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Posted: 20 April 2009 05:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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My, my Occam, me thinks you protest too much.  Your responses are comprised of unhelpful assertions that somehow you know better that I and unsupported disagreements.  You object to my call to other people who have formally studied Humanism as an “Authority” ploy followed by your own based on age (ad hominium).  Perhaps you do know better than I but you do not demonstrate your superior knowledge.  And I have read the very unenlightening posts.  [Did you mean Humanist Manifesto 1 when you referred to H.F. 1?]  Humanist Manifesto #1 was a statement of “Religious Humanism.”  When was the last time you read it?  Article six says: “We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of ‘new thought.’”  Sounds like a very clear rejection of theism to me.  How can it be read as allowing theism?  I just reread HM #1, please tell me which of the Fifteen articles mention God, I was unable to find even one mention.

It is indeed a shame you are so adamant to include theism in Humanism.  Whether you like it or not Humanism, in the sense of organized Humanism, and that includes: Ethical Culture Society, Humanistic Judaism, Council for Secular Humanism, and American Humanist Association, is non-theistic.  Taken together those organizations ARE Humanism and speak FOR Humanism.  While Humanism, as a philosophy, changes over time it has not and cannot allow theism, for to do so destroys it and in it’s demise creates just another theistic belief system.

What amazes me most is that here on a CFI forum the subject is debated at all.  Humanism is non-theistic, period.  What frightens and angers me is the specter of creeping theism.  Theism making an incursion, perhaps invasion into what I have understood and cherished as a God Free zone.  I consider those who advocate any theistic element in Humanism to be agents of un-reason, and superstition, anti-intellectual, anti-science, and all the other issues Humanism has long abhorred and soundly rejected.

For me there is no room in Humanism for theism in any form.  There is a wide world of theistic belief systems and I encourage those who embrace them to leave non-theists alone.  Take your theism elsewhere.

Yes VYAZMA one does need training in Humanism in order to understand how it is defined and what it means.  Humanism is a robust and complex moral and ethical philosophy that rejects theism in every form.  Like any other subject it requires study.

It is also true that atheists are not necessarily Humanists.  Atheism is not a robust philosophy, it is a simple position on God’s existence.  This entire discussion is not some urinating contest seeking or demonstrating authority - it is at the core of what Humanism means.  This is a definitional exchange between those who either do not know Humanism or who are moving to co-opt it into the Theistic camp.

Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.”  Theism is evil in every form and must be countered whenever it raises its ugly head.  I will personally resist the infiltration of theism into Humanism with whatever resources I have!

Wes

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Posted: 20 April 2009 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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dougsmith - 17 April 2009 06:22 PM

Well, historically although humanism wasn’t necessarily atheist (the Renaissance humanists were all Catholics), nevertheless it represented a rebirth of classical learning that did signify the relative demotion of the Bible, God and religion as the centers of human life. In that sense, I think there is something of a natural historical relationship between humanism and atheism, via some form of secularism.

But in saying there’s a natural relationship I’m not saying that one can’t be a religious (or even a Christian) humanist. Clearly you can be, as the Renaissance humanists were.

Doug, just because the Renaissance humanists (small h) were raised Christian or even remained Christian does not mean that Humanism today allows theism.  I am using the common definition of Christian. Your use of the present tense, referring to the Renaissance humanists, may be misleading.  It was possible to have been a Christian humanism (small h) at that time.  But the philosophy of Humanism has moved on as documented in the Humanist Manifestos.  You also note, in a strange way, that given a “natural” relationship between atheism and humanism, somehow does not preclude one from being religious.  I am not sure why you phrased it that way.  Being “religious” in no way connotes theism (non atheism).  Religious Humanism is all about celebrating being human, warts and all, without a diety.  Today, non-theism is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a Humanist.  Such definitional precision is required in view of relentless theistic attacks.

Wes

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Posted: 20 April 2009 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Mriana - 19 April 2009 08:34 PM

Spong is Episcopalian.

Poorly defined- try Anthony Freeman and Don Cupitt who talk about humanism too.

Irony, dear, irony!

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Posted: 21 April 2009 12:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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wesmjohnson - 20 April 2009 05:56 AM

Theism is evil in every form and must be countered whenever it raises its ugly head.  I will personally resist the infiltration of theism into Humanism with whatever resources I have!

Calling something evil is evil.

I hope you have plans for a secret police to avoid such evil infiltration. Otherwise we will never succeed.

GdB

(Please add your own [irony] tags where needed).

