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How would you reply to atheist critiques of humanism?
Posted: 20 November 2014 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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In your view, does humanism entails anything beyond ethics? Even if it doesn’t entail atheism (which it seems the big humanist organizations think it does, but nvm), do you think it entails a commitment to science and reason? Is belief in astrology or psychics or witchcraft compatible with humanism?

TimB - 16 November 2014 02:31 PM
Irmin - 16 November 2014 09:30 AM

In the views of people at this forum, would (organized) humanism have any role if religion did not exist (or was so marginalized as to be a non-issue)? ...

“Imagine no religion.  It’s easy if you try… no hell below us.. above us only sky.  Imagine all the people, living life in peace…”

Yes, there would be a role for humanism.

And that role would be…? It seems to be the #1 issue humanist groups campaign on.

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Posted: 20 November 2014 04:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Irmin - 20 November 2014 02:30 PM

In your view, does humanism entails anything beyond ethics? Even if it doesn’t entail atheism (which it seems the big humanist organizations think it does, but nvm), do you think it entails a commitment to science and reason? Is belief in astrology or psychics or witchcraft compatible with humanism?

...

I think that someone could, conceivably, believe in “astrology or psychics or witchcraft” (your examples) and still self-identify as a humanist.  And I, personally, would consider their self-identification as a humanist to be legitimate if their primary concerns were in promoting what is in the best interest of all humans, including the protection of basic human rights of all people and of future generations.

OTOH, I also consider beliefs in the mystical, magical, and supernatural to be irrational, and therefore not likely to be optimally effective (and, also, more likely to be hindrances) in the understanding and the promoting of the interests of present and future humans.

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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: 20 November 2014 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Humanism does not require that anyone believe or reject belief in gods. Its philosophy is that it’s possible to live a good and moral life without theistic belief. It does not require atheism. Though most humanists are also atheists (or claim to sit comfortably on the fence) a humanist could believe in a god but agree that a god is not necessary for morality.

Lois

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[color=red“Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.”
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Posted: 20 November 2014 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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I suppose one of the few theistic belief systems that is truly incompatible with humanism would be theistic Satanism. Yes, some people really do worship Satan as a god or god-like figure or what have you. Not many, but there are a few.

BTW, I don’t really consider myself a humanist. I’m really more of a cynic.

EDIT
Fixed a typo.

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Posted: 20 November 2014 08:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Dead Monky - 20 November 2014 07:04 PM

I suppose one of the few theistic belief systems that is truly incompatible with humanism would be theistic Satanism. Yes, some people really do worship Satan as a god or god-like figure or what have you. Not many, but there are a few.

BTW, I don’t really consider myself a humanist. I’m really more of a cynic.

EDIT
Fixed a typo.

Aha! I read between the lines.  It was not completely distinct.  But it seemed to be saying that there ARE non-theistic belief systems that ARE truly incompatible with humanism, e.g., dedicated cynicism.

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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: 20 November 2014 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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I don’t think humanism and cynicism are necessarily incompatible. One can still want the best for humanity while being disappointed in it.

Also, cynicism isn’t a belief system. Depending on exactly which cynicism you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the philosophical school of the ancient Greeks then I suppose it is a sort of belief system. But in general (and here) I use the word in the more modern sense of a sort of general attitude or outlook. I’m a cynic in the latter, more modern meaning.

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Posted: 20 November 2014 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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Dead Monky - 20 November 2014 09:08 PM

I don’t think humanism and cynicism are necessarily incompatible. One can still want the best for humanity while being disappointed in it…

Well I want the best for humanity and am also disappointed in it, more often than not.  So am I a cynical humanist or a humanistic cynic? Or am I just a humanist that is extra-aware of humanity’s short-comings?

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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: 21 November 2014 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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TimB - 20 November 2014 09:27 PM
Dead Monky - 20 November 2014 09:08 PM

I don’t think humanism and cynicism are necessarily incompatible. One can still want the best for humanity while being disappointed in it…

Well I want the best for humanity and am also disappointed in it, more often than not.  So am I a cynical humanist or a humanistic cynic? Or am I just a humanist that is extra-aware of humanity’s short-comings?

Probably not much more than a few other humanists. Cynicism is not that rare. As long as it doesn’t interfere with Humanism’s main tenet, that morality comes from within ourselves, you can be a cynic and a humanist. I haven’t run into many true cynics in Humanism.

Lois

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Posted: 21 November 2014 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Irmin - 12 October 2014 07:41 AM
Thevillageatheist - 11 October 2014 08:06 AM

I guess I’ll kick in here and add my thoughts to the pile. I’m a humanist AND an atheist and I was a humanist before I was an atheist, many moons ago.

But doesn’t humanism require atheism? At least that’s in the minimum definition from IHEU:

Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.


Yes, it’s perfectly valid to say Humanism is not theistic. It is not, it doesn’t promote theism. That doesn’t mean it’s followers cannot be theists. It means Humanism itself does not promote it, that’s all. In other words Humanism can ignore theism as long as it doesn’t interfere with its message that people can be moral without it. Humanists are skeptics and don’t accept any theistic or supernatural explanations for anything, but individual members of Humanist organizations are free to believe as they pleaseas long as they accept the tenets of humanism.

