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Posted: 21 April 2009 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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asanta - 21 April 2009 01:35 PM

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

Thanks for asking.  I am agnostic and a Religious Humanist.  By that I mean I agree with the Humanist Manifestos.  By the way none of the fifteen Humanist Manifesto 1 articles mentions “god.”

Religious Humanism is defined very nicely in Humanist Manifesto 1.  It differs from Theistic Humanism in that Religious Humanism says “We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of ‘new thought’.”  Religious Humanism rejects theism.  Theistic Humanism, I assume by the use of “Theistic”, allows some form of diety.  The term is self contradictory.  It is very much like professing to be a Christian but being an atheist, an “Atheist Christian” would be a similar oxymoron.

Now having said that, the practice of Religious Humanism has virtually nothing to do with dieties of any kind including whether they exist or not.  While Religious Humanism rejects theism, it is not paramount as it is for atheists.  Religious Humanism seeks to create communities of like minded people who engage in social action, political action, advancement of science, ethical and moral treatment of our fellow human beings as well as animals and our total environment.  I have been a Humanist Minister certified by the American Humanist Association and have conducted 2 weddings and a funeral.  I might also mention that Religious Humanism differs from Unitarian-Universalism in that UU allows atheism, theism, Wicca, Buddhism, Druids, and is all inclusive.  I have also had experience as a member of the board of directors for several UU churches.

I am not, most profoundly, a “fundy” in the sense of Christian or Islamic religions.  Exactly how you would conclude I might be is perplexing to me and a clear indication I have not communicated effectively.  Mea culpa.

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Posted: 21 April 2009 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Martinus - 21 April 2009 01:54 PM
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.

We can have no more dialog on this subject as you either don’t understand my arguments or won’t.  Your flippant tone and including Baseball is unresponsive and totally off point!  The whole issue is whether Humanism, as defined today by organized Humanism including CFI, rejects theism.  It does - end of discussion!

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Posted: 21 April 2009 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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The whole issue is whether Humanism, as defined today by organized Humanism including CFI, rejects theism.  It does - end of discussion!

Since your thinking is based on that dogma, why did you start the discussion at all? Tsk, tsk; an appeal to authority does not become an atheist.

And as an agnostic, you do leave yourself some options..

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Posted: 21 April 2009 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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George - 21 April 2009 02:00 PM

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

sort of like when I’m at work ......some smile times…...

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Posted: 21 April 2009 11:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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wesmjohnson - 21 April 2009 12:53 PM

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 by calling it ‘evil’ you are offending those who do good things from a theistic perspective. That creates evil. I am not discussing the point that theism does not fit in humanism (I probably agree). But maybe theists could fit in a humanist organisation? That is not a question of fixed ideologies, but of mentality.
As an example, I know a buddhist centre, where one of the staff members is a franciscan nun. How is that possible? Maybe because she and the rest of the staff agree on what has to be done?

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Posted: 22 April 2009 12:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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wesmjohnson - 21 April 2009 02:25 PM
asanta - 21 April 2009 01:35 PM

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

Thanks for asking.  I am agnostic and a Religious Humanist.  By that I mean I agree with the Humanist Manifestos.  By the way none of the fifteen Humanist Manifesto 1 articles mentions “god.”

Religious Humanism is defined very nicely in Humanist Manifesto 1.  It differs from Theistic Humanism in that Religious Humanism says “We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of ‘new thought’.”  Religious Humanism rejects theism.  Theistic Humanism, I assume by the use of “Theistic”, allows some form of diety.  The term is self contradictory.  It is very much like professing to be a Christian but being an atheist, an “Atheist Christian” would be a similar oxymoron.

Now having said that, the practice of Religious Humanism has virtually nothing to do with dieties of any kind including whether they exist or not.  While Religious Humanism rejects theism, it is not paramount as it is for atheists.  Religious Humanism seeks to create communities of like minded people who engage in social action, political action, advancement of science, ethical and moral treatment of our fellow human beings as well as animals and our total environment.  I have been a Humanist Minister certified by the American Humanist Association and have conducted 2 weddings and a funeral.  I might also mention that Religious Humanism differs from Unitarian-Universalism in that UU allows atheism, theism, Wicca, Buddhism, Druids, and is all inclusive.  I have also had experience as a member of the board of directors for several UU churches.

