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Positive, Proactive Humanism vs Atheism/Theism
Posted: 31 May 2008 02:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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V1ktor - 22 May 2008 05:56 PM

Humanists are atheists by default; however, atheists choose to concentrate on religions (e.i. trying to disprove god), while humanists concentrate on human factor.

I disagree, one can be a humanist and a theist which is why we now have secular humanism. This is not about religious humanism but one can have some form of theistic belief and be a humanist as in Sherman Wine’s Humanist Judaism.

V1ktor - 22 May 2008 05:56 PM

I think good analogy would be, working for the same company in different departments. We’re all share a common trait, trait that is central to our lifestyles - disbelief.

Again I have to disagree. Humanism is not about (negative) disbelief but about (positive) beliefs - in humanity.

V1ktor - 22 May 2008 05:56 PM

I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in God and choose to help other people see the reality.
I’m a humanist because I believe that human is the creator and the creation, I strongly believe
that our ethics and morals have no base in religious texts.
I’m a secularist because I hate the idea of religious influence in the government.
I’m a rationalist because I use science and reason to explain everything.

Here I mostly agree except we can have better reasons for secularism than hate, but that is your choice.
I’m a secularist because only a state neutral on religion can be properly democratic and treat all its citizens equally.

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Posted: 31 May 2008 02:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Mriana - 22 May 2008 07:30 PM

I find it a shame that Humanism isn’t the philosophy of even more people.  It certainly is more for and about the human than most religions.  However, I think religious criticism is important in order to point out the falacies so many people believe.  I don’t know how else we can educate the religious about their superstitions without being critical of their beliefs and pointing out the myths of the religious texts.

I mostly agree but I call myself a naturalist as, for me, this best captures and describes of my worldview positively. Humanism can be used similarly but as this thread is showing there is more divergence on this and humanism is also used to define itself against the alternatives somewhat negatively.

Someone with either H or N wordlview can and should criticize religion or anything else where such fallacious beliefs can cause harm to others. Here humanism is more specific in terms of an ethical standpoint and naturalism more open over alternatives or under determines them (but not open to supernatural ones of course). In that sense I am a naturalist and ethical humanist.

[ Edited: 31 May 2008 02:30 AM by faithlessgod ]
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Posted: 31 May 2008 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Yes Faithless,

I also think that the term “naturalist” is more progressive because I think that our moral sensibilities ought to extend beyond humans to include other species of sentient creature.  But then again, the term “naturalist” also has many distinct usages in the colloquial world.  Before it was adapted by philosophers in reference to an evolutionarily informed worldview (one that I think that all of us in this thread share), it was used in a more general sense to refer to a person who simply appreciates nature.  There are many Audubon Society enthusiasts, for example, who are christians and call themselves naturalists.

Personally, I feel a certain kinship of spirit with both self ascribed humanists and naturalists (Both the ones who are making a cosmological or ethical assertion and those who enjoy nature.)  So that is enough for me to accept both the “humanist” and “naturalist” labels.  But it seems that the matter of what “we” call ourselves is an endless topic for re-evaluation.  This is probably a good thing.

Unfortunately, the term “naturist” has already been taken by a rather distinctly unrelated niche.  LOL

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Posted: 31 May 2008 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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faithlessgod - 31 May 2008 02:18 AM

Someone with either H or N wordlview can and should criticize religion or anything else where such fallacious beliefs can cause harm to others.

I am a Humanist and I do criticize when there is harm being done to another.  I do have compassion for others, even that person who people can’t stand because he “is a smelly alcoholic living in the streets”.  I won’t give him money or endanger myself in order to help, though.  Hopefully there are other means that will help that person, directly or indirectly, IF he is willing to accept that help.  Even if he were to reject the help, I would still feel for him because he is hurting in some form.  I geniunely care for people via love and compassion, tempered with reason and even scientific knowledge.  I believe we humans are the only ones who can solve the problems of this world.  Naturalism, though I do not know as much about it as I do Humanism, doesn’t focus as much on the human or strive to better ourselves, as far as I know.  I truly believe in the values of Humanism.

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Posted: 31 May 2008 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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faithlessgod - 31 May 2008 02:10 AM
V1ktor - 22 May 2008 05:56 PM

Humanists are atheists by default; however, atheists choose to concentrate on religions (e.i. trying to disprove god), while humanists concentrate on human factor.

I disagree, one can be a humanist and a theist which is why we now have secular humanism. This is not about religious humanism but one can have some form of theistic belief and be a humanist as in Sherman Wine’s Humanist Judaism.

V1ktor - 22 May 2008 05:56 PM

I think good analogy would be, working for the same company in different departments. We’re all share a common trait, trait that is central to our lifestyles - disbelief.

Again I have to disagree. Humanism is not about (negative) disbelief but about (positive) beliefs - in humanity.

