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How would you reply to atheist critiques of humanism?
Posted: 03 February 2016 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
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TimB - 31 January 2016 06:15 PM
TimB - 28 January 2016 09:21 PM
LoisL - 28 January 2016 02:04 PM
TimB - 26 January 2016 05:42 PM
LoisL - 26 January 2016 04:44 PM
TimB - 28 December 2014 04:58 AM
Irmin - 27 December 2014 08:56 AM

Here is from Stephen law, also written in his book Humanism: A Very Short Introduction. Would you not agree with it? It seems American humanism differs quite a bit from Europena humanism.


I like most of what he has to say, but in his 2nd point he says: 

  “2. Humanists are atheists…. Humanists need not deny there is a god or gods….”

The two statements there, are completely contradictory, because the very definition of an atheist is simply someone who denies that there is a god.


I don’t know what to make of it.

Most atheists don’t deny there is a god. They deny belief in one or more. They deny there is any evidence of god(s).  There is a big difference. Though some people, usually theists, will claim that the definition of atheist is one who claims there is no god, that is a false definition, in my opinion. The root of the word “atheism” should make the point. A=without, Theism=belief in god(s). It’s theists who insist that atheists have beliefs about gods.  We have none. We demand objective evidence for all claims. That’s all. Claims about god(s) fail the evidence test. In addition, if there were objective evidence for god(s) there would be no need for belief in god(s) at all.

Also, some Humanists are not atheists. There is no requirement in Humanism that a person be an atheist.

Lois

Well, it’s about time, Lois, I have been waiting for 13 months for your reply on this matter.  (Actually, I barely remember this post.)  I accept your points.  But the author that Irmin and I were discussing, specifically asserted that humanists are atheists.  I agree with your assertion that “some Humanists are not atheists. There is no requirement in Humanism that a person be an atheist.”


I didn’t realize it was an old post. I don’t know how that escaped me for so long. I was vice president of the American Humanist Association for a few years. The AA took the position that atheism was not a requirement to join the AHA. Other Humanist organizations have different views. Most people who call themselves (secular) Humanists are atheists. some will call themselves agnostics (even though that’s a false term). Some call themselves “religious Humanists,” such as Unitarians. CFI rejects “religious Humanism” but the AHA does not.

Lois

Well then, since I am a regular poster on the CFI forum, I am glad that CFI had the good sense to, independently, adopt a position that is consistent with my own.

I just realized that I may have misread your message.  I took it to mean that CFI rejected the term “religious humanists”. 

They do. It’s what caused the riift between the AHA and CFI. I don’t know if CFI still takes the same hard line. It did when Paul Kurtz was in charge.

I do consider humanists to be humanists, whether they may also be religious or not.  If you are saying that CFI considers someone to not be a humanist just because they also claim a religious affiliation, I would not agree with that. (I guess such humanists with a religious affiliation would have to be unusually supportive of secularism, but it seems possible, to me.)  But all in all it seems to me to be quibbling over definitions and labels.


It does, but sometimes definitions do matter.

Lois

[ Edited: 03 February 2016 12:12 AM by LoisL ]
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Posted: 03 February 2016 05:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
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TimB - 02 February 2016 06:52 PM

Also, really thoughtful pointless arguments, may lead to thoughts that are not pointless.

OK Tim, even pointless arguments deserve a champion to defend them.  What would be a “really thoughtful pointless argument”?

I can imagine an argument taking twists and turns sometimes dwelling on a pointless dead end or emerging with some reason for the disagreement.  But, in general, pointless arguments are inutile. At least in this atheists opinion.

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Posted: 03 February 2016 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
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VYAZMA - 01 February 2016 08:55 AM

Interesting that you would compare HUMANists to a robot who endeavors to be human.
And is programmed to behave perfectly.

Actually Data is programmed with heuristic algorithms which allow him to learn from his mistakes.  Dr. Soong sort of used his own personality as a template, but let him go from there.  Just like us, really.

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Posted: 25 February 2017 08:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
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Advocatus - 13 October 2014 07:12 AM


That “specific definition” happens to have been made by the IHEU, which is the global umbrella organization for humanist organizations worldwide. The BHA in their description also very much puts it that “humanist” appears to equal “non-religious”.

But if a liberal Christian can be a humanist, where exactly goes the line?

Recognizing or imagining a god superior to humans could not befit a Humanist. Recognizing or imagining devils, gods, angels, and imps inferior to humans could be humanist, just not rational. Shall we put on our tin foil hats for, here come god fearing Humanists? smile

When it comes to living in the real world, either there is some supreme killer god to worship or there is not. Since there is not, Humanism exits.

[ Edited: 25 February 2017 08:11 PM by JSmith ]
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Posted: 01 March 2017 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
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JSmith - 25 February 2017 08:09 PM
Advocatus - 13 October 2014 07:12 AM

But if a liberal Christian can be a humanist, where exactly goes the line?

