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Developing a Humanist narrative
Posted: 11 January 2009 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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So, if the national debt were paid off at one dollar per second, it would take 3,170 centuries (not counting interest).  smile

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Posted: 11 January 2009 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Occam - 11 January 2009 05:59 PM

So, if the national debt were paid off at one dollar per second, it would take 3,170 centuries (not counting interest).  smile

Occam

Well, yes but we still have to pay for our sins..

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Posted: 11 January 2009 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Martinus - 08 January 2009 12:16 PM

I think Erasmus “carried the ball” during an early period and, as a Christian theologian, kept the church authorites at bay from sheer force of personality. I don’t see any great ideas floated by him, in fact he may have begun the association of the present day of Humanism= atheism by being so involved in church-reform matters (as many were during his era, of course).

That’s OK, but my vision of a Humanist narrative goes far beyond the confines of traditional, identified Humanism. I have in mind that we will tell the story of humanity. To me, that’s the Humanist narrative.

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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: 12 January 2009 12:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Quote Martinus: 

Well, yes but we still have to pay for our sins..

  Yeah, but not all of us voted for George Bush so are we exempt from this?

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Posted: 12 January 2009 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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PLaClair - 11 January 2009 09:47 PM
Martinus - 08 January 2009 12:16 PM

I think Erasmus “carried the ball” during an early period and, as a Christian theologian, kept the church authorites at bay from sheer force of personality. I don’t see any great ideas floated by him, in fact he may have begun the association of the present day of Humanism= atheism by being so involved in church-reform matters (as many were during his era, of course).

That’s OK, but my vision of a Humanist narrative goes far beyond the confines of traditional, identified Humanism. I have in mind that we will tell the story of humanity. To me, that’s the Humanist narrative.

Stop talking sense. Humanism is simply atheism dressed up for church, isn’t it? NOT!

We do indeed need a wide and continuing commentary on the species - hallo? - and how we might responsibly manage same, our planet, our future.

How about this: 
We launch a Humanist project whereby Homo sapiens attempts to provide every currently living Human with 1000 summers.

That is, we keep each other’s DNA, and stabilize and marshall the planet’s resources such that we can all enjoy a calm 1000 years, while together we build up our civilization tenets and institutions and develop a policy and vision vis a vis who/what we can become in this Universe.

After all, we may have a virgin Universe before us, and we have within us the power to have it nuture us. It would be a shame to miss it, and sadly become the last generation to die.

[ Edited: 12 January 2009 12:04 PM by Martinus ]
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Posted: 14 January 2009 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Martinus - 12 January 2009 12:01 PM

Stop talking sense. Humanism is simply atheism dressed up for church, isn’t it? NOT!

We do indeed need a wide and continuing commentary on the species - hallo? - and how we might responsibly manage same, our planet, our future.

How about this: 
We launch a Humanist project whereby Homo sapiens attempts to provide every currently living Human with 1000 summers.

That is, we keep each other’s DNA, and stabilize and marshall the planet’s resources such that we can all enjoy a calm 1000 years, while together we build up our civilization tenets and institutions and develop a policy and vision vis a vis who/what we can become in this Universe.

After all, we may have a virgin Universe before us, and we have within us the power to have it nuture us. It would be a shame to miss it, and sadly become the last generation to die.

You’ve hit the prevailing attitude on the head, which may be what we need to do.

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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: 15 January 2009 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Martinus - 12 January 2009 12:01 PM

Humanism is simply atheism dressed up for church, isn’t it? NOT!

Though I doubt anyone would agree, judging by the focus on atheism, secularism or religion in general it would be hard to defend against it. The vast majority of the time I see Humanism being discussed on this site it is about religion, as if that alone defines Humanism. And it is that monistic approach to Humanism which explains why I suggested Michael Albert talk about Liberating Theory and Complimentary Holism.