V1ktor - 22 May 2008 05:56 PM

I’m an atheist because I don’t believe in God and choose to help other people see the reality.
I’m a humanist because I believe that human is the creator and the creation, I strongly believe
that our ethics and morals have no base in religious texts.
I’m a secularist because I hate the idea of religious influence in the government.
I’m a rationalist because I use science and reason to explain everything.

Here I mostly agree except we can have better reasons for secularism than hate, but that is your choice.
I’m a secularist because only a state neutral on religion can be properly democratic and treat all its citizens equally.

You have a right to disagree with me, but you can’t disagree with the official definition of Humanism.

Wikipedia:
Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that upholds human reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism, pseudoscience and superstition

Answers.com:
A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.

Meriam-Webster:
a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason

——

As you can see besides the human part, humanism needs reason. You cannot have reason and believe in any sort of supernatural “thing”.
You can disagree with me all you want, it is your right, I understand. I love discussing disagreements. I’m not saying you’re one, but arguing with theists taught me one lesson….use dictionary. They always start making up their own definitions, so I have to slap them with a dictionary.

I do appreciate your thoughts on the subject at hand. I do know a lot of theists (friends) who act like humanists, but they still believe in God. I think this is where HUMANITARIANISM is disguising as humanism.

v1ktor =)

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Posted: 31 May 2008 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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faithlessgod - 31 May 2008 02:10 AM


I’m a secularist because only a state neutral on religion can be properly democratic and treat all its citizens equally.

I think this is well-stated although there is some underlying contradiction here—the state ultimately cannot be neutral on religion and other superstitions if the health and welfare of its citizens are involved (i.e. medical care for children, homeopathic medicine, etc.).  If the members of a religion truly believe that their ‘way’ is the only ‘way’, they may not be able to abide a pluralistic society.

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Posted: 31 May 2008 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Jackson - 31 May 2008 05:32 PM
faithlessgod - 31 May 2008 02:10 AM


I’m a secularist because only a state neutral on religion can be properly democratic and treat all its citizens equally.

I think this is well-stated although there is some underlying contradiction here—the state ultimately cannot be neutral on religion and other superstitions if the health and welfare of its citizens are involved (i.e. medical care for children, homeopathic medicine, etc.).  If the members of a religion truly believe that their ‘way’ is the only ‘way’, they may not be able to abide a pluralistic society.

Jackie:

I can understand that in the US Humanism faces such an affront and assault thanks to the Bush era that the US Humanist movement is sitting there like a tank with one tread blown out. But it can be fixed. In the end govt policy should have nothing to do with religion at any level, or actions against it for that matter.

Theists have a religion, Humanists have a philosophy. Positive Humanism moves on from there, and it has caught my eye.

Can anyone comment on Gerald Larue’s Positive Humanism? My own interest is in proactive H and its programs.

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Posted: 01 June 2008 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Dwight Jones - 17 May 2008 08:14 AM

My concept of Humanism is that it represent our species, first of all, then the planet and finally the individual. The beliefs of Humanists outside these realms are not material, thus a Christian can be a (lower case) humanist if they perform good works among their fellows. Humanity has a severe need for responsible representation and governance overseeing the long-range prospects of our own kind.

While your concept is well-meaning, I don’t agree that Humanists represent humanity unless democratically elected.  Even within the Humanist movement itself I would like to see a more democratic movement.  Instead I see a variety of organizations each centered around an individual rather than the organization’s objective.  What do you think?

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Posted: 01 June 2008 07:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Jackson - 01 June 2008 07:36 AM
Dwight Jones - 17 May 2008 08:14 AM

My concept of Humanism is that it represent our species, first of all, then the planet and finally the individual. The beliefs of Humanists outside these realms are not material, thus a Christian can be a (lower case) humanist if they perform good works among their fellows. Humanity has a severe need for responsible representation and governance overseeing the long-range prospects of our own kind.

While your concept is well-meaning, I don’t agree that Humanists represent humanity unless democratically elected.  Even within the Humanist movement itself I would like to see a more democratic movement.  Instead I see a variety of organizations each centered around an individual rather than the organization’s objective.  What do you think?

Leadership by individuals is essential during the setup period, but should give way and evolve toward a non-profit society in due course. That incorporates your democracy, which I agree must find its place. At the same time, there is a role for Humanism to be a watchdog and critic with regards to the interests of our species per se, similar to the way the ACLU oversees individual freedoms in the USA.

Alternatively, perhaps we can engender a Humanist ethos that becomes endemic in our thinking, such as political correctness did, which, for all its faults, nonetheless brought the rights of the handicapped to the forefront, to name one area of society that benefitted.

Once Humanism is perceived by a larger public to be an umbrella guardian of the species and not just theism rejects, then I expect the movement to be embraced wholeheartedly.

