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Selling humanism philosophy…..
Posted: 22 May 2010 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was having a discussion on Thursday with a Minister of some Christian church who tried to sell me on joining his church.  I asked him why and he said to introduce Christian values intio my life.  I told him honestly that Christians were too narrow in their wanting more members.  I told this very handsome gentleman that I was a Humanist and cared for all living things, not just white Christian straight men.  He had never met a humanist before and I explained that the organization formed after the inquisitions brought on by the Pope and then again after the Protestants under Martin Luther brought about the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.  He showed an interest in further discussions but his wife showed up and he left. 

How can we introduce Humanism to others who do not read history and would rather watch Oprah and Dr. Phil?  I have both Paul Kurtz’s books including the Manifesto but people around me do not read and I mean DO NOT READ!  Susan Sackett will be in Tucson tomorrow to talk about StarTrek’s emphasis on Humanism. 

We need more than National Georgraphic and the Science Channel programs to show evolution as a science and more shows on Humanism that has such a beautiful respect for people.  I remember Pearl Harbor as if it were yesterday and the horrors of war in Europe.  Why Korea?  why Vietnam?  why Kuwait?  9/11 hit me like a ton of bricks and I just knew instinctively that somehow this was brought on by the ignorance and corruption of the Bush Administrations (both).  So now we add Afghanistan and Iraq to the list.  It would seem to me that humanism is waiting to be presented to people of this world and allow us all to talk about religion and politics.  It would be an open invitation to discuss both the subjects that Christians refuse to acknowledge.  We need to explain the virtues of Humanism and then locate a couple of honest politicians who will show how this philosophy works.  It is not anti religion but pro human respect.  No?

Screen writers?  Sci Fi short stories?  Political revolution?

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Posted: 06 June 2010 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think that is the single largest stumbling block to any large-scale acceptance of humanism. Humanism presumes a literate, thoughtful, intellectually engaged populace willing to openly consider the question of whether it’s own cherished beliefs and assumptions might perhaps be wrong. Such a populace doesn’t exist, not any more, not in America. Honestly, I am starting to suspect that the current level of acceptance of humanist principles may very well be our “high water mark”; it won’t get any better, and will probably get much, much worse. The West—and especially America—is going through a rapid and catastrophic cultural devolution.

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Posted: 06 June 2010 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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steveg144 - 06 June 2010 07:43 AM

I think that is the single largest stumbling block to any large-scale acceptance of humanism. Humanism presumes a literate, thoughtful, intellectually engaged populace willing to openly consider the question of whether it’s own cherished beliefs and assumptions might perhaps be wrong. Such a populace doesn’t exist,

I suppose you might be from “Hyperbole ‘r us”!!

One doesn’t need higher education and/or be “intellectually engaged” to embrace the religious belief system called “Humanism”.

The current “True Believers” within “Humanism” are very uncomfortable when someone “questions” their “own cherished beliefs and assumptions” aka “belief system”.

Oh and being religious automatically excludes anyone of any other religion.

Very humanitarian.

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Posted: 06 June 2010 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Analytic - 06 June 2010 08:00 AM
steveg144 - 06 June 2010 07:43 AM

I think that is the single largest stumbling block to any large-scale acceptance of humanism. Humanism presumes a literate, thoughtful, intellectually engaged populace willing to openly consider the question of whether it’s own cherished beliefs and assumptions might perhaps be wrong. Such a populace doesn’t exist,

I suppose you might be from “Hyperbole ‘r us”!!

Ad hominem. Irrelevant.

Analytic - 06 June 2010 08:00 AM

One doesn’t need higher education and/or be “intellectually engaged” to embrace the religious belief system called “Humanism”.

I said nothing about higher education. Intellectually engaged? I think it’s a necessary prerequisite to arrive at a humanist lifestance. So obviously we disagree here. 

Analytic - 06 June 2010 08:00 AM

The current “True Believers” within “Humanism” are very uncomfortable when someone “questions” their “own cherished beliefs and assumptions” aka “belief system”.

This would make for an intriguing thread in itself—and if you were to start such a thread, I’d participate in it with great enthusiasm—but irrelevant to my point. By the way, what’s “with” the goofy quotes “around” words seeming at “random”?

Analytic - 06 June 2010 08:00 AM

Oh and being religious automatically excludes anyone of any other religion.
Very humanitarian.

Not a clue in the world what point you’re trying to make here, or how it relates to my post. Please do elaborate.

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Posted: 06 June 2010 09:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Stephen, your post was spot on and I am also as concerned with the west that seems to be devolving back to the dark ages.  I was told by many respected scientists that our brains would not devolve but there was no indication that evolution would continue unless we expand our horizons.  I was in the 8th grade when I read “Origins of the Species” and I had no belief in any sky daddy as it simply made no sense.  In the library in ny boarding school there was nothing to back up this evolution that opened up my brain.  We had no Dawkins or Dennett in those days and it lit a fire under my surfing brain and off I went.  I have since met other non-believers on line and am pleased to read their writings.  I visited your site and will spend some time reading your offerings.

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Posted: 06 June 2010 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Sandy Price - 22 May 2010 08:23 AM

How can we introduce Humanism to others who do not read history and would rather watch Oprah and Dr. Phil? 

Well many people, if you ask them, consider themselves to be skeptics.  And many people do have some appreciation for science.  So I usually start there asking, “Do you consider yourself to be a skeptic?  Do you appreciate science?”  They usually say yes, and might elaborate.  After chatting for a bit, I’ll bring up Humanist philosophy, a godless, faithless, naturalist, monoist, set of ideas that appreciate science and skepticism.  I tell them about http://www.centerforinquiry.net .  I don’t know how many people who I’ve talked to this way have seen the web site, but I know that a small percent of them became members, the one’s who were already on our train-of-thought.  smile

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Posted: 07 June 2010 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Jump.  Many of the “believers” with whom I correspond fear that I am the enemy and are so full of fear and deep-seated hatred for me, I don’t want them to know where I post.  There is nothing logical or even human with an approach to a discussion.  My lack of belief in the supernatural is a clear act of my insanity.  Many of these “true” believers in Jesus Christ were drawn in by A.A. meetings and sobered up through the terrorism of hell and damnation.  They turn over their minds to the fear of hell. 

