SO, don’t the two go hand-in-hand? does not the one compliment the other? Isn’t a secular humanist an athiest? Or am I completely in the dark?
I think that’s pretty reasonable, although it is backwards. That’s like calling a kitchen cabinet a sort of house. A cabinet is a small idea, and a house is a big idea. A kitchen cabinet, isn’t really a whole house, there’s more to a house than that. We assume that a house has a kitchen cabinet, the cabinet is a normal part of the house, some people might have a pantry room instead of a cabinet, but yes the cabinet will probably be there in the house. Humanism is the house, atheists are included, if by atheist you mean someone who lives for the natural world, not for the supernatural one. :)
Question, and this may be a matter of semantics, how can you be an athiest and not be a humanist? Athiests naturally take a monist approach to life and follow no religious tenants but maintain an ethical stance in society. We don’t break society’s laws, are generally well grounded in knowledge (or we wouldn’t be athiests) and productive citizens. If not we would be incarcerated. SO, don’t the two go hand-in-hand? does not the one compliment the other? Isn’t a secular humanist an athiest? Or am I completely in the dark?
I would disagree that atheists are neccesarily secular humanists; I don’t consider myself to be a S.H., but I’m an atheist, also you’re taking a broad view of them as all being perfect citizens.
Thanks for the info George, I have only a general knowledge of the history of that area and most of my contact with Slavic culture has been from Russian acquaintances. For instance, are the Czech people Orthodox or RC? It seems that those who are of that faith tend to cling to it more than the catholics. Orthodox followers claim that theirs is the more pure christian belief than catholic as all of the nearly original bible was written in greek, the language of the Byzantines. But I digress. So what you’re saying is that the trend toward non-religion is more cultural there than political. Dawkins points this out by mentioning that Europeans by in large are losing their religious connections despite attempts at revival by certain conservative groups. I believe he was referring to GB though. Our situation here was driven by the religious fundamentalism of the 20’s that linked religion with politics and locked the belief into the minds of the people of the cold war era. I remember hearing of those “godless communists” out to destroy our pure christian democracy and that we should be “better dead than red”. I met several Russians emigres in College who were fed essentially the same line, but with a secular twist! damn that was confusing! Doubt leads to a search for the facts though and we all came to the same conclusion; people are the same when it comes right down to it.
Hey Thanks for the reply Jump and mid. I didn’t see your posts until I replied to George. Actually I’m finishing John Shook’s “The God Debates” and he addresses the differences between humanists and athiests. It’s a weighty tome indeed and essentially a book covering thiest, diest, athiest, fidiest, humanist and apathiest philosophy. I plan to read it again later as he parses all of them and there are more grey areas than I care to go into here. I highly recommend the book however, even if it is a bit confusing to me. BTW I was dimly aware of the many shades of humanism until reading some of the earlier posts so it is coming to light now. I’m still an athiest by the dictionary definition however.
Czechs are Roman Catholics. But as I already said, the Poles or Croats are more religious than the Russians, and the Poles and Croats are Roman Catholics and the Russians are Orthodox. So I don’t think it explains much. As to what caused the Czechs to lose their faith, I really have no idea. I don’t see how culture could be the sole cause here, since our past doesn’t really differ much from that of the Poles, Germans or even the Slovaks, who are all more religious than us.
You know what I am suspecting? Booze. They are probably too hungover to wake up for church on Sunday mornings. :-)
Being serious now, I don’t actually believe that people (anywhere!) are as religious as they often claim to be. Maybe the Czechs simply don’t have any reasons to pretend that they are religious. Or they are too drunk to lie: in vino veritas. :cheese:
Being serious now, I don’t actually believe that people (anywhere!) are as religious as they often claim to be. Maybe the Czechs simply don’t have any reasons to pretend that they are religious. Or they are too drunk to lie: in vino veritas.
Well at least they don’t drink to relieve the stress of lying about their belief, or lack of belief, as we do here! Hats off to ‘em with a drink o’ rum!
I do not (yet) consider myself a humanist. Mostly because I don’t understand the logical basis for it. I understand that it can be a good philosophical position to hold, as an atheist, for the benefit of society. But of course, that’s just an appeal to consequences, not a real justification for it. What are some of your guys’ reasons for being a humanist?
For me it’s obvious. Human concerns are central to human beings.
This is what I was thinking as well. However, how, then, can we judge sociopaths’ behavior? Their emotions do not lead them to the same values as secular humanists, yet presumably they should be judged according to our ethics. If we are using our emotions to guide our ethics, then how can we condemn them for doing the same?
Because their “system” is not ethical at all. A sociopath denies and/or ignores the relational quality of ethics. It’s not really a system at all but a denial of the need for a system to sustain human relationships and a decent quality of human life beyond the narrowest and most myopic view one could imagine. More simply, it doesn’t work.
Then it follows that humanism cannot be based on emotions, because emotions are subjective.
You may be past the above statement by now, but consider how unclear it is. Does “humanism cannot be based on emotions” mean that emotions play no role in humanism? That would be absurd because Humanism necessarily concerns itself with human values, which cannot arise without emotion. In fact, there is no such thing as an emotionless human being. Those who come the closest are people like the sociopaths, and even they experience emotion.
Emotion is central in every sustainable system of values, ethics, morality and religion. It has to be. It goes to the core of what people find meaningful.
These are twp different concepts. Theism/atheist is belief/nonbelief in a god. Humanism is seeing humans as central to human concerns.
Many years ago I went to a Unitarian General Assembly, and there was an exhibition hall with about a hundred booths; some selling books, some jewelry, etc. There were three booths that fascinated me. One was Center for Inquiry, one was the American Humanist Association, and one was Religious Humanists.
So I could call myself an athiest humanist. I believe in improving the lot of mankind whenever possible AND I have no theistic belief that ties the two together, nor do I feel that I need one. That’s comfortable!
Yeah, I think many people fail to understand that there are many religious humanists running around now today. As I just posted in another thread, humanism appears to be more about a mindset than an actual philosophy, regardless of what a person’s worldview is (or what they think it is). If they are the type of person to put humanity before everything else, then I don’t have a problem calling that person a humanist.