2 of 2
2
Is secular humanism compatible with ....
Posted: 14 April 2008 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4108
Joined  2006-11-28

Kyu,

The danger of relying on dictionary definitions is 1) they frequently do not reflect contemporary or colloquial usage and 2) you can find one to support almost any interpretation.
FWIW, American Heritage Dictionary lists the following definitions for “secularism.”

1. Religious skepticism or indifference.
2. The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.

And the following is fromt eh Wikipedia article on secularism:
“In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and freedom from the government imposition of religion upon the people, within a state that is neutral on matters of belief, and gives no state privileges or subsidies to religions. (See also Separation of church and state and Laïcité.) In another sense, it refers to a belief that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be based on evidence and fact rather than religious influence.”


What I prefer is an understanding of meaning derived from the usage of a term. In American political usage, secularism predominantly refers to the second definition given above, so I tend to use the term in that sense, though of course using it to refer to a non-religious philosophy is not incorrect. Anyway, really just a tangent, since what I think is important is whether certain sorts of “spiritual” experiences are compatible with a Secular Humanist ideology. I happen to believe they are.

Shay,

In answer to your question, I certainly think personal experiences such as you describe are often powerful and important. The question is what you do with them. When you use them to deepen the quality of your own experience of life and your relationships with others, they are very valuable. When you use them to serve as the basis for an understanding of the world which is then immune to contrary evidence, then they’re trouble. I think such experiences certainly are compatible with Secular Humanism, but I think we alwasy have to be on guard against overvaluing our own subjective impressions, since they are powerful in their impact on us out of proportion to their correspondence to any external reality.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 April 2008 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2008-04-08

Brennan—I agree with you.

 Signature 

Shay
My favorite web site: The Sewickley Go Club: Weiqi ain’t for wimps !
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”—the Dalai Lama

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 April 2008 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  402
Joined  2008-02-24
Shay - 17 April 2008 09:20 AM

Brennan—I agree with you.

I would expect nothing else smile

Brennan,

You express yourself well (I’d expect no less given what I’ve seen of your posts) but ultimately this boils down to interpretation of definitions and I think you’re wrong so we’d best leave it there smile

Kyu

 Signature 

Kekerusey

“Keye’ung lu nì‘aw tì‘eyng mìkìfkey lekye’ung”
(Insanity, the only answer in a world insane!)

Atheists’s Heaven *** “Science, Just Science” Campaign *** Geekanology UK

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 April 2008 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7684
Joined  2008-04-11

Thanks to our elementary school training, people forget that the dictionary is a reference of usage, and usage changes, sometimes quite dramatically over time. An example is the word ‘nice’ that originally meant just the opposite, and those of us around for the 60s can remember ‘bad’ meaning pretty darn good!
geo

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 April 2008 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3121
Joined  2008-04-07

Shay,

I like your avatar. Can you explain its meaning?

It’s common for people to ask if their philosphy meshes with secularism and/or humanism. I don’t like labels in general because they 1.) Are too short to well-define anything. 2.) Tend to divide. 3.) Attract (short-term) people who just want to be members of something/anything. 4.) Cause good people to nit-pick even when they generally agree on things that matter.

 Signature 

Turn off Fox News - Bad News For America
(Atheists are myth understood)

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 2
2