The topic of this thread is secular humanism and how to live a happy, moral, fulfilling life without the fear of punishment from a divine or spiritual source, and/or the promise or reward in an afterlife from a divine or spiritual source. I have posted it as some seem to be unaware of the principles of secular humanism.
Humanism is, in its simplest form, the belief that all humans are to be treated with a certain level of respect. Secular humanism says that this respect is deserved toward humans for rational reasons, while religious humanism says this respect is deserved because of the mandate of a deity.
The humanist seeks to make life better for all people. The secular humanist seeks to accomplish this through science and rational discussion, while the religious humanist seeks to accomplish this through religion (spreading the gospel).
The Council for Secular Humanism is North America's leading organization for non-religious people. A not-for-profit educational association, the Council supports a wide range of activities to meet the needs of people who find meaning and value in life without looking to a god.
The Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles
- We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.
- We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.
- We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.
- We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
- We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.
- We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
- We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
- We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.
- We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.
- We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.
- We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.
- We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.
- We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.
- We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.
- We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.
- We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.
- We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.
- We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.
- We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.
- We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.
- We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings.
Countries that have strong secular values and less religious influence in government have lower crime rates and higher social values. I am referring to the most atheistic societies, including countries like Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, & to a certain extent Canada (Note that while these are not 'true' atheistic societies, with 100% atheists there, but they are far more atheistic than say South Africa, USA, etc.).
These countries are far better "behaved" in almost every measure (eg. violent crime, sexual ethics, spread of STD's, teen pregnancies, abortion rates) - these are all lower in countries where there are higher levels of indigenous atheists. So it does seem that the belief that high levels of religiosity somehow lead to higher levels of ethical or moral behaviour are patently false and a fantasy.
1. Do you believe it is possible to live a happy, moral, fulfilling life without the fear of punishment from a divine or spiritual source, and/or the promise or reward in an afterlife from a divine or spiritual source?
2. Do you believe that the country you live in has a clear separation between religion and state?
3. If you were voting for a President and the two candidates before you were a religious humanist and a secular humanist, and they had presented political platforms of equal merit in your eyes, which one would you vote for?