I am not, most profoundly, a “fundy” in the sense of Christian or Islamic religions.  Exactly how you would conclude I might be is perplexing to me and a clear indication I have not communicated effectively.  Mea culpa.

cool smile

The rules for working in an animal shelter does not mention religion, but it does not mean that a religious person cannot work in an animal shelter. The fact that the humanist manifesto does NOT mention god, does not mean that someone who believes in a god cannot be a humanist. If, on the other hand it states that ‘a belief in a god is not compatible with the beliefs of our organization’—that would be a different can of worms, and would only apply to that specific organization. Witness the various religious organizations belonging to the same sect who cannot come to agreement as to whether gay marriage or legal abortion is compatible with the tenants of their religion and you should see the problem with your claim.

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Posted: 22 April 2009 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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GdB - 21 April 2009 11:57 PM
wesmjohnson - 21 April 2009 12:53 PM

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 by calling it ‘evil’ you are offending those who do good things from a theistic perspective. That creates evil. I am not discussing the point that theism does not fit in humanism (I probably agree). But maybe theists could fit in a humanist organisation? That is not a question of fixed ideologies, but of mentality.
As an example, I know a buddhist centre, where one of the staff members is a franciscan nun. How is that possible? Maybe because she and the rest of the staff agree on what has to be done?

GdB

Your example of the Franciscan Nun is interesting.  I suspect you are correct that they agree on what needs to be done.  Do they agree on why?  More importantly they are both Religions and have beliefs in the supernatural and prayer in addition to whatever the unnamed specific “what” on which they agree.  The way it all works is that they are all Humanitarians.  I really do not care that I offend theists whether they do good or not!  Their basic ideology is fatally flawed and can be warped (implies “evil” to me) to justify anything including good works .  Outside this forum and Humanist gatherings I tolerate Theists and treat them with civil respect.  However there is no room in a Humanist organization for theists.  Now, that is not to say that theist office workers are not employed by Humanist Organizations.  I would not hire such persons had I the hiring responsibility.

You make a distinction between “ideologies” and “mentality.”  I submit it is their and our (Humanists) ideology that drives their (our) mentality and it is therefore truly an issue of ideology.  There certainly is an overlap between Humanist ideals and ideals of some Theists.  People always behave in accord with their core beliefs (ideology).  Those beliefs may be very different from ones made public.

Humanist organizations work with theistic organizations for the common good and that’s the way it should be.  People whose ideology values the common good should come together to support their common ideals.  After all that’s how our President was elected.  I know I did quite a lot of canvassing with Theists.  I have worked alongside Theists in river clean-up and other environmental activities.  On the practical side when participating with theists it has been my experience for them to use the opportunity to proselytize and are sure to tell everyone that the activity is brought to you by God.

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Posted: 22 April 2009 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Martinus - 21 April 2009 03:47 PM

The whole issue is whether Humanism, as defined today by organized Humanism including CFI, rejects theism.  It does - end of discussion!

Since your thinking is based on that dogma, why did you start the discussion at all? Tsk, tsk; an appeal to authority does not become an atheist.

And as an agnostic, you do leave yourself some options..

My statements are not a fallacy.  To be so accused is like being accused of “Appeal to Authority” for citing the dictionary.  I am simply providing the common definitions of Humanism as documented by Organized Humanism.  Definitions that have been rejected by some posting in this topic.  It is clear that you think a statement of principles, here Humanist principles, is dogma.  Are the statements in the Bill of Rights dogma as well?  I guess your answer would be “they are.”  Why are you on this “dogma” search and destroy mission?  Such a search sounds kind of dogmatic.

Actually the discussion was started by others who wrongly claim Humanism is open to Theists.  At least one other topic in this forum under “Humanism” contains similar discussions and if I recall correctly you posted there.