There are various “spheres” to society. Religion, or culture, certainly is evident in our communities, our familal relationships, the economy and politics, but it is hardly the whole, and many, on CFI, tend to focus on it in terms of discussing Humanism. What I find valuable in Complimentary Holism as a social theory is that not only does it refute monistic and pluralistic views of society but it also recognizes that not all societies are the same. We cant apply a Marxist approach to every aspect of every society nor can we apply an anarchist-feminist approach. This doesnt mean we cant find value in their approaches but as a whole they are so insufficient that it renders the final product skewed and distorted, possibly even disturbingly inaccurate.

We should be looking, for example, at gender relationships, and seeing how other social features beyond religion effect sexism (surely more than religion effects sexist oppression); or how sexuality is effected beyond religion (surely more than theistic dogma effects homophobia); or how racial, ethnic, national and other cultural forms of identity are adversely effected beyond religion (clearly religion alone cannot answer racism or xenophobia). And beyond analyzing various ways social elements interplay with each other (i.e socialization doesnt just occur in one sphere of social life but in all, and by being shaped in all we must look in all to best understand our socialization process to understand what, where and how we could or should respond if we feel the prevailing process is insufficient) to produce positive or negative consequences we should be taking that knowledge to envision improvement and strategize to make it happen.

It’s interesting because I am re-reading Dennet’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and I just got through with the part where he compares the R&D of speciation - accumulation of design - society itself. Knowing that evolution is not teleopathic, and that this is anthropic to say, but we can look at the course of our planets evolution and see how the successful modifications over vast periods of time have helped us exist and be who and what we are. It’s another way of validating Newton’s statement that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Well I see the value and prospect of Humanism as a social feature where we provide a more stable foundation for future generations to stand even higher on the shoulders of giants, and i think it is debilitating of those who call themselves Humanists to be so myopic in their view and focus of what Humanism can and should be.

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Posted: 15 January 2009 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Agreed, Evolution is not teleopathic, the strategy of the genes need not be ours. Humanity should answer to Humanism, and even that should be optional. If our institutions protect us, we can have pluralistic visions of ourselves and our prospects, and that has to be healthier than monistic approaches, “god” forbid..

Humanism can displace religion, bring personal and species responsibility, end fratricide, and open up secure perspectives for our future.

But first all Humanists must make a concerted effort to educate anyone who will listen that we have nothing at all to do with atheism. From there we can draft and commnet on the questions that will follow.

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Posted: 15 January 2009 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Martinus - 15 January 2009 10:03 AM

But first all Humanists must make a concerted effort to educate anyone who will listen that we have nothing at all to do with atheism. From there we can draft and commnet on the questions that will follow.

I agree and disagree. Perhaps you should consider rephrasing.

It is about atheism in that atheists and secularist should be treated and valued fairly in society, but it is not solely about atheism, and it’s not to say religion doesn’t or can’t have a place in Humanism because it most certainly does and and can.

I am an atheist and I have particularly strong objections to religious dogmas on many grounds but that doesn’t mean Humanism means no religion. It means coexisting, tolerance, diversity and so on. People can and will choose to believe what they believe and it will not always be the same.

But look at how the IHEU puts it:

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.

It is really good until the end when it excludes a huge part of the world based on their views of theism and the supernatural. I dont think disagreeing with theism or the supernatural is a sign of ethic superiority and I dont think excluding people on that basis is very ethical.

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Posted: 15 January 2009 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Martinus - 15 January 2009 10:03 AM

But first all Humanists must make a concerted effort to educate anyone who will listen that we have nothing at all to do with atheism. From there we can draft and comment on the questions that will follow.

I agree and disagree. Perhaps you should consider rephrasing.

It is about atheism in that atheists and secularist should be treated and valued fairly in society, but it is not solely about atheism, and it’s not to say religion doesn’t or can’t have a place in Humanism because it most certainly does and and can.

Humanists seem to fear the cachet “religious Humanism” and distance themselves from religion because of that. But I have no issues with people taking Humanism seriously to the point of it being their “religion”. It may be mine.

I am an atheist and I have particularly strong objections to religious dogmas on many grounds but that doesn’t mean Humanism means no religion. It means coexisting, tolerance, diversity and so on. People can and will choose to believe what they believe and it will not always be the same.

I am not an atheist, but I’m not a leprechaun or goblin either. It make no sense to claim we are not something that is not known to exist, a double negative that doesn’t turn positive..

