Poll
Does humanism or non-belief make you a better person?
Yes, I believe it does make me a better person. 11
No, It doesn’t 3
Total Votes: 14
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Humanist High Horse
Posted: 30 January 2009 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Who here believes that being a humanist non-believer etc. has made them a better person? More moral, ethical, intelligent etc. ?

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Dan

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Posted: 30 January 2009 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think it has because I have expanded my understanding of various philosophical and moral questions.

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Dan

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Posted: 30 January 2009 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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When I do the right thing, it is because it was the right thing to do, and not because some invisible overlord is watching and waiting to punish my infraction or reward my deed sometime in the ‘hereafter’. My life is not guided and hamstrung by superstition. smile

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 31 January 2009 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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When I was an evangelical, I lived in an isolated world. I was a stay at home mom, whose only social life revolved around the church. Doing good meant helping someone within the church, or donating to some cause that the church was endorsing. I have to admit that I had more than a few moments of resentment. Sometimes I felt I was giving to people who were in financial trouble through their own stupid mistakes. Sometimes I was pressured to give to causes I didn’t think were that worthy.

Free of the church, I can think and feel and choose for myself. Without inner resentments, I find I give more freely to people and causes I can really believe in. I’m much more interested in politics and humantarian efforts than I used to be.

In the church, your ‘continuing education’ centers on the Bible. Now it’s about politics, science, literature and history. I definitely feel I’m a better person for learning more about the world, its people, its wonders and its needs.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Dan, I’m a bit wary of the wording of the question.

I prefer rationality.
I believe rationality is conducive to being moral, ethical, and intelligent etc.
I believe rationality is conducive to lacking theistic belief.
It should go without saying that it is better (in ones view) to achieve what one prefers.

Does that answer your question?

PC

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PC

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Posted: 31 January 2009 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I did not vote in this poll, because I have some reservations, which I will express as:

Being a humanist non-believer has made me a better person.
Being a humanist non-believer does not necessarily make you a better person.

In other words, while it worked for me, and I know it has worked for many others, I am reluctant to prescribe it universally. I believe that children will turn out as better people if they naturally evolve into humanist non-belief. I may end up hijacking the topic with this idea, but I suggest that children need a strong sense of an uber-parent controlling the universe for good. That notion springs naturally from their earliest infantile dependence upon their parents, and I don’t think that children can make the jump from dependence to independence overnight. I think they need a transitional phase, which is supplied by religious belief. They should make the transition from emotional dependence upon a god to emotional independence naturally, of their own free will as that free will matures.

Which leads me to conclude that some people never mature to this point, and for them religion remains an important emotional crutch. So I would not say to such people that humanist non-belief will make them a better person. Rather, I would say that, when they become a better person, they will embrace humanist non-belief.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I answered “no.” In Czech R., where I grew up, and where almost everybody is an atheist (I have yet to meet one who isn’t), the ratio between the “good” people and the “bad” ones looks the same to me as what I see in Canada. Actually, I find that in Spain, where many are proud to call themselves Catholics, people are unusually nice.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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In Czech R., where I grew up, and where almost everybody is an atheist (I have yet to meet one who isn’t

And yet no hurricanes have inundated that atheist land, no storms of fire have reduced it to cinders, no plagues of locusts have descended upon it. It’s a miracle!

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Posted: 31 January 2009 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Chris Crawford - 31 January 2009 11:47 AM

In Czech R., where I grew up, and where almost everybody is an atheist (I have yet to meet one who isn’t

And yet no hurricanes have inundated that atheist land, no storms of fire have reduced it to cinders, no plagues of locusts have descended upon it. It’s a miracle!

Does Pat Robertson know about this? hmmm Someone has to tell him!  Hmmmmm, maybe there are no homosexuals in the Czech Republic, THAT would explain it!

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 31 January 2009 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Chris Crawford - 31 January 2009 09:23 AM

I did not vote in this poll, because I have some reservations, which I will express as:

Being a humanist non-believer has made me a better person.
Being a humanist non-believer does not necessarily make you a better person.

In other words, while it worked for me, and I know it has worked for many others, I am reluctant to prescribe it universally. I believe that children will turn out as better people if they naturally evolve into humanist non-belief. I may end up hijacking the topic with this idea, but I suggest that children need a strong sense of an uber-parent controlling the universe for good. That notion springs naturally from their earliest infantile dependence upon their parents, and I don’t think that children can make the jump from dependence to independence overnight. I think they need a transitional phase, which is supplied by religious belief. They should make the transition from emotional dependence upon a god to emotional independence naturally, of their own free will as that free will matures.

Which leads me to conclude that some people never mature to this point, and for them religion remains an important emotional crutch. So I would not say to such people that humanist non-belief will make them a better person. Rather, I would say that, when they become a better person, they will embrace humanist non-belief.

To be honest that sounds like your personal experience as with most of us on CFI. We believed in god because it made us feel good until we realized it was irrational. Your argument claims children need an uber-parent, if you look at many religions their is no uber-parent. Buddhism for example doesn’t have any sort of omnipotent god pulling the strings, they have karma but that’s not really the same. Their are bunches of religions that don’t fit the uber-parent description.

What about children raised as atheists since they didn’t have the uber-parent they must have some real problems? I doubt their is a scientific study out their analyzing how an atheist upbringing affects children (couldn’t find one). We can say as a generality atheists on average act more morally than theist I would site the study on religiosity and morality that I posted on an earlier thread. Without a study on how athiesm affects children and their development it would hard to say with any certainty who is correct.

My bet is on atheism being a positive influence on children, just based on the fact that atheist on average act more ethically than theists.