As an agnostic I just don’t know and neither do you.  Were there sufficient physical evidence of a Deity I would, per force, change my opinion.  Of course it would no longer be an opinion - it would be fact.  But alas there is no evidence for such existence.  All the evidence, more each day revealed by the method of science, points to chance and regularity of relationships.

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Posted: 22 April 2009 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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wesmjohnson - 22 April 2009 07:32 AM

As an agnostic I just don’t know and neither do you.  Were there sufficient physical evidence of a Deity I would, per force, change my opinion.  Of course it would no longer be an opinion - it would be fact.  But alas there is no evidence for such existence.

OK, so you see no evidence of a deity, just as we believe there are no little green men on the moon, and very few Martians in evidence. No unicorns, dragons or leprechauns either. It is as if you would want to destroy the myth of Santa Claus lest children continue onto the harder stuff.

Should we revise all our concepts and manifestos to explicitly exclude any and all of the above, or more astutely leave those matters as discretionary to any intelligent mind? 

Until there is some evidence of their existence, it serves no purpose to have some draconian policy that impacts people who innocently believe in these and kindred spirits. Not when we have so much work to do as a species that is struggling with its own survival, fouling its own nest and every other living creature’s as well.

There is no place for the supernatural, in any form, within Humanism, which again I view as “an inclusive and responsible sensibility toward our species, planet and lives.”

Nobody cares what I am not, but they do have some interest in who I am and what I am doing. And they would prefer that I pay attention to my own prospects first, rather than proscribing their own thoughts and behaviour.

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Posted: 22 April 2009 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Martinus - 22 April 2009 07:52 AM
wesmjohnson - 22 April 2009 07:32 AM

As an agnostic I just don’t know and neither do you.  Were there sufficient physical evidence of a Deity I would, per force, change my opinion.  Of course it would no longer be an opinion - it would be fact.  But alas there is no evidence for such existence.

OK, so you see no evidence of a deity, just as we believe there are no little green men on the moon, and very few Martians in evidence. No unicorns, dragons or leprechauns either. It is as if you would want to destroy the myth of Santa Claus lest children continue onto the harder stuff.

Should we revise all our concepts and manifestos to explicitly exclude any and all of the above, or more astutely leave those matters as discretionary to any intelligent mind? 

Until there is some evidence of their existence, it serves no purpose to have some draconian policy that impacts people who innocently believe in these and kindred spirits. Not when we have so much work to do as a species that is struggling with its own survival, fouling its own nest and every other living creature’s as well.

There is no place for the supernatural, in any form, within Humanism, which again I view as “an inclusive and responsible sensibility toward our species, planet and lives.”

Nobody cares what I am not, but they do have some interest in who I am and what I am doing. And they would prefer that I pay attention to my own prospects first, rather than proscribing their own thoughts and behaviour.


Yes, I would not subject children or anyone else to myth and superstition - you would?  Religious treatment of children (including Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and circumcision) have been argued to be child abuse.  You support such abuse?

Of course one cannot exclude all the possible things people could dream up but intelligence alone is insufficient.  One needs understanding of the physical world, knowledge of human beings and their strengths and weaknesses.  We need communities.  Communities where we can meet with other people who share our ideology, our joys, concerns, hopes, and dreams.

Not allowing Theism in Humanism is hardly “Draconian.”  Simply because one believes something “innocently” carries no weight and is fallacious.  The suicide bombers believe “innocently” that they will go directly to heaven when they kill their enemies.  You support that innocent activity?

So, in the name of “a species that is struggling with its own survival, fouling its own nest and every other living creature’s as well” you would allow any ideology or belief?  Even a belief that all humans should die if they do not believe a certain way?

If you define Humanism as: “an inclusive and responsible sensibility toward our species, planet and lives”,  I clearly disagree with the “inclusive” part.  What you define is Humanitarianism.  As I mentioned before excluding theism is not a paramount interest for Humanism or personally for me.  Behaving ethically and morally is the goal.  I submit for your consideration the fourteenth article from Humanist Manifesto 1.  “The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.”

Yes, people do not care what you are not.  They care what you do and especially what you can do for them.  Self interest is part of our humanity.