But look at how the IHEU puts it:

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.

]It is really good until the end when it excludes a huge part of the world based on their views of theism and the supernatural. I dont think disagreeing with theism or the supernatural is a sign of ethic superiority and I dont think excluding people on that basis is very ethical.

Very true, Humanism must be INCLUSIVE. Like citizenship, you are born a Humanist and should be treated like one unless you emigrate formally to some other credo and advertise that fact.

My problem with the IHEU is they go along with Humanism=atheism a little too readily, they don’t want adjectives in front of “___________ Humanism”, but they don’t do anything to lessen our crippling association with atheism either. That should be their focus right now.

[ Edited: 15 January 2009 10:49 AM by Martinus ]
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Posted: 15 January 2009 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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And its only crippling because it excludes others.

I think that last quoted statement of the IHEU would be absolutely perfect if it left off that last sentence. While I think disagreeing with theism and the supernatural on certain terms resonates strongly with me I just cant see that doing so is ethically superior. Argumentively? Maybe. Ethically? Absolutely not.

Clearly theistic beliefs and beliefs in the supernatural can and have led to unethical behavior, but it just doesnt follow that all such beliefs lead to unethical behavior. Likewise, secular beliefs can and have led to unethical behavior, but it too doesnt follow that all such beliefs lead to unethical behavior.

So not only do I think there is an ethical argument against that last sentence but it is also highly counterproductive since it excludes billions of people from participating and supporting it.

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Posted: 15 January 2009 10:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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truthaddict - 15 January 2009 10:48 AM

And its only crippling because it excludes others.

I think that last quoted statement of the IHEU would be absolutely perfect if it left off that last sentence. While I think disagreeing with theism and the supernatural on certain terms resonates strongly with me I just cant see that doing so is ethically superior. Argumentively? Maybe. Ethically? Absolutely not.

Clearly theistic beliefs and beliefs in the supernatural can and have led to unethical behavior, but it just doesnt follow that all such beliefs lead to unethical behavior. Likewise, secular beliefs can and have led to unethical behavior, but it too doesnt follow that all such beliefs lead to unethical behavior.

So not only do I think there is an ethical argument against that last sentence but it is also highly counterproductive since it excludes billions of people from participating and supporting it.

I think “ethics” are innate in Humans, you don’t need them carried to you by a religion or any other feel-good institution. This fact is the basis of ready and universal brotherhood.

Your peers will let you know how to behave, and “ethics” will arise within literature and fable often enough that not many on this planet will be clueless about the golden rule or any other conduct issues. It is when we are taught these by family, friends and experience, without prescriptive drilling, that they best take root.

[ Edited: 15 January 2009 10:59 AM by Martinus ]
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Posted: 29 January 2009 10:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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PLaClair - 03 August 2008 11:03 PM

Most people prefer stories over statistics. Every nation, organization and religion has a narrative. Christianity has succeeded because it has a powerful narrative.

So true, we experience so many parts of ourselves and learn lessons and ways to live through story and narrative.  My mother seems to be going through a great misty-eyed midlife take on the story of her life at the moment. Yes, what is literal and what is parable, what lessons do you see can be a great big crystal ball exercise in regards to holy texts< powerful stuff.

Something probably a tad silly and not on topic - but lots of children’s fiction stories speak to what I see as a humanist bent. Such as “you had it inside you all along”, Glenda the good witch says to Dorothy. Or regressing even more, Dumbo the elephant:

“All goes well till one day, about to dive off the high platform in the middle of the act, Dumbo somehow loses the magic feather. Timothy Mouse, terrified, immediately yells and convinces him, “It isn’t really magic. You can fly on your own”. And Dumbo, flapping his enormous ears madly, discovers in that moment that it was not the feather at all which had the power of flight, but Dumbo himself”

That voice inside many people that they identify as “God”, helping them, guiding them…...hey it’s them, they had it all along. Many fictional stories emphasis the strength that comes from the realisation that we don’t need supernatural or magical talismans.

More on your topic, I find quite inspiring things like the struggle not to have creationism taught in schools. There are some great stories in that.

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