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Posted: 21 April 2009 01:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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wesmjohnson - 20 April 2009 06:30 AM

Doug, just because the Renaissance humanists (small h) were raised Christian or even remained Christian does not mean that Humanism today allows theism.  I am using the common definition of Christian. Your use of the present tense, referring to the Renaissance humanists, may be misleading.  It was possible to have been a Christian humanism (small h) at that time.  But the philosophy of Humanism has moved on as documented in the Humanist Manifestos.  You also note, in a strange way, that given a “natural” relationship between atheism and humanism, somehow does not preclude one from being religious.  I am not sure why you phrased it that way.  Being “religious” in no way connotes theism (non atheism).  Religious Humanism is all about celebrating being human, warts and all, without a diety.  Today, non-theism is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a Humanist.  Such definitional precision is required in view of relentless theistic attacks.

Wes

You sound very much like Martin Luther banging on doors and hanging missives decrying indulgences and declaring that his way of worshiping god is the ONLY way. Dogma is dogma, and your stance is rather dogmatic. And wow! I love the way you redefined Religious Humanism in a way that most theistic Humanist would NEVER recognize!

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Posted: 21 April 2009 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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GdB - 21 April 2009 12:02 AM

Calling something evil is evil.
...
(Please add your own [irony] tags where needed).

I agree the discussion gets sidetracked by throwing the E-word

This is an interesting way of phrasing it.

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Posted: 21 April 2009 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Occam - 17 April 2009 11:32 PM

It’s interesting that when the American Humanist Association was formed in the early 1930s they wrote Humanist Manifesto I.  It contained a number of references to god.  Then they wrote Humanist Manifesto II many years later, I think in the 1970s (mainly by Paul Kurtz).  It did not contain any references to a god.  Very shortly after that Kurtz had some disagreement with the AHA and formed the Secular Humanists, which do pretty well reject the existence of a god as part of their concept of humanism.  However, note their name - it specifically modifies the second word with the first which may indicate that one can be a humanist without being required to be an atheist.

Occam

That’s a very good point, as is Doug’s before it. It’s time to reserve the term Humanist for someone contributing to Humanity, not just proclaimants of theistic independence unilaterally assuming the mantle. You had might as well proclaim that you don’t follow baseball either, forwarding atheism as credentials for Humanism. It’s a reaction to American fundamentalism.

I think the root cause of Humanism’s low profile may lie deeper, in the fact that our species is somewhat ashamed of itself at this moment in history, perhaps deservedly so given the events of the 20th century, and it’s just not fashionable to cheer on our own kind or show interest in our affairs beyond cynicism. In fairness, Humanists have not been helped by Humanity’s recent track record.

Still, we must hope the Bush era taught us all that religious oligarchies are not to be respected any more, and that perhaps something like world government should be given a chance to harmonize things.

[ Edited: 21 April 2009 10:34 AM by Martinus ]
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Posted: 21 April 2009 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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asanta - 21 April 2009 01:45 AM
wesmjohnson - 20 April 2009 06:30 AM

Doug, just because the Renaissance humanists (small h) were raised Christian or even remained Christian does not mean that Humanism today allows theism.  I am using the common definition of Christian. Your use of the present tense, referring to the Renaissance humanists, may be misleading.  It was possible to have been a Christian humanism (small h) at that time.  But the philosophy of Humanism has moved on as documented in the Humanist Manifestos.  You also note, in a strange way, that given a “natural” relationship between atheism and humanism, somehow does not preclude one from being religious.  I am not sure why you phrased it that way.  Being “religious” in no way connotes theism (non atheism).  Religious Humanism is all about celebrating being human, warts and all, without a diety.  Today, non-theism is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a Humanist.  Such definitional precision is required in view of relentless theistic attacks.

Wes

You sound very much like Martin Luther banging on doors and hanging missives decrying indulgences and declaring that his way of worshiping god is the ONLY way. Dogma is dogma, and your stance is rather dogmatic. And wow! I love the way you redefined Religious Humanism in a way that most theistic Humanist would NEVER recognize!


This discussion is not superficial as you seem to imply nor is it anything like Luther!  I am simply being true to the founding principles of Humanism as defined in the Manifestos and Organized Humanism including CFI.  Every philosophy has boundaries and to classify one’s self as part of a specific philosophy requires adopting the tenets thereof.  Rejecting those tenets presents a conflicting situation where words are used with whatever meaning the speaker chooses to give them.  Confusion is the natural result.  Rejecting those tenets creates a whole new thing as it did for Martin Luther and other reformers.  I am not seeking to reform Humanism, that is the task you and others are taking on.  I could say your instance on redefining Humanism to include theism is very much like Luther and very dogmatic.

As I have noted before the term “theistic Humanist” is an oxymoron.  Religious Humanism is altogether different and clearly defined.

You might call me Fundamentalist Humanist to which I would plead guilty.

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Posted: 21 April 2009 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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GdB - 21 April 2009 12:02 AM
wesmjohnson - 20 April 2009 05:56 AM

Theism is evil in every form and must be countered whenever it raises its ugly head.  I will personally resist the infiltration of theism into Humanism with whatever resources I have!