Basically, thousands of Americans who never approached life in terms of right over wrong buy the concept of sinning against God.  They have taken themselves out of the circle of involvement in today’s culture.  They do not want the responsibility of judgment and need to return to the bible for instructions.  This attitude is the reason the Tea Party is gaining popularity.  This is the first move for a militant crusade to overpower the government and hand America to Jesus Christ.  They get their instructions from Revelations and that is the end of the debate.

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Posted: 28 July 2010 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Why isn’t just plain old atheism enough? Why do we need this nebulous happy talk about something called “Humanism,” with a capital ‘H’? Several folks here seem to like it quite a bit, but I just don’t get the attraction. I don’t mind self-identifying as an atheist, or as a skeptic, or as a (secular)Buddhist, but Humanist? I frankly don’t get it. Can someone explain? We’re going to be talking about Humanism at our next CFI Discussion Meeting here in Pittsburgh, so I’d like to become better informed.

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FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. -Ambrose Bierce

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Posted: 28 July 2010 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’m surprised he didn’t deny the history, Sandy.  Some Xians do, but I do think that humanism is a far better philosophy than Xianity.  I like Susan Sackett, what I’ve heard of her at least.

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Posted: 28 July 2010 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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B. Holly - 28 July 2010 02:27 PM

Why isn’t just plain old atheism enough? Why do we need this nebulous happy talk about something called “Humanism,” with a capital ‘H’? Several folks here seem to like it quite a bit, but I just don’t get the attraction. I don’t mind self-identifying as an atheist, or as a skeptic, or as a (secular)Buddhist, but Humanist? I frankly don’t get it. Can someone explain? We’re going to be talking about Humanism at our next CFI Discussion Meeting here in Pittsburgh, so I’d like to become better informed.

“Atheist” is a negative, it is content-free, it says nothing more than if I were to say “I don’t believe in Zeus” or “I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny”. Any sane person’s response to that is going to be (and should be) something along the lines of “And so what? This tells me nothing about what you do believe. Tell me what you do believe.”  The word “Humanist” is very handy shorthand for describing what we do believe, not what we don’t believe.

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Posted: 28 July 2010 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Steveg144 is quite correct.  To say it in another way, One is a belief or disbelief in a supernatural being, and the other describes one’s ethics.  Completely different areas.  There are secular humanists and religious humanists, there are atheists who have totally different values from humanism, and there are theists who may claim biblical ethics but behave far differently.

Occam

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Posted: 28 July 2010 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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So this means that there is a specific humanist ethics? Is it consequentialist? Deontological? What is its special flavor? Or is it just plain old morality of the sort that just about everybody would accept if they weren’t hoodwinked by religious ideas? Or is it maybe just a way to keep a good distance from followers of Ayn Rand?

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FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. -Ambrose Bierce

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Posted: 28 July 2010 06:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I think each humanist develops his/her own ethical framework, often derived from reading a variety of ethical sources from Plato and Socrates to Moore and Rawls.  While most thinking humanists don’t quite accept the three Manifestoes without personal modifications, they are also a good source.

Being a strong proponent of succinctness, mine are in one sentence which I’ve repeated here enough that I’m not going to bother again.

Occam

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Posted: 28 July 2010 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Well said! I think I’m starting to get a better understanding of what’s going on here. Now I have to figure out what I think about it! - Brian

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FAITH, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel. -Ambrose Bierce

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Posted: 31 July 2010 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Atheist, in how it is constructed, is just a negative word.  I agree with Steveg144, it only subtracts from the conversation.  The “a” means “not” like in “atypical”, “asymmetric”, “apolitical”, etc.  I’ve heard long impassioned arguments about what denotation it has, people adding science skepticism and other ideas, and don’t want to start one, so I’ll focus on the construction instead.  Whatever denotation is your favorite, the “not theism” has to be somewhere in there.  The negative connotation I don’t agree with, of course. 

The homosexuals have succeeded in owning the word “gay”, you can’t describe someone as “he is so gay grin”  and merely mean that he is happy, light-hearted, and energetic.  I think that one reason why they have succeeded is that “gay” began as a positive word.  I believe that a group can take ownership of a positive word, but not a negative word.  The gays try to own “queer” and “fag” now-a-days, I just don’t think they’ll succeed with words with such a negative denotation like those.  Along the same lines of thought, I don’t think that the atheists will succeed in owning and spinning that word positive, by merely changing the connotation, because the construction still only subtracts from the conversation, it has a hollow denotation adding nothing, I have never related to it.  It could mean “not gods” a supernatural belief or “not religious ceremonies” a human activity.

On the other hand Humanism adds so much to the conversation, see the “What is Humanism?” thread in this forum.

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Posted: 31 July 2010 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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As I’ve pointed out here before, there’s a major difference between one’s believe in regards to the existence or non-existence of a supernatural being, and in one’s personal ethical philosophy.  It’s sort of like having someone tell me that I shouldn’t identify myself as a male, but rather should state that I’m (mostly) caucasian.  they’re apples and oranges. 

However, when someone has asked me, I’ve replied that I am a non-theist.  That usually confuses them enough that I have to explain thus blocking them from jumping to their prejudiced conclusion.

You may want to see if you can come up with a dramatic word to replace atheist.

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