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Affirmations of Humanism

  1. 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

    1. We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.
    2. We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.
    3. We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.
    4. 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.
    5. We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.
    6. We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
    7. We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
    8. We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.
    9. 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.
    10. We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.
    11. We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.
    12. We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.
    16. We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.
    17. We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.
    18. We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings.
      http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=affirmations

      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.

      Discussion Questions

      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?

  2. 1. Yes, it is very possible to live a happy, moral and fulfilling life without the need for a deity. Many people have accomplished this and more do in each generation. Often times with religious humanists the line between voluntary help and fear of punishment are blurred and sincerity is hard to define in such cases. However that can also be true for the secular humanist, they may try to do good things just so others will see them as good people without the 'help' of a god. Through reason and respect for other humans, a secular humanist can be just as 'fulfilled' morally as a religious secularist.

    2. The United States is not particularly black or white on this subject. It sways back and forth depending on the actual policy or case. Nonetheless, a majority of the American people claim to have a belief in a god, and many follow Christianity. With mottos such as "In God We Trust" on the dollar bill and "One Nation Under God" in our pledge along with the Ten Commandments in court houses, it is hard to say that we have a very clear division between religion and state.

    3. In this scenario I would go with the secularist for a plain and simple reason, because he or she will strive to keep religion out of government and will let the people have a completely unbiased view of all religions.

  3. *religious humanist :/ typo heh

  4. Americans are very confused about their own history and there are some over zealous right wingers who have created a revisionist history of the founding of their country. The authors of the American Constitution were primarily deists and among those who were Christian, few seem to have held same sort of religious beliefs common with conservative evangelicals in America today. Who claim "the Founding Fathers created a Christian nation" when most clearly they did not.

    America has religious zealots like Jerry Falwell and other TV evangelists of that ilk and the Mega Church megaphones, who have been demonizing unbelievers by calling them communists and secular humanists for years. It seems to have an affect in America that it isn't evidenced in Canada. Here we just laugh at them because the vast and overwhelming majority of Canadians grant them ZERO credibility.

    One common argument in favor of the separation of church and state is that the American Constitution, which is the founding legal document of America, makes no reference to religion except in terms which would exclude it from government authority, and certainly makes no reference to Christianity. Therefore, the position which argues that Christianity was essential to the founding of the nation and should continue as a partner with the government is refuted by the Constitution.

    Article VI says: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." In practice this prohibition was often violated, and even today there are unenforceable prohibitions in state constitutions against atheists holding public office. If America was meant to be a Christian Nation then holding public offices would have been limited to Christians but they weren't.

    The American Constitution begins with the phrase "We the People," and its significance cannot be overlooked. This establishes that sovereign power rests with the people and that all government power and authority derives from the consent of the people. It's a repudiation of older Eurpean ideas that governments are established by God and derive their power or authority from God (for example, the divine right of kings). It's also thus a repudiation of the Christian Right's arguments today.

    At the end of the Constitution, the date is prefaced with "in the year of our Lord." This was just the standard dating convention of the day. It's no more significant than using BC and AD when writing dates now.

    The first amendment to the Constitution also prohibits the government from "establishing" any religion.

    I think it's likely that that most secular humanists in America could be like most un-churched Christians and even atheists and agnostics. That is to say I think that they do not belong to a religious institution or an organization at all. What do you think?

  5. alifebewhiskered
    Member

    Thanks for this. I have been curious about what humanism is since I did that quiz you posted. I have never known how to describe my views other than just to say I'm an athiest. This all fits with my views very closely.

    I definately think it's possible to live a happy, moral and fulfilling life as an athiest/non-believer/humanist (whatever I am). I have always tried to live my life in a way that causes no harm or upset to others (people or animals). I think that I have strong morals, know the difference between right and wrong. I don't feel that I need a god to tell me what is the correct way to behave/think/act. I do not feel unfulfilled and I am happy, which is the key word in this question to me.

    'Clear separation between religion and state?' In Brazil there is definately no clear separation. I'm not so sure about the UK. Of course there is a strong religious influence in the history of the UK, but I don't think it is such a force now. I don't remember hearing a lot of religious talk when MPs and such were speaking on television. But I'm not very well versed in politics.

