
TimB - 21 August 2012 04:45 AM

Secularists are not organized and are generally apathetic about addressing ethical problems in society.  No one particularly expects them to do much for others.

If that’s true, then theists have a cogent claim against our values and the viability of secularism. We can choose to make it otherwise.

Perhaps, the secularists who are not completely apathetic can choose to make it otherwise.  But how?  I hope, but I am not holding my breath.

I’m not holding my breath either but I maintain that we can do it if we so choose. We need to get rid of our baggage and stop reacting against religion, community and authority. We need to identify sound human values and systemize value-based thinking. It should be a teachable subject in schools. To make our system credible, we have to live it. Once we demonstrate that we can teach it to our kids, and practice it ourselves, the world will begin to notice the differences, which should become apparent. Right now, our own kids aren’t even self-identifying as Humanists or secularists in noticeable numbers. That’s a sure sign that we’re screwing up. Along with my wife Debra, I raised two kids, both of whom self-identify as Humanists and secularists. One is a youth leader at the Baltimore Ethical Culture Society. The other is Matthew LaClair, whose name is well-known in our circles. So I have some credibility, I think, in saying this can be done. I have a website, still in progress, that lays out a systematic Humanist ethics. Check it out at http://www.thisisourstory.net. I hope the sponsors won’t mind the plug. It’s part of my answer to the question.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 03:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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PLaClair - 22 August 2012 02:53 AM
TimB - 21 August 2012 11:33 PM
PLaClair - 21 August 2012 07:28 AM
TimB - 21 August 2012 04:45 AM

Secularists are not organized and are generally apathetic about addressing ethical problems in society.  No one particularly expects them to do much for others.

If that’s true, then theists have a cogent claim against our values and the viability of secularism. We can choose to make it otherwise.

Perhaps, the secularists who are not completely apathetic can choose to make it otherwise.  But how?  I hope, but I am not holding my breath.

I’m not holding my breath either but I maintain that we can do it if we so choose. We need to get rid of our baggage and stop reacting against religion, community and authority. We need to identify sound human values and systemize value-based thinking. It should be a teachable subject in schools. To make our system credible, we have to live it. Once we demonstrate that we can teach it to our kids, and practice it ourselves, the world will begin to notice the differences, which should become apparent. Right now, our own kids aren’t even self-identifying as Humanists or secularists in noticeable numbers. That’s a sure sign that we’re screwing up. Along with my wife Debra, I raised two kids, both of whom self-identify as Humanists and secularists. One is a youth leader at the Baltimore Ethical Culture Society. The other is Matthew LaClair, whose name is well-known in our circles. So I have some credibility, I think, in saying this can be done. I have a website, still in progress, that lays out a systematic Humanist ethics. Check it out at http://www.thisisourstory.net. I hope the sponsors won’t mind the plug. It’s part of my answer to the question.

I admire most of your objectives but calling it a religion (for secularists) seems oxymoronic on the face of it.  I don’t agree with not reacting against the abuses of religion, nor with not standing up to authority when power is being abused,  And as far as us reacting against community, I don’t know what your talking about, at all.  I agree with the objective of identifying sound human values, and even teaching kids in school how to do that, as long as it is something that does not become dogmatic.  I think it would be great if we all acted in accordance with sound humanistic beliefs, but, of course, one sound humanistic belief is that we not impose that on others.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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TimB - 22 August 2012 03:35 AM

I admire most of your objectives but calling it a religion (for secularists) seems oxymoronic on the face of it.  I don’t agree with not reacting against the abuses of religion, nor with not standing up to authority when power is being abused,  And as far as us reacting against community, I don’t know what your talking about, at all.  I agree with the objective of identifying sound human values, and even teaching kids in school how to do that, as long as it is something that does not become dogmatic.  I think it would be great if we all acted in accordance with sound humanistic beliefs, but, of course, one sound humanistic belief is that we not impose that on others.

So let’s look for the common ground in our respective posts. I presume you would agree that there is a difference between reacting against religion categorically and rejecting and opposing its abuses; between standing up to the abuses of authority and reacting against authority categorically. I framed my comment about religion, authority and community as an observation about a categorical reaction within our communities of Humanists and secularists. You responded by pointing out that there are valid critiques of religion and authority from a non-categorical perspective. I completely agree but if we leave it there, then we’re just talking past each other. So let’s dig deeper.

I could react to your comments and accuse you of reframing what I wrote. But instead, I interpret what you wrote as an attempt to point out some of the problems with religion and authority. If that’s what you mean, I agree with you. But then I ask you to look again at whether Humanists and secularists are reacting against religion and authority categorically, which is a different matter. Your own comment about the use of the very word “religion” suggests that you are, and many among our ranks would agree with you.

Our aversion to community is often expressed by the observation that trying to get Humanists together on anything is like trying to herd cats. Homo sapiens is a social species; there are plenty of ways in which we can come together and act for the common good. Self-identified Humanists/secularists tend to have an aversion to that. The label we put on something does not imbue that something with any characteristics - it’s just a label. I know that many secularists react against the word “religion.” That’s my point. Theology has become so pervasive in religion that many people are inclined to say there is no difference; that all religions are theistic. But that is demonstrably false. So I’m suggesting that we look more carefully at religion and rethink our views, and the responses that flow from those views.