[ Edited: 01 June 2008 08:09 AM by Martinus ]
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Posted: 01 June 2008 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Jackson - 01 June 2008 07:36 AM

While your concept is well-meaning, I don’t agree that Humanists represent humanity unless democratically elected.  Even within the Humanist movement itself I would like to see a more democratic movement.  Instead I see a variety of organizations each centered around an individual rather than the organization’s objective.  What do you think?

I think that this is a powerful point Jackson.  In society, there is certainly the possibility that some people don’t know what is best for themselves, and can benefit from the guidance of others.  But then how might we civilly determine who knows best, and how might we civilly enforce that knowledge upon the rest of society?  Consider the manner in which many so called “communist” dictators have justified brutal sorts of totalitarianisms as in the best interests of providing for their people.

While I do identify as a humanist, I am also a “free” thinker.  Indeed, I consider freedom and independence of thought to be integral values to what I regard as humanism.  When someone says something that I can support I have no problem getting behind it, but it is because I support it that I am behind it.  In many ways it would be hypocritical of me to demand that right for myself yet attempt to deny it to others with whom I disagree.

I think that a commitment to non-violent dialog, freedom of thought and speech, and the regularly exercised activities of social discourse and argument are some of the most important keys to real democracy.  It is best if we each advocate as individuals, working together on common causes.  And that we listen to the advocacy of one other in hopes of self-betterment and in the interests of social cohesion.  Albeit, some may consider those to be “humanistic” values.  Perhaps.  Democracy is not simply consensus.  It does require certain enlightenment values.

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Posted: 01 June 2008 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 01 June 2008 08:38 AM
Jackson - 01 June 2008 07:36 AM

While your concept is well-meaning, I don’t agree that Humanists represent humanity unless democratically elected.  Even within the Humanist movement itself I would like to see a more democratic movement.  Instead I see a variety of organizations each centered around an individual rather than the organization’s objective.  What do you think?

While I do identify as a humanist, I am also a “free” thinker.  Indeed, I consider freedom and independence of thought to be integral values to what I regard as humanism.  When someone says something that I can support I have no problem getting behind it, but it is because I support it that I am behind it.  In many ways it would be hypocritical of me to demand that right for myself yet attempt to deny it to others with whom I disagree.

The individual remains free, Ras, and that isn’t inconsistent with Mr. Jackson’s provision that democracy be the process. Except he’s not seeing Humanists as making any political decisions, he’s seeing elected officials as being outside our organization (if we have one).

Am I reading you both correctly as deferring social issues elsewhere to remain free spirits, as univolved “free thinkers”? Does Humanism have a place outside the individual then?

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Posted: 01 June 2008 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I do not defer social issues elsewhere.  No.  I agree with you that humanism necessitates an involvement in social issues.  We must find a way to retain our independence with a simultaneous recognition and allowance for the fact that in society we are in many ways necessarily interdependent.

My concern is with the nature of leadership, in general, and the particular type of leadership that you seem to be proposing.  I posses what I consider to be a rather healthy skepticism toward power structures in general.  Not necessarily that there shouldn’t be any, but that they ought to exist in forms that place individual freedoms and liberties well near the center.

This quote, for example, jumped out at me.  Perhaps unnecessarily so.

Dwight Jones - 01 June 2008 07:54 AM

Leadership by individuals is essential during the setup period, but should give way and evolve toward a non-profit society in due course.

This eerily reminded me of Fidel Castro’s remarks that a society must sometimes step back (with regards to democratic participation in light of his dictatorship) in order to move forward.  I don’t doubt that Castro sees himself as being well intentioned for the people of Cuba, in his own Utopian sort of way.  And I will even admit that he has even made some constructive contributions to Cuban society.  But I tend to think that real steps forward in societal evolution have to come from the bottom up, as opposed to from the top down.

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Posted: 01 June 2008 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Dwight Jones - 01 June 2008 07:54 AM


Once Humanism is perceived by a larger public to be an umbrella guardian of the species ...  I expect the movement to be embraced wholeheartedly.

But to paraphrase   Juvenal  ,
who will protect us from these guardians?

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Posted: 01 June 2008 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Just imagine a time when humans finally embrace their full potential, and at the brink of such turning point we realize that homo sapience species have undergone speciation. Who do we embrace now?

v1ktor

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Posted: 01 June 2008 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Jackson - 01 June 2008 09:58 AM
Dwight Jones - 01 June 2008 07:54 AM


Once Humanism is perceived by a larger public to be an umbrella guardian of the species ...  I expect the movement to be embraced wholeheartedly.

But to paraphrase   Juvenal  ,
who will protect us from these guardians?

By that thinking, Jackie, you would be reluctant to see the UN administer the planet in partnership with Humanity, and are happier with our present system based on nuclear submarines.

“Oh no!”, you will demur, no doubt, but gratuitous Orwellianism is the credo that sustains the Pentagon. 

Humanism has enough of a negativity burden with atheism, please don’t add anarchy as well - that’s approaching nihilism. If you can’t trust your fellow man, you might find the Universe a lonely place. And maybe you do.

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