    'Religious humanist or a secular humanist President (or Prime Minister/other Head of State)'. I think I'd feel more comfortable voting for the secular humanist. I find the blinkered views of many religious people very hard to swallow and I think that a person in a position of such importance should not be influenced by any religion. He/she should be able to make reasoned, well considered, non-biased decisions from the information available and not be influenced by laws, rules or beliefs that have been set down solely to appease a deity.

    But again, I am not knowledgeable in politics so I apologise if my views here are quite naive.

  6. @alifebewhiskered
    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply above. I'm sorry it took me so long to make the time to come here and read it.

  7. I don't have time to read it all right now, but I can see from what I have read this is a thread I am very much going to enjoy. Thank you TT for starting it. I will be back.

  8. 1 - yes, very definitely. My personal beief is that we are more able to live in such a way without the conflict generated by religion.

    2 - We are supposed to have clear separation, but the lines have become blurred of late,as you know TT from reading my Religion in Schools bit. I got an update in my email about that today, but have not yet had a chance to read it, although hre is a link to the current proposals http://religionsinschool.com/

    3 - We do not vote for a President, but all other things being equal, I would vote for the atheist.

    I like the list of affirmations - there were a couple I'm not aure apply to me, but by and large I agreed.

  9. @teamoyeniyi
    Thanks for returning thinking this through and replying x 4 specifically too. I appreciate your thoughtful replies and interest in continuing the dialog and alifebewhiskered's thoughtful replies and interest as well. When I have time I'll post another thread pertaining to humanism. It's fascinating to note how many notable people were and are humanists.

  10. authorjdhughes
    Member

    I don’t mean in any way to be rude or disrespect your views in any sense,
    so please take this with all giving intentions,

    But how can you sit her and advocate your Faith in a lack of Faith?

    Actually this country was indeed

    1. Occupied

    2. "Discovered"

    3. Founded by people of FAITH.

    I do not in any way disregard the wisdom of the Utopian Ethics of modern Humanists, and I absolutely agree, it is safer for a human to live without question, and always more turbulent path for those who seek sources "beyond".

    But honestly please don't kid yourself over the long standing legacies of faithlessness,
    Socrates himself declared "Goodness" to be the essential truth of any form.

    This Nation was originally inhabited by Natives who survived exclusively off of thier
    1. Faith in the Divinity, and Sanctity of Life, and all therein
    2.The blessings of that source : Creation.

    This Nation was then "Discovered" by Spain, again, a group of adamant, albiet brutally faithful conquers.

    This Nation was then " Civilized by Separatists of The Protestant faith,

    AND grew exponentialy at the influx of modern religious exiles of EVERY FAITH
    ( Have you seen all the CHURCHES.)

    The Guttenburg press, the reason we were able to print and spread the concepts of our original Independence, was created out of adoration and respect for THE BIBLE.

    Again I know you in particular are aware of this, but Einsteins Awareness ultimately led h to concede of personality to the Divine, in the place of a realized Infinity the Divine truly encompasses.

    Renes De Cartes Think and therefore am concept is derived entirely of a text known as MEDITATIONS and was an essential and historic, rebirth of consciousness, we revere to this day.

    again I mean no disrespect whatsoever, but stating the merits of a thing, while blinding ourselves of the essential and holiest of concepts : Truth, leaves even the Stoic Atheist a mindless dreg like the rest of us Concept Thumpers.

    Faith, and warm regards,

    J. D. Hughes

  11. authorjdhughes
    Member

    Also: tea money

    There is, and never has been a conflict generated in and of Religion itself,
    Rather like all problems and occurrence under the sun,
    It is truly MAN that stands alone as responsible and active Cultivators of Conflict

    This is NOT GOD

    Thank you,

    My best,

    J. D Hughes

  12. as a right winger ...I don't believe in religion its all simple ...be happy,smile protect.Not all of us are nuts ; )

  13. Who advocated Faith in a lack of faith? "Faith", by definition, is something not based in fact. The affirmations listed by TT are principles held, not faith.