Can we do that, just the two of us, together? If not, why not?

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Posted: 22 August 2012 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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PLaClair - 22 August 2012 02:53 AM

We need to identify sound human values and systemize value-based thinking. It should be a teachable subject in schools.

I agree with you, but Republicans, at least those in Texas, do not. This is from the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Seems pretty clear to me. Republicans are afraid if we teach kids to think for themselves they’ll abandon Republican values.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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author=“PLaClair” ... So I’m suggesting that we look more carefully at religion and rethink our views, and the responses that flow from those views.

Can we do that, just the two of us, together? If not, why not?

Just the two of us get together and talk about religion, and rethink our views, and the responses that flow from those views?

No, we can’t.  Because it sounds really creepy.

[ Edited: 22 August 2012 07:13 AM by TimB ]
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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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DarronS - 22 August 2012 05:59 AM

Republicans are afraid if we teach kids to think for themselves they’ll abandon Republican values.

Not only that. They’re scared silly (of course, they were already silly) that society will identify and coalesce around real human values, which are all secular. If children are taught about human values, they won’t need theology’s just-so stories.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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TimB - 22 August 2012 07:10 AM

author=“PLaClair” ... So I’m suggesting that we look more carefully at religion and rethink our views, and the responses that flow from those views.

Can we do that, just the two of us, together? If not, why not?

Just the two of us get together and talk about religion, and rethink our views, and the responses that flow from those views?

No, we can’t.  Because it sounds really creepy.

So in what sense are you and I part of the same thing, if in any sense at all? Do we both support a commitment to a planetary ethic? What are the implications of that, if any? Do you care? Why or why not?

And what’s creepy about my suggestion? You make it sound as though I was inviting you into bed. Did you intend that? What’s creepy about looking for common ground? And if we don’t have any, then why are we both here?

Or did I miss the joke? Because if you’re making a joke to highlight my point, then your comments makes sense. Only I don’t usually joke about this subject because I think we have too much work to do and have done too much damage to the cause of secular Humanism with all the internal division and emotional reactions - and many among us don’t even see the irony of people claiming to be committed to reason and then responding so transparently in emotion-driven, unthinking ways. So I don’t usually see the humor but I suppose I’d be relieved if that’s what your comments were intended to be.

[ Edited: 22 August 2012 04:02 PM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 22 August 2012 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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PLaClair - 22 August 2012 04:00 PM
TimB - 22 August 2012 07:10 AM

author=“PLaClair” ... So I’m suggesting that we look more carefully at religion and rethink our views, and the responses that flow from those views.

Can we do that, just the two of us, together? If not, why not?

Just the two of us get together and talk about religion, and rethink our views, and the responses that flow from those views?

No, we can’t.  Because it sounds really creepy.

So in what sense are you and I part of the same thing, if in any sense at all? Do we both support a commitment to a planetary ethic? What are the implications of that, if any? Do you care? Why or why not?

And what’s creepy about my suggestion? You make it sound as though I was inviting you into bed. Did you intend that? What’s creepy about looking for common ground? And if we don’t have any, then why are we both here?

Or did I miss the joke? Because if you’re making a joke to highlight my point, then your comments makes sense. Only I don’t usually joke about this subject because I think we have too much work to do and have done too much damage to the cause of secular Humanism with all the internal division and emotional reactions - and many among us don’t even see the irony of people claiming to be committed to reason and then responding so transparently in emotion-driven, unthinking ways. So I don’t usually see the humor but I suppose I’d be relieved if that’s what your comments were intended to be.

My response was meant to be mildly amusing, but also, serious.  My sense is that you may be a manipulative person whose underlying agenda is to create a new religion in which you will be the (or a) “spiritual leader”.  History is rife with such individuals.
I can even think of an example of such a person who used to frequent this forum.

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Posted: 22 August 2012 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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TimB - 22 August 2012 04:44 PM

My response was meant to be mildly amusing, but also, serious.  My sense is that you may be a manipulative person whose underlying agenda is to create a new religion in which you will be the (or a) “spiritual leader”.  History is rife with such individuals. I can even think of an example of such a person who used to frequent this forum.

Of course. Everyone who thinks Humanism can be structured and taught methodically is trying to control the world. You don’t even know me but you have a “sense” about some “underlying motives.”

Egads, could you prove my point more clearly if you tried?

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Posted: 22 August 2012 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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PLaClair - 22 August 2012 07:50 PM
TimB - 22 August 2012 04:44 PM

My response was meant to be mildly amusing, but also, serious.  My sense is that you may be a manipulative person whose underlying agenda is to create a new religion in which you will be the (or a) “spiritual leader”.  History is rife with such individuals. I can even think of an example of such a person who used to frequent this forum.

Of course. Everyone who thinks Humanism can be structured and taught methodically is trying to control the world. You don’t even know me but you have a “sense” about some “underlying motives.”

Egads, could you prove my point more clearly if you tried?

I have argued, before, on another thread for adopting some of the methods that make religions successful.  But making a religion out of secularism seems to me to be the wrong way to go.  One of my over-riding values is that dogma sucks.  Religions are prone to creating dogma.

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