Religiosity negatively correlated to morality

: Journal of Religion and Society .

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Dan

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Posted: 31 January 2009 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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For me, I think the humanist philosophy has made me a better person- I think for myself, I do things because I want to, not because others want me to, I not only try to help others, but I strive to better myself, research and learn about many things… the list goes on and on without any superstitious non-sense.  It’s not a people pleasing ordeal and it’s helped my own psychological outlook on life as I place thing squarely on humans, because it is not outside ourselves that we love or alike, but rather within and from humans.  That and it is my chosing, my philosophy, my freedom, not someone imposing it on me and chosing whatever so called philosophy for me.  That probably doesn’t make much sense, unless you understood my relatives- asanta, I don’t think you’d last 5 mins with them, before you either exploded or walked/ran away.  No insult to you, the insult is to them.  LOL

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 01 February 2009 01:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I have found that I am more aware of things different.  I was born in the Panama Canal Zone (when there was one) and left after the fourth grade to live in the States (as the Zonians referred to the US of A).  Having been alongside another culture, and a Latin one at that, my awareness of the world was somewhat broader than almost everyone I met in the States.  Unfortunately the stress was on “fitting in” which meant to get in line with the dogma of your sector of society.  That included catholic school and a strong religious presence.  I had had a catholic education on the Canal Zone (which was well ahead of the schools in the States) but it was flavored by me being part of a strange American colonial presence strongly influenced by our military presence.  It made our host nation, Panama, more distinctive and the society in the States somewhat foreign, too.

I began my transformation from religion after entering the Air Force and being separated from the culture of the town, my church and my family.  I had already started questioning before I joined the Air Force and the exposure I got from being among diverse people from all parts of the Country and from other countries, as well, was eye-opening.  Unlike most of the men I served with I tended to be more accepting of things different and it further opened my eyes.

Then I did a tour of duty in Vietnam in the Air Force. I lived “in the economy,” which is to say I shared a “villa” with two other airmen on a street in town (Can Tho) in a section known as Bon Xe Moi (New Bus Station).  There were no secure areas in which to build barracks and the “hotel” facilities lower grade airmen were assigned to were crowded. There I was in a culture with an entirely different language structure that had only had radio for about a year when I arrived (there was an Armed Forces Radio station). I lived next door to a Vietnamese family who were Buddhists.  The father was a civil servant and had some facility with English and I learned some about their culture and Buddhism.  I was eager to meet and learn about these wonderful people.

We had a maid, Biet, who had some knowledge of English and a Vietnamese-to-English and English-to-Vietnamese dictionary.  Using her and it I was able to have some pretty unusual conversations with Vietnamese who knew no English at all.  I invited workmen who had made some alterations to our villa in after they finished their work and shared American beer (Schlitz - it was all I PX had at the time) and conversation.  As a tip for their fine and creative work I gave them a couple of packs of Salem cigarettes each - 13 cents a pack to me which they could sell on the economy for about $5 US per pack - about one week’s pay for them and a beer to take home with them.

I also carried water for a family.  Their tiny daughter’s job was to go to the fresh water pipe down the block from us and fill two five-gallon cans and then carry them back, one at each end of a long pole, for about three blocks to her home.  I had seen her and one day when my roommates were off duty I went out with Biet as interpreter and offered to carry the water for her.  Let’s see: five gallon of water weighs over eight pounds and there were two cans on a long pole.  The little girl didn’t weigh half of the weight of her burden.  I found a position for the pole that made it bearable and, with my roommates snapping pictures and Biet and the little girl laughing at the dinka dow (crazy) GI carrying the water, I carried it to her home. Her surprised parents met us and the little girl and Biet explained.  I complimented them on the unexpected strength of such a tiny child. Of course I gave the dad two packs of Salems and marveled at their little hutch (which was a marvel).

I had other such encounters with Vietnamese.  I attribute that freedom as coming from my broader view of the world and, freeing myself from my religious yoke, an acceptance of other people as people and not identifying them by their religion or race.

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Posted: 02 February 2009 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Sadly, I feel that my dis-belief has made me a BITTER, rather than a BETTER person.  I find this path I have chosen is a difficult one to follow most of the time.  I see people all the time—fat, dumb, and happy with their relgious beliefs, and I wonder…  Who is better off?  Me?  Or them?  My oldest daughter (6 y.o.) is becoming quite negative towards religion, and for the life of me, I have tried to show a balanced view of the good and the bad of religion and the belief in the supernatural.  She’s such a wonderful girl—it really pains me to think that she would become bitter like me…

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Posted: 03 February 2009 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Doppelganger - 02 February 2009 11:37 AM

Sadly, I feel that my dis-belief has made me a BITTER, rather than a BETTER person.  I find this path I have chosen is a difficult one to follow most of the time.  I see people all the time—fat, dumb, and happy with their relgious beliefs, and I wonder…  Who is better off?  Me?  Or them?  My oldest daughter (6 y.o.) is becoming quite negative towards religion, and for the life of me, I have tried to show a balanced view of the good and the bad of religion and the belief in the supernatural.  She’s such a wonderful girl—it really pains me to think that she would become bitter like me…

I think people with cynical or pessimistic personalities are naturally drawn to atheism. So is it atheism that makes you bitter or the cynical pessimism? There is nothing stopping you from being fat, happy, and dumb.  LOL

Do you think if you were a christian you would be happy? I’ve seen plenty of bitter Christians as well, they are dumb irrational pessimists.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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i’m definitely happier as an atheist.  it may be that the way people approach atheism has a lot to do with their overall outlook.  atheism which is experienced primarily as anti-religiousness possibly leading toward worse outcomes than a more wholly integrated world view.

maybe.

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