Recognizing or imagining a god superior to humans could not befit a Humanist. Recognizing or imagining devils, gods, angels, and imps inferior to humans could be humanist, just not rational. Shall we put on our tin foil hats for, here come god fearing Humanists? smile

When it comes to living in the real world, either there is some supreme killer god to worship or there is not. Since there is not, Humanism exits.

I do not think a God-fearing person can be a true humanist. Believing in the so-called God’s edicts, many of which are unjust, hateful and barbaric, could not allow one to look at all humans with equitability. However, being an atheist would not necessarily make one a champion of human rights. So, atheism or agnosticism would be a requirement for humanism, but they would not be enough to make one a humanist.

[ Edited: 02 March 2017 06:20 AM by Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain ]
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Posted: 01 March 2017 11:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
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Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain - 01 March 2017 07:49 PM
JSmith - 25 February 2017 08:09 PM
Advocatus - 13 October 2014 07:12 AM

But if a liberal Christian can be a humanist, where exactly goes the line?

Recognizing or imagining a god superior to humans could not befit a Humanist. Recognizing or imagining devils, gods, angels, and imps inferior to humans could be humanist, just not rational. Shall we put on our tin foil hats for, here come god fearing Humanists? smile

When it comes to living in the real world, either there is some supreme killer god to worship or there is not. Since there is not, Humanism exits.

I do not think a God-fearing person can be a true humanist. Believing in the so-called God’s edicts, many of which are unjust, hateful and barbaric, could not allow one to look at all humans with equitability. However, being an atheist would not necessarily make one a champion of human rights. So, atheism or agnosticism would be a requirement for humanism, but they would be enough to make one a humanist.

Religious humanists are not all theists—or they enbrace a benign kind of theism closer to deism. Unitarians fitbthis definition. In fact, many Unitarians reject a belief in god. It was Unitarians that Paul Kutz would not accept as humanists, no matter how atheistic they were. They call themselves religious humanists which Paul Kurtz refused to accept. The American Humanist Association has no problem with Unitarians.

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Posted: 02 March 2017 12:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]
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What is religion for humanists? Please define the term religion as it applies to humanists. Can religion be defined without supernatural? Thank you.

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Posted: 02 March 2017 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]
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JSmith - 02 March 2017 12:01 AM

What is religion for humanists? Please define the term religion as it applies to humanists. Can religion be defined without supernatural? Thank you.

Religion can be defined as a moral stance. I ipersonally don’t like to use the word “religion” for humanism because the word is too often misunderstood and misconstrued,  deliberately by some theists, but in the strict definition of the word, meaning the acceptance of a moral stance, humanism could be seen as non-theistic, non-supernatural religion. But as long as most people define religion as requiring a belief in god or the supernatural, I would advise humanists to avoid the word when speaking of humanism.

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Posted: 02 March 2017 01:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]
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Moral stance is reasonable and sensible phrase.
In your opinion, when applied to humanism, how closely is moral stance equated with the term natural law as a moral philosophy?

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Posted: 03 March 2017 08:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]
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Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain - 01 March 2017 07:49 PM

I do not think a God-fearing person can be a true humanist. Believing in the so-called God’s edicts, many of which are unjust, hateful and barbaric, could not allow one to look at all humans with equitability. However, being an atheist would not necessarily make one a champion of human rights. So, atheism or agnosticism would be a requirement for humanism, but they would not be enough to make one a humanist.

I understand what you’re saying, but people don’t necessarily follow this logic.  I don’t know about Moslems, but most Christians I know have never really read the Bible all the way through.  They simply rely on their preachers to tell them what it says.  And they pick and chose the parts that make sense to them.  I think most Christians are fair-minded people, and a lot of them would be humanists if it weren’t for the fact that preachers have told them that secular humanists are wicked, evil people.

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Posted: 03 March 2017 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]
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Advocatus - 03 March 2017 08:31 AM

  They simply rely on their preachers to tell them what it says.  And they pick and chose the parts that make sense to them.  I think most Christians are fair-minded people, and a lot of them would be humanists if it weren’t for the fact that preachers have told them that secular humanists are wicked, evil people.

I tend to agree that the sheeple who believe what some other religious authority, preachers, tell them is “gospel”. Yet the preachers are not making things up out of their own mind.  They get it from the New Testament and Hebrew Bible.  The preachers have a method to magnify their opinion so sheeple will believe them even if they have read the bible through and through. Each step alone in this bible propaganda campaign is enough to judge and condemn humanists, atheists and all the people in the entire world. It may not be a surprise to many but one bible based preacher method goes like this:

The law of the one true god is written (somehow) on each person’s heart (mind). So they know even without preaching and thus only ignore god in order to do their own sinful selfish destructive acts and live their own harmful self-destructive lives in outright conscious rebellion to the only true god (christian god).

These sinners are fools to say their is no god, mockers who say Jesus will not come back to destroy them, and willingly ignorant. (Fools, mockers, and willingly ignorant are the ad hominem arguments promoted by preachers and the bible against the character of those who do not submit to the preachers’ bible. Of course, the preachers themselves have gone through this same set of steps in their indoctrination and ordination process. This is the preachers literal bread and butter.