Lois

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Posted: 21 November 2014 01:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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LoisL - 21 November 2014 12:41 AM
TimB - 20 November 2014 09:27 PM
Dead Monky - 20 November 2014 09:08 PM

I don’t think humanism and cynicism are necessarily incompatible. One can still want the best for humanity while being disappointed in it…

Well I want the best for humanity and am also disappointed in it, more often than not.  So am I a cynical humanist or a humanistic cynic? Or am I just a humanist that is extra-aware of humanity’s short-comings?

Probably not much more than a few other humanists. Cynicism is not that rare. As long as it doesn’t interfere with Humanism’s main tenet, that morality comes from within ourselves, you can be a cynic and a humanist. I haven’t run into many true cynics in Humanism.

Lois

Thinking about cynicism and “Man’s inhumanity to Man” prompted me to wonder whether Samuel Clements was a humanist.  Samuel (aka, Mark Twain) Clement’s public quips were often, seemingly, quite cynical.  Also, the primary underlying theme of “Huckleberry Finn” was “Man’s inhumanity to Man”, yet the main character was on a journey of development that took him, to a great extent, beyond that orientation.  So the story was a hopeful one.  And the very act of writing a novel that points out “Man’s inhumanity to Man”, implies, I think, that Clements had some hope that Mankind, or some part of it, at least, can recognize and develop beyond such an orientation.

So maybe Clements was a humanist and also, quite often, a cynic.

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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: 16 December 2014 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Are there many religious humanist who are members in organizations such as the CSH and the AHA, or other groups affiliated with the IHEU? I do wonder how they square their religious commitments with the very explicit atheistic viewpoint of the mentioned groups. Not to say that all atheists are humanists (though these groups occasionally claim to speak for non-believers generally), but my impression from the texts by those groups is that all humanists are atheists or agnostics in the same way that all Christians are theists.

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Posted: 16 December 2014 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Irmin - 16 December 2014 11:34 AM

Are there many religious humanist who are members in organizations such as the CSH and the AHA, or other groups affiliated with the IHEU? I do wonder how they square their religious commitments with the very explicit atheistic viewpoint of the mentioned groups. Not to say that all atheists are humanists (though these groups occasionally claim to speak for non-believers generally), but my impression from the texts by those groups is that all humanists are atheists or agnostics in the same way that all Christians are theists.

I can’t speak for other posters on this forum, on this, but I am not a member of any humanist organization, nor do I have any interest in becoming one.  I don’t need to be a member of an organization to self identify as a humanist.  I think that any organization, even one that is inherently opposed to dogma, can potentially become dogmatic.

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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: 26 December 2014 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Irmin - 14 October 2014 10:22 AM

Why was my post replying to LoisL removed!? Is this some sort of joke?

I posted that if humanism is non-theistic, then it is atheistic, because that’s what the word means.

I’m open to be shown wrong of course, but to me this is what a plain reading suggests.

By that definition, the Constitution would be an atheist document. And my car is non-theistic, does that mean it is atheistic?

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Posted: 26 December 2014 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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Write4U - 26 December 2014 05:15 AM
Irmin - 14 October 2014 10:22 AM

Why was my post replying to LoisL removed!? Is this some sort of joke?

I posted that if humanism is non-theistic, then it is atheistic, because that’s what the word means.

I’m open to be shown wrong of course, but to me this is what a plain reading suggests.

By that definition, the Constitution would be an atheist document. And my car is non-theistic, does that mean it is atheistic?

What’s the difference then between atheism and nontheism? Isn’t the latter simply a more smooth, less controversial way of saying one is an atheist? An euphemism? At least that’s what Dawkins thinks. Though he thinks that about humanism as well.

The American constitution is plainly secular, I’d think. In the legal sense that gods and religion are none of its concerns.

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Posted: 26 December 2014 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Irmin - 26 December 2014 11:28 AM
Write4U - 26 December 2014 05:15 AM
Irmin - 14 October 2014 10:22 AM

Why was my post replying to LoisL removed!? Is this some sort of joke?

I posted that if humanism is non-theistic, then it is atheistic, because that’s what the word means.

I’m open to be shown wrong of course, but to me this is what a plain reading suggests.

By that definition, the Constitution would be an atheist document. And my car is non-theistic, does that mean it is atheistic?

What’s the difference then between atheism and nontheism? Isn’t the latter simply a more smooth, less controversial way of saying one is an atheist? An euphemism? At least that’s what Dawkins thinks. Though he thinks that about humanism as well.

The American constitution is plainly secular, I’d think. In the legal sense that gods and religion are none of its concerns.

Which IMO, makes it a non-theistic (secular) document.

I agree that the difference between non-theistic and atheistic is a nuanced viewpoint. I see non-theistic practices and activities as seperate from theistic or atheistic practices and activities.

Let me try to put it this way; a theist can be engaged in non-theistic (mundane) activities, such as driving a truck, but is philosophically Theist, whereas an atheist can be engaged in non-theistic (mundane) activities, such as driving a truck, but is philosophically Atheist.

OTOH, theist could not imagine a world without a god, whereas an atheist does imagine the world without a god.

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