  14. authorjdhughes
    Member

    I agree the affirmations themselves are principles held, however does not a Humanist "Believe" in their Pinnacle Principles ?

    Otherwise, is not there, being no mandate for a wholly Humanist society at the moment, is a required "Faith" in Humanity itself to consistently maintain and uphold those principles?

    In the beginning of the original post, there is a statement that considers "Faith" Denigration of logic, which is to say they believe there is a correlation,

    There is a line between ideals and Principles, and just another dogmatic banner for assertion of control .....you know, like a RELIGION?

    Humanism is truly an ancient concept, and originally was responsible for both the depravity and the excellent foundations of Ancient Greece and Rome.... just like religion itself there has been equally obsurd behaviors observed by the Faithful and the faithless in the whole of time,

    I just take issue when a concept, truly less developed ( it states merely to be the best of this over that in the principles listed at the top of the page)

    I am all for conceptualizeing evolution of new socially cohesive structures, but to say This is in any way an acceptable creed alone for a satisfactory life amidst all manner of sinners, saints, and stoics we see bombing, maiming, and defiling in the name of EveryThing under the sun..... I would wager a 2000 year old savior, and an even older Testament gathered from thousands of unified sourcesand verified by Archaeological data, and historical accounts to be actually considerably reliable as a historical and social development .... The Bible, The Dao, The Torrah, Siddarthas teachings.... all of these things with a grain of salt near far more credit as a resource to live ones life by, EVEN IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE!

    These holy works have been the first expressions and lasting parents of the ENTIRE KNOWN WORLD.... believe or do not believe,

    But as much chaos as faith has birthed, it is also responsible for the fact that We are all speaking ENGLISH!

    It was missionary camps that gave the majority of the known world cohesion, and. Unified our languages under its parishoners watch.

    If Humanism had some mysterious power to quell the "sin" or dementia, or mania, or general psychosis the world currently exhibits in every single square inch.... maybe I would applaud the cause..

    While beautiful as a concept.... like communism, capitalism (fingers crossed ) and Passifism (Sweeden aka not fighting NAZIS)

    I just can't advocate the sole adherence to a concept that contains all of the constituents of Awareness and Kindness and Grace..... with no one but Humanity to look to.... All Principles and no Principalities;

    Look around at all the foaming mouths and cruise missiles.... Mankind is NOT PERFECT.

    you may not see him, I wager my view of God like any others is absolutely irrelevant to another.... but I can assure you
    GOD IS.

    Sorry to rant, but my own Principles and Principalities require my voice,
    I am honestly seeking a dialogue on these concepts

    Thank you,

    J. D. Hughes

  15. authorjdhughes
    Member

    I do also not advocate the zealots of the Bread Basket of America, or anywhere over anything truly.... Perfection is the goal in all true growth, zealotry is simply another imbalance HUMANITY (HUMANISM), could potentially harbor,

    Like all our graces and doubts,

    Thanks

  16. authorjdhughes
    Member

    Raven, I could not agree more, but I still must "trust" or have "faith" another individual has the capacity to reciprocate.

  17. authorjdhughes
    Member

    Also note the Atheist Societies listed are not "World " powers
    Excluding Canada, who was in large part Roman Catholic among others until fairly recent progressions, the true ramifications of which are still utterly unknown

  18. @authorjdhughes

    I don’t mean in any way to be rude or disrespect your views in any sense,
    so please take this with all giving intentions, ...

    Your are a liar. Your off-topic rants seethe with disrespect and self-aggrandizement.

    Sorry to rant, but my own Principles and Principalities require my voice, I am honestly seeking a dialogue on these concepts

    You are liar. You are not sorry and you are not seeking dialogue. You are addicted to ranting.

    I say this to you flat out and without emotion -- you are dismissed.

    You have no credence with me and those who are truly interested in open-minded dialogue are far too bright too feed trolls.

  19. @TT - I nearly responded a couple of times, then thought better of it - I knew you would do a much better job. :) It reminded me very much of exactly what the ex-minister said about trying to have a dialogue - it just doesn't happen. :(

  20. @teamoyeniyi
    Not to worry. We don't need to be disturbed. We can simply get back on track and stick to the topic.

