My Philosophy:  Religion

02/28/15

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Do you really want to know my opinion on the world's religions?   Really?   OK.  Well,  You probably got a pretty good hint by reading my previous page on 'My Philosophy.'    Let's proceed in stages.  First of all, Time Magazine recently did an article on What Americans Believe. Here is the section that covered religion:

 

I am squarely in the 24% category.  I don't believe in hell.  I don't believe "everything happens for a reason."  And, I don't believe people have conversations with supreme beings.

It turns out that I'm in good company.  What do the following people have in common:  Albert Einstein, John Kenneth Galbraith, Mohandas Gandhi,  Carl Sagan, John Lennon,  Linus Pauling, Bertrand Russell, Gene Roddenberry, Albert Schweitzer, and me?  Well, we all consider ourselves Humanists. 

What's a Humanist?  Well, the Humanists in the world held a convention in Amsterdam in 2002.  One of their goals was to adopt a unified platform on the fundamentals of Humanism.  It is called the 2002 Amsterdam Declaration.  Here is their platform: 

Humanism is ethical.
Humanism is rational.
Humanism supports democracy and human rights.
Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility.
Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion.
Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognizes the transforming power of art.
Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfillment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living.

This is an OK definition.  I like this one better:

 
bulletFrom the Institute for Humanist Studies
bulletHumanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values.
bulletHumanists see no convincing evidence for gods, the supernatural, or life after death.
bulletHumanists believe that moral values are properly founded on human empathy and scientific understanding.
bulletHumanists believe we must live this life on the basis that it is the only life we'll have -- that, therefore, we must make the most of it for ourselves, each other, and our world.

 
bullet From Wikipedia: 

"According to humanism, it is up to humans to find the truth, as opposed to seeking it through revelation, mysticism, tradition, or anything else that is incompatible with the application of logic to the evidence. In demanding that humans avoid blindly accepting unsupported beliefs, it supports scientific skepticism and the scientific method, rejecting authoritarianism and extreme skepticism, and rendering faith an unacceptable basis for action. Likewise, humanism asserts that knowledge of right and wrong is based on one's best understanding of one's individual and joint interests, rather than stemming from a transcendental truth or an arbitrarily local source"

 

bulletFrom the IHEU (see link below) comes this description: 

"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality."

 

bulletIs Humanism for you?  Maybe.  Check out some of the links below, and learn more.  It s a good fit for me.  Here is how one Humanist (Robert G. Ingersol)  described his "conversion" from his theist roots:  "
bulletWhen I became convinced that the universe is natural, that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell. The dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world, not even in infinite space. I was free—free to think, to express my thoughts—free to live my own ideal, free to live for myself and those I loved, free to use all my faculties, all my senses, free to spread imagination's wings, free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope, free to judge and determine for myself . . . I was free! I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously faced all worlds.

 

bullet
When looking at why I believe what I believe, and why others believe what they believe, the key is always to understand the underlying motivation.  When I consider those with whom I disagree, it seems obvious to me they are often motivated by fear, and their philosophies are a direct result of their underlying fear.  But this begs the question: What is my underlying motivation?  I think it is hatred for hypocrisy.  Man has demonstrated a tremendous capacity for hypocrisy, and we should collectively be ashamed of this, and more importantly, take active steps to expose it and eradicate it.

 

bullet  The evolution of man clearly shows him weaning himself off his primitive dependence on a belief in supernatural entities and religions. This process is historically marked with great tension and conflict, as some groups of mankind are less prepared for this leap then others.
 
bulletIt turns out that throughout the history of mankind, there is a rich history of disbelievers.  The BBC recently did a documentary on this, called "Athiesm: A Rough History of Disbelief."   Very fascinating to hear about how the theist societies have treated the non-theists over the years.

 

bulletAn interesting quote from Donald Morgan: A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism      This was recently re-established through a recent survey, that summarized: "Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions."

 

 

 

     

 

 

Links:

bulletWikipedia entry on Humanism
bulletThe American Humanist Association
bulletInternational Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
bulletCenter for Inquiry
bulletThe Institute for Humanist Studies
bullet ThinkExist.com
bullet The Top 10 Intelligent Designs (or Creation Myths)
bulletChurch of the Flying Spaghetti Monster  -  you gotta read their version of the Lord's Prayer

 

 

   

 

 

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