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Positive, Proactive Humanism vs Atheism/Theism
Posted: 01 June 2008 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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V1ktor - 01 June 2008 10:44 AM

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

Very nice, V1k.

In the time of David Hume or Voltaire two or three centuries ago, to be a Humanist was to discover the Greek classics and come out from under the thumb of the church. We did not know we were a species, and it was enough to be a free thinker.

But today we know who we are, and it makes a difference. Having pride in our species is like family pride - it’s not a dangerous phenomenon as Jackie suspects. It’s joyful end to war planning and a new beginning toward a Human heaven on Earth.

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Posted: 01 June 2008 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Human heaven on Earth….Utopia.

v1ktor

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Posted: 01 June 2008 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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V1ktor,

Don’t you think that it is worthwhile to pursue ideals?

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Posted: 02 June 2008 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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I am very skeptical of perfection. It’s not achievable; indeed, it’s not even clear what perfection would look like, since each person has their own private notion of what sort of perfection they would prefer. Better to be a realist and pursue realistic goals, IMO.

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Posted: 02 June 2008 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Yes Doug.  There most certainly is a point, somewhere, in which certain goals are unrealistic.  Certain ideals are also of debatable merit and many serve as little more than purely subjective advocation.

I guess that my point was that I don’t see anything wrong with publicly advocating social ideals any more than I see anything wrong with advocating principles of moral conduct.  In general I think that it is constructive for people to advocate, in this sense, and that it is also constructive for others to challenge such advocacy through reasoned criticism and argument.

While certain social ideals may be impractical, some are quite practical.  Perhaps it would have been better wording for me to have asked about where, in particular, we should draw the line in distinguishing between between realistic and unrealistic goal setting.

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Posted: 02 June 2008 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Dwight Jones - 17 May 2008 08:14 AM

Do you agree that Humanism is about to shed its identification with atheism and instead become associated with humanists and Humanity?

I ask that because in my estimation the term “secular humanism” has been so damning over the years that one must wonder if we can ever lose the association people have for us as eternal combatants in the atheism/theism wars.

Since the ascendancy of the religious right within Bush’s presidencies, theism has become visible front and center and, while Humanism has had some moderate exposure on the coat-tails of the skeptics, who have been drawn into raging debates with fundamentalists, this has come at an awful price - our ranks are awash with simple atheists who fancy themselves freethinkers. Is there any prospect of us shedding these social climbers to become known for ideas about humans rather than denigrators of the god heads?

Gerald LaRue wrote an excellent essay on this issue called “Positive Humanism” http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gerald_larue/positive.html in 1978 in which he anticipated that Humanism had to become known for its own projects, beyond the trivial mantle of atheism.

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.

Homo Sapiens is a lonely figure, suffering from an inability to control a cancerous weapons culture, while expanding its numbers like rats eating up the planet’s scarce resources. Nobody is calling down the militarists, who build atomic bombs and every manner of machine designed only to maim and murder our own kind, wasting our wealth and talent. Humanists must introduce the concept of “anti-human” activity and criminalize it. The military must be identified and outlawed as terrorist institutions.

In the end, all devices designed to injure any animal must be banned as cultural hygiene.

We have seen “political correctness”, despite its excesses bring benefits as it became fashionable, helping to unburden minorities and the disadvantaged. “Global warming” has aroused sympathy for the planet and our pollution problems.

Now we need to get to the root of the matter, through proactive Humanism, to address our impoverishment through arms races, our neglect of the UN, the rampant corruption and nationalism/jingoism that are all anti-human phenomena that Humanists can step forward to preclude and replace with an efficient order.

I ask you then, is there any hope that Humanists can get past haggling with theists and leave them in the middle ages where they and those arguments belong, the better to champion who we are and might become?

I agree with Dwight. To his critics, I suggest that it’s a matter of focus, not alignment.

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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: 02 June 2008 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 02 June 2008 05:26 AM

I guess that my point was that I don’t see anything wrong with publicly advocating social ideals any more than I see anything wrong with advocating principles of moral conduct.  In general I think that it is constructive for people to advocate, in this sense, and that it is also constructive for others to challenge such advocacy through reasoned criticism and argument.

Agreed, for sure.

erasmusinfinity - 02 June 2008 05:26 AM

While certain social ideals may be impractical, some are quite practical.  Perhaps it would have been better wording for me to have asked about where, in particular, we should draw the line in distinguishing between between realistic and unrealistic goal setting.

That’s a very good question.

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Posted: 02 June 2008 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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PLaClair - 02 June 2008 06:13 AM
Dwight Jones - 17 May 2008 08:14 AM

I ask you then, is there any hope that Humanists can get past haggling with theists and leave them in the middle ages where they and those arguments belong, the better to champion who we are and might become?

I agree with Dwight. To his critics, I suggest that it’s a matter of focus, not alignment.

When I mentioned a human heaven on Earth, which V1ktor upgraded to Utopia wink I was thinking of the theists, and how they so utterly miss Life’s miracle in their vain hope for a fantasized supernatural heaven.

To my estimation, everything alive is in heaven, and I believe every living thing will concur with that (just try taking it away..).
So the Earth doesn’t have to be perfect, and as Doug said, it is wiser to set lower expectations to avoid continuous disillusionment.

I would like to see children taught to contemplate just how rare and precious Life is, so that they will always know that regardless of other circumstances, they were born into heaven in a very real way. We all share Life’s beauty by our daily reflection in her mirror.

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Posted: 02 June 2008 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Dwight Jones - 01 June 2008 08:57 AM
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?