  21. Discussion Questions

    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?

  22. authorjdhughes
    Member

    Haha seethe, yes.... like the subtle seething of the op and the following dialogues?

    I would say your overall attitude from the op on is both aggressive toward people of faith, downright offensive, an un backed by any length of meaningful discussion, aside from the occasional "yeah I met a religious guy once.... so right"

    Both teamoney and timetheif, I merely took the time to address each topic in due passion and due adherence to truth, Im sorry if you are terrified by Socratic Dialogue, or just general communications skills?

    Actually I used no language that could be considered offensive, and nothing but facts.... Im sorry if your wrong, or don't know the information to back your claims but sure

    Dismissed, I can't say Ill miss the think tank, enjoy your power and postage stamp in cyberspace....

    I would love to speak with anyone else on here who does want an honest dialogue, not one backed by consistent aggression.... emotions are allowed, as Im not a Humanist :P

    Im sorry if I scarred you both emotionally, I am aware you can read however, and you can read capitol letters, all very on topic might I add, hardly a malicious affair...troll?

    The real joke is Im 19
    you two have allot of growing up left,
    Maybe never ;)

    Cheers,

    J.D. Hughes

  23. authorjdhughes
    Member

    Prove me wrong, intellectually consider one of the several points I tried to present.... otherwise

    Best wishes,

    J.D. Hughes

  24. Discussion Questions
    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?

  25. authorjdhughes
    Member

    1. No. To get all of Humanity to agree to decent moral standards, and to afford any adherence to said morals is currently impossible without conviction in establishment or "forces beyond their instinctual behaviors. Human Nature or HomoSapien "instinct or "sin" are all innate stumbling blocks to Mankind.

    (Ie. Todler licking doorknobs, parents say " stop that!" Kid says "sorry" and stops.... what happened when the parents left? Another licked doorknob)

    The toddler scenario is a ludicrous but true, and a perfect example of Human nature, as we all Im sure have witnessed in, serial killers, politicians, religious heirarchy, crimes current and passed in any and all societies since time began.

    God, where you believe in the concept, allows groups of various geo-political alignment to agree to the mutual respect, love, and source of them and the world they occupy - also denouncing aggressions and actions that might upset that perceived diety or
    church.

    Without that people are forced to rely entirely on the moral teachings, actions, and natures of other Humans doing the same thing.... ie politicians.... I don't care what anyone believes, this is a scary thought.

    2. No. There is no clear line anymore in The U.S, Spiritual Enlightenment, Social Development, And Artistic Development, have all been sacked for our one true god = Money.

    The irony is the fairly secular EU is currently attending to the same "god".

    The issue is not Humanity is good and simply needs the chance, Humanity is "Human" structurally fashioned after Animals, and exhibit Instinctive attacks of Animal like attrocities and incongruous attachments that lead to additional atrocities.

    Ie attachment to currency and power globally ( regardless of banner)

    3. The Religious candidate, at least then there is some degree of certainty he has an understanding of the innate values and respects mankind deserves, as he would more than likely believe in a larger universal design than the secular candidate, who more than likely is Advocating immediate Human issues, at the loss of a potentially wider scope of Humanities development.

    Not to say anything about either candidate certainly, but at least I know as a person off the bat, to come to his conclusions the Religious Humanist must have delved fairly deeply into himself and his awareness of the world to reach his convictions.

    The secular has less of a guarantee, perhaps he just doesn't care about past developments, or truly considered them irrelevant intellectually, either way, he potentially missed consideration of a large array of factors that guide All Global Affairs since the beginning of Time. But again, who knows

    I would more than likely ignore anything but their policies as they themselves are what would decide their political developments.

    J. D. Hughes

  26. @authorjdhughes
    Thank you for providing your own unique answers and reasons for them to the 3 questions I posed. I appreciate it.

  27. authorjdhughes
    Member

    Thank you for initially starting the discussion, I apologize if I came off as overbearing or impolite, but I am adamant about Humanity myself, and likewise hope for better days among Humans

    My best,

    J. D. Hughes

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