Calling something evil is evil.

I hope you have plans for a secret police to avoid such evil infiltration. Otherwise we will never succeed.
GdB

(Please add your own [irony] tags where needed).

Evil is as evil does!  Perhaps “evil” is a bit strong although when coupled with Theism I think it is appropriate.  What makes Theism evil is a whole other discussion.  Nonetheless Theism is a menace and solidly non-humanistic.  Once a deity is present all manner of horrific things can, have and do take place.  Theism has all manner of venues, Humanism is not one them - by definition.

But with all that the yet to be addressed question is why is Theism being forced into Humanism?

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Posted: 21 April 2009 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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So let humanism include theism and make up a new one: I dunno, homosapiensism, or something like that. Does it really matter? Or you can just be nice to people without any label at all.

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Posted: 21 April 2009 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Martinus - 21 April 2009 10:30 AM

It’s time to reserve the term Humanist for someone contributing to Humanity, not just proclaimants of theistic independence unilaterally assuming the mantle. You had might as well proclaim that you don’t follow baseball either, forwarding atheism as credentials for Humanism. It’s a reaction to American fundamentalism.

I think the root cause of Humanism’s low profile may lie deeper, in the fact that our species is somewhat ashamed of itself at this moment in history, perhaps deservedly so given the events of the 20th century, and it’s just not fashionable to cheer on our own kind or show interest in our affairs beyond cynicism. In fairness, Humanists have not been helped by Humanity’s recent track record.

Still, we must hope the Bush era taught us all that religious oligarchies are not to be respected any more, and that perhaps something like world government should be given a chance to harmonize things.

Martinus, it is not “time to reserve (hijack) the word “Humanist” to mean contributing to humanity.”  That is the very definition of Humanitarian! [Merriam-Webster -  “a person promoting human welfare and social reform.”  Humanitarians can be secular, religious, theistic, or any other kind of “istic” you care to name.  What can’t be is Humanism redefined from its foundation as including theism.  Further it is historically inaccurate to suggest Humanism is a reaction to “American Fundamentalism” (assuming you mean Christian and Islamic).  Quite the reverse is true.

Like it or not atheism is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a Humanist.  If you are theistic you are not a Humanist and I think you are a Humanitarian.

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Posted: 21 April 2009 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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George - 21 April 2009 01:03 PM

So let humanism include theism and make up a new one: I dunno, homosapiensism, or something like that. Does it really matter? Or you can just be nice to people without any label at all.

It does matter!  Humanism, as defined but the Humanist Manifestos and Organized Humanism, has an existing claim to the word.  It is incumbent on the hijackers and normal to find a new name.  Call it theistic Humanitarianism or just Humanitarianism.  The current definition fits like a glove and describes its attributes nicely.  When the Wesley brothers created their new method of worship they became the Methodists and did not call themselves Catholic or Lutheran.

Labels are important and very human.  We classify, sort and discriminate as part of humanity.  We are lost with out labels that’s why we use them across all cultures.  It is very cute to suggest “just be nice” and as simplistic as “just say no.”

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Posted: 21 April 2009 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Okay..I’ll bite…what is the difference (In your exalted eyes) between ‘theistic humanism’ and ‘religious humanism’?
You are sounding more and more like a religious fundy who needs to break off and form his own church full of personal adherents. smirk

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Posted: 21 April 2009 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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wesmjohnson - 21 April 2009 01:18 PM

Martinus, it is not “time to reserve (hijack) the word “Humanist” to mean contributing to humanity.”  That is the very definition of Humanitarian! [Merriam-Webster -  “a person promoting human welfare and social reform.”  Humanitarians can be secular, religious, theistic, or any other kind of “istic” you care to name.

Humanism is short for Humanitarianism? I have no problem with that, we’re in full accord here.

What can’t be is Humanism redefined from its foundation as including theism.

Nice of you to disqualify half its history, from Petrarch onward. Only in the view of closet fundies warped by too much involvement in, or reaction to christian fundamentalism would we expect such a condition. Call yourself an atheist - it won’t hurt you. I’m not seeing any other concerns in your comments that would recommend you as an actual Humanist. You just want the appellation.

Further it is historically inaccurate to suggest Humanism is a reaction to “American Fundamentalism” (assuming you mean Christian and Islamic).  Quite the reverse is true.

Requiring atheism is an acting out of a fundamentalist preoccupation. The reverse- ignoring atheism - is hardly your approach.

Like it or not atheism is a necessary but not sufficient condition to be a Humanist.  If you are theistic you are not a Humanist and I think you are a Humanitarian.

May as well require a profound knowledge of baseball in there as well, Wes, that way the boys of summer will all be Humanists with you.

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Posted: 21 April 2009 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I guess the difference between being a Humanist and a nice person is that as a Humanist you have to be nice even if you don’t feel like it, right?  grin

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