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Posted: 22 April 2009 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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Telling kids that Santa brings them presents on Christmas is a child abuse?

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Posted: 22 April 2009 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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Doug Smith taught me a word on this forum once, “Paternalistic”. I hate to sound paternalistic here, but I’m following this and other type discussions.
BOTTOM LINE: There is NO Argument concerning humanism. As I once complained, in another thread, concerning The Rules of this Forum-specifically the rule that states “all people and members shall be regarded as humanists for the interest of this forum…” That is a paraphrase.  I didn’t agree with it then, and I’m still touchy on it. But then, on the otherhand, NO Humanist, could ever faithfully engage in debate about the meaning of humanism, and especially who is and who is not “qualified” to “BE” a humanist.
Would I be wrong to suggest that one of the first “qualifications” of any humanist would be Acceptance. Practically, unquestioning acceptence.( By unquestioning I mean non-judgemental, not un-scientific)
If any humanist wanted to “Stoop Down” to finding faults with someone or something, I guess that would be “ok”, but to not fully understand the science behind the reasons why you reject something in the first place is not good.  In otherwords is any humanist prepared to say he or she is more human than someone else?

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Posted: 22 April 2009 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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asanta - 22 April 2009 12:49 AM

The rules for working in an animal shelter does not mention religion, but it does not mean that a religious person cannot work in an animal shelter. The fact that the humanist manifesto does NOT mention god, does not mean that someone who believes in a god cannot be a humanist. If, on the other hand it states that ‘a belief in a god is not compatible with the beliefs of our organization’—that would be a different can of worms, and would only apply to that specific organization. Witness the various religious organizations belonging to the same sect who cannot come to agreement as to whether gay marriage or legal abortion is compatible with the tenants of their religion and you should see the problem with your claim.

Asanta.  An animal shelter is not a philosophy.  The analogy fails.  Humanist Manifesto 1 excludes theism and deism explicitly in article six.  Other articles among the fifteen clarify that exclusion.  It is clear from the manifesto that theism and deism are not compatible with Religious Humanism.  Humanistic Judaism founder Rabbi Wine, in his book “Judaism Beyond God” clearly excludes God (Theism) from Humanistic Judaism.  The SJH says “We possess the power and responsibility to shape our own lives independent of supernatural authority.”  Clearly rejects Theism, no entanglement.  The Society for Ethical Culture says “We stand for separation of church and state. We believe acting morally does not require belief in a god. We place our faith in the demonstrated capacity of people to do wonderful things.”  In Ethical Culture “God” is ignored, never mentioned.  In all practicality “God” does not exist for Ethical Culture.  It is another way to be atheistic, agnostic if you will.  The Council for Secular Humanism says “Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs.”  Clearly non-theist.  Humanist Manifesto 2000 says “The unique message of humanism on the current world scene is its commitment to scientific naturalism. Most world views accepted today are spiritual, mystical, or theological in character. They have their origins in ancient pre-urban, nomadic, and agricultural societies of the past, not in the modern industrial or postindustrial global information culture that is emerging. Scientific naturalism enables human beings to construct a coherent world view disentangled from metaphysics or theology and based on the sciences.”  Clearly non-theistic.  In no case is Theism compatible with Humanism.  The manifestos and statements from the Secular and Religious Humanist organizations reject Theism.  They speak for and are Humanism.  I am not reforming Humanism making it out to be something it is not.  I am reporting the definition of Humanism.

I see no problem with “my claim” as you put it.  It is a reflection of the current definition of Humanism, one to which I subscribe.  What I do see is an effort to hijack Humanism by Theists.

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Posted: 22 April 2009 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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George - 22 April 2009 10:40 AM

Telling kids that Santa brings them presents on Christmas is a child abuse?

Yes, at some level it is.  You support lying to children?  It is a deceitful practice and teaches children that lying is acceptable.

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Posted: 22 April 2009 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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I am really not sure how to answer to this without running the risk of being bombarded by the moderators’ blue ink and perhaps even getting banned from this site. But I’ll say at least this much: I think your fanaticism is bordering on insanity, wesmjohnson.

And now you can blue-ink me.

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