I’m not sure what the phrase “defering social issues elsewhere” means.  My point is that to make a difference, we need to convince others, and there needs to be a consensus about where we are going and how we are going to get there.

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Posted: 03 June 2008 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Dwight Jones - 02 June 2008 07:11 AM
PLaClair - 02 June 2008 06:13 AM
Dwight Jones - 17 May 2008 08:14 AM

I ask you then, is there any hope that Humanists can get past haggling with theists and leave them in the middle ages where they and those arguments belong, the better to champion who we are and might become?

I agree with Dwight. To his critics, I suggest that it’s a matter of focus, not alignment.

When I mentioned a human heaven on Earth, which V1ktor upgraded to Utopia wink I was thinking of the theists, and how they so utterly miss Life’s miracle in their vain hope for a fantasized supernatural heaven.

To my estimation, everything alive is in heaven, and I believe every living thing will concur with that (just try taking it away..).
So the Earth doesn’t have to be perfect, and as Doug said, it is wiser to set lower expectations to avoid continuous disillusionment.

I would like to see children taught to contemplate just how rare and precious Life is, so that they will always know that regardless of other circumstances, they were born into heaven in a very real way. We all share Life’s beauty by our daily reflection in her mirror.

It’s funny, theists are preoccupied with heaven so bad that they miss out on the real heaven, their own life.

erasmusinfinity: I never said Utopia is bad, actually I’m perfectionist. I developed that trait as visual artist, photographer. I tend to be very picky with my images, and somehow it spilled over into my every day life.

Everything is the way we perceive it, so with different people everything seems different. Like humans, we seem alike but everyone is unique. To me, perfection is the way I perceive it to be complete or “good” according to my standards.

Perfectionism is one of the hardest traits to posses. It makes life a bit hard, yet work quality has no equals.

v1ktor

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Posted: 03 June 2008 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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V1ktor - 31 May 2008 10:55 AM

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

These are not the official definitions of humanism, for that refer to individuals and groups who define themselves as humanists. As I noted previously , there are others, Humanistic Judaism. Should I tell them they are not humanists because it does not fit in with your dictionary definitions? Would it not be better to have a majority of jews, xians and muslims subscribing to a humanistic versions of their religion rather than what currently occurs?

V1ktor - 31 May 2008 10:55 AM

As you can see besides the human part, humanism needs reason. You cannot have reason and believe in any sort of supernatural “thing”.

Like you I wish this was a black and white situation but in reality it is different. Many religions are rational - and use reason - where they fail is over the empirical components (e.g faith ignoring evidence).

V1ktor - 31 May 2008 10:55 AM

theists taught me one lesson….use dictionary. They always start making up their own definitions, so I have to slap them with a dictionary.

Yes but what about definitions of religions themselves - often written ignoring eastern religions… There is no reliable consistent definition of religion as of many other grand terms such as consciousness etc.

V1ktor - 31 May 2008 10:55 AM

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.

I like that distinction.

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Posted: 03 June 2008 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 31 May 2008 08:34 AM

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

Well not necessarily unfortunate, depending if you are single and who the person is who is doing the misunderstanding… smile It was for that reason that I started liking calling myself a naturalist!  cool smile

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Posted: 03 June 2008 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Mriana - 31 May 2008 09:43 AM

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.

As I did say at the end of the post that you were responding to “In that sense I am a naturalist and ethical humanist.” (P.S. One of the appeals to me of the Desire Consequentialism that I have been arguing for in other threads is that is provides an empirical foundation for humanistic values).

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Posted: 03 June 2008 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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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.

For alt med, what is wrong with a not government providing it? Anyway there are standards imposed in many professions and businesses why should medicine be an exception due to belief? We don’t have exceptions for drink driving based on religious rituals or whatever. As for imposing beliefs over children’s medical care, the challenge is to see whether this falls under abuse of minors by guardians, in which case it is usually justified for the state to get involved. As for adults, caveat emptor.

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Posted: 03 June 2008 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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V1ktor, I wasn’t meaning to suggest anything about your views in particular.  I am also quite skeptical of certain Utopian visions, but like you I also think that it is worthwhile to strive for one’s ideas of perfection.  Particularly when they are good ideals that have been well thought out.  I even believe that perfection can be attained, in a sense, with regards to the meeting of specific goals when they are clearly laid out and then met.

I have said that I don’t like the label “atheist” more than once on this forum.  But, of course, in the eyes of most theists I still am an atheist… heathen… infidel… whatever.  There was even a thread on this forum in which I said this, and a christian replied with a comment to the effect of “how can you deny what you are?”  It is a shame, but most of us who are not religious unfortunately have to deal with religious dogma as a regular part of our daily lives.  Thus, I do belong in the category of non-religious persons that believes that “we” should actively criticize and oppose religious dogma.

Regardless, I must say that I much appreciate the spirit of Dwight’s web site.  Even if I don’t agree full-on with the point on this thread about “atheism” being something to be left behind or for “us” to disassociate ourselves from.  The focus of his web site is information and advocacy over what seem to be globally humane issues.  I agree with Dwight that such issues ought to be the main focus of humanist advocacy.  I see religious skepticism only as an aggregate part of this greater whole.  What ought to matter most to “us” are human rights, liberties, welfare and general moral decency.  My beef with religion is that I see it as an affront to those values, which is why I am a “secular” sort of humanist.  I see no good reason to be polite about religion, but without an underlying core of humanistic values “atheism” is hollow as a cause.

[ Edited: 03 June 2008 09:53 AM by erasmusinfinity ]
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