To tie this all in a neat little cute bow is offering the ultimate pleasure of being on the right side of the universe ruled by their god. He promises eternal bliss in the company of all they have ever shared this belief with so grief is no longer permanent. They are safe from the fires of hell. These bible passages preached with vigor create the mindset of a Christian yellow brick road. On the christian yellow brick road, evil, hell bound, willful, ignorant, foolish humanists and atheists lurk like trolls of old, aliens, devils and demons.

This is the bible that preachers promote and the sheeple tend to believe. (Sheeple are people who follow a predetermined course based on what other people and holy books promote. They are people who act like sheep…lemming-like people yet to be set free from dogma.)

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Posted: 04 March 2017 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]
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LoisL - 01 March 2017 11:45 PM
Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain - 01 March 2017 07:49 PM
JSmith - 25 February 2017 08:09 PM
Advocatus - 13 October 2014 07:12 AM

But if a liberal Christian can be a humanist, where exactly goes the line?

Recognizing or imagining a god superior to humans could not befit a Humanist. Recognizing or imagining devils, gods, angels, and imps inferior to humans could be humanist, just not rational. Shall we put on our tin foil hats for, here come god fearing Humanists? smile

When it comes to living in the real world, either there is some supreme killer god to worship or there is not. Since there is not, Humanism exits.

I do not think a God-fearing person can be a true humanist. Believing in the so-called God’s edicts, many of which are unjust, hateful and barbaric, could not allow one to look at all humans with equitability. However, being an atheist would not necessarily make one a champion of human rights. So, atheism or agnosticism would be a requirement for humanism, but they would be enough to make one a humanist.

Religious humanists are not all theists—or they enbrace a benign kind of theism closer to deism. Unitarians fitbthis definition. In fact, many Unitarians reject a belief in god. It was Unitarians that Paul Kutz would not accept as humanists, no matter how atheistic they were. They call themselves religious humanists which Paul Kurtz refused to accept. The American Humanist Association has no problem with Unitarians.

Unitarianism is certainly a significant progress from orthodox Christianity toward Humanism; probably that is why AHA accepts Unitarianism as Humanism. It is somewhat like Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize in Peace in 2009; recognizing anticipation as opposed to actual accomplishment.

[ Edited: 05 March 2017 04:54 AM by Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain ]
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Posted: 04 March 2017 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]
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Advocatus - 03 March 2017 08:31 AM
Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain - 01 March 2017 07:49 PM

I do not think a God-fearing person can be a true humanist. Believing in the so-called God’s edicts, many of which are unjust, hateful and barbaric, could not allow one to look at all humans with equitability. However, being an atheist would not necessarily make one a champion of human rights. So, atheism or agnosticism would be a requirement for humanism, but they would not be enough to make one a humanist.

I understand what you’re saying, but people don’t necessarily follow this logic.  I don’t know about Moslems, but most Christians I know have never really read the Bible all the way through.  They simply rely on their preachers to tell them what it says.  And they pick and chose the parts that make sense to them.  I think most Christians are fair-minded people, and a lot of them would be humanists if it weren’t for the fact that preachers have told them that secular humanists are wicked, evil people.

I think most people are fair-minded because they are humans, not because of what they have been brainwashed to think as their religion. Even the fanatic religious ones have some common human sense, intelligence, compassion, etc. On an average, Christians are better than Muslims because they are not as much into following the Bible as Muslims are into following the Koran.

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Posted: 04 March 2017 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]
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Sukhamaya (Sam) Bain - 04 March 2017 12:31 PM

I think most people are fair-minded because they are humans, not because of what they have been brainwashed to think as their religion. Even the fanatic religious ones have some common human sense, intelligence, compassion, etc. On an average, Christians are better than Muslims because they are not as much into following the Bible as Muslims are into following the Koran.

Because we are humans. Yes. Insightful. If there were no pastors, imams, or lamas, just people wanting to learn how the universe worked and a big pipeline of information linked to the most crucial lines of discovery in each discipline, singularity would be near and the universe at out command for life and love. And togetherness would be more possible than ever. So would individuality.

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Posted: 25 June 2017 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]
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My problem with humanism is “aspire to the greater good of humanity”

Like religion, this humanism (and its focus on humans) seems to assume the dubious notion that humankind is the pinnacle of evolution. In doing so it apparently violates another of their sentiments that “Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis”.

The knowledge they commend suggests that humans are highly unlikely to be a permanent feature in the future of the universe. It also suggests that humans may not even be the precursor of future evolved occupants of the world (unless it is something they triggered such as silicon-based intelligence). The purpose I see in life is to contribute to evolution and go away when our purpose is exhausted.

In my opinion, humanism also directs attention away from the notion that the entire planet is a single organism (Gaia?) with multiple components just as special as humanity - and absolutely essential to the existence of humanity. Since our current knowledge of what is significant to humans is woefully lacking, it behooves us to recognize that “the greater good of humanity” is intimately linked to the greater good of the planet and the greater good of many other components of our planet.

If I have to have a label, I suppose scientific pantheist would come closest to describing me.

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