I promote Humanism for a reason.


The Atlantic had a great article about how the secularization of the electorate is impacting politics.  If you are unfamiliar with the term, let me translate. More and more people lack religion. Because our beliefs impact our politics, larger groups of people who don’t believe in gods will necessarily impact politics.

The problem, for all my atheist friends who are adamant that promoting atheism will produce humanistic approaches to politics, that doesn’t appear to happen.  Here is the article. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/04/breaking-faith...

The gist of the article is this. If someone was conservative before losing their faith they are conservative after losing their faith. If they were angry before losing their faith, they are angry afterward. If they were liberal before, they are liberal afterward. Switching to atheism doesn’t change one’s political temperament.

Which is why Humanism is so important and why Humanism needs to be promoted!  If we are going to create a more just world, converting people to atheism isn’t going to accomplish that. Encouraging people to adopt a more humanistic attitude will!

For the readers of my blog who are engaged in atheist activism or who use the term atheism when what you really mean is Humanism, please ask yourself why. Why do you promote atheism. If it is because you think atheism will help people become more humanistic, realize it doesn’t work.  If you want peoplet o be more humanistic, you need to talk to them about and promote Humanism.

If you want to learn more - get the Handy Humanism Handbook: https://humanistlearning.com/jen-hancocks-handy-humanism-handbook/

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Comment by Daniel W on May 21, 2017 at 9:10pm

I am fully atheist, in all of the ways that Joan articulately describes.

To be honest, I don`t see how anyone can review history, and especially politics, and still beleive in the essential goodness of humanity.  To me, that is more Pollyanna than I am capable of comprehending.  Human beings are a process and product of evolution.  Evolution is far from kind, and lions never sleep with sheep.  Survival of fittest (species, variety, culture, political affiliation, philosophy) assumes the nonsurvivsl of others.  This is not a kind universe.

There are some people who I have known very well, who I respect incredibly, who I beleive are exsentually good and awesomely kind people.  I try to emulate them, but I am not naive about the vast majority of people, including christians, muslims, hindus, republicans, democrats, greens, libertarians, and independents. 

I suspect Western humanism is evolved largely from idealized christianity, with the more touchy feely expressions of the Jesus character, such as the Sermon on the Mount and The Golden Rule as a partial basis.  These things do not guide the individual who is suffering, or assuage suffering, and do not provide a framework for rational physical, mental, or emotional survival in an uncaring world and universe.

I think possibly secular(aka atheistic) buddhism is more likely to provide such a framework, and balance of individual vs. other, but I dont have the self discipline to go for it.  Secular buddhism acknowledges individual suffering and loss, and provides a framework for acceptance of those things that we cant change, without passivity.  I think of  humanism as paternalistic / maternalistic and I dont care for those approaches.

I prefer that our political system work toward equality of all people regardless of sex, ethnicity, origin, apearance, ability, age, sexuality, or preexisting conditions, but the only way to get that is for people to demand their fair share, demand equality, call politicians to task for being self serving or opportunistic, investigate, publish, coerce and cajole politicians to meet our needs.  It's not humanusm that will make society better, it's people demanding and forcing politicians to do what the people deem as right and fair.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 21, 2017 at 8:08pm

Betrtold, you may be right. Loners can and do make a difference in the world of politics and commerce. Certainly, Ruth makes a difference with her guidance in getting letterx out to the politicians. That is one project I enjoy. The return letters seem to me to be more thoughtful and thorough than the old ones I used to receive. 

A great big CHEERS for Ruth! 

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on May 21, 2017 at 5:43pm

Well put.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on May 21, 2017 at 4:24pm

Joan - yes it wouldn't surprise me at all if a higher percentage of atheists were more the lone wolf type rather than socializers.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 21, 2017 at 3:42pm

Bertold, I have trouble with professionals who indicate they belong to some religious institution. I met with an attorney yesterday to get some of my papers lined up, you know, the Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, and an update on my will. You know the drill, especially after the death of a child. 

The attorney gave a brilliant presentation of the purpose and function of these documents and advised me on some decisions that I can consider, i.e. whether to sell my home, what to do with investments, stuff like that. 

During the casual conversation that followed she indicated that she and her family have generations  lived in this area. She talked a bit about her church involvement. I was going to ask her why she belonged to a church but I didn't because she had another commitment and had to end the discussion. I know what her answer will be, "Because of the community!"

Years ago, while attending a conference, a R.C. nun gave an impressive presentation on the history of women in the R.C. church. I asked her why she belonged to the church and why she worked under the influence of her priests and pope. Her answer was quick, direct, specific, concrete, and understandable, she liked belonging to a community. 

Whenever I ask my question of a practicing church member why they still believe, even as they can recite the history of women in the church, the most frequent answer is that they like belonging to a community. 

I think that is where many non-believers feel a high need, to belong to a community. 

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on May 21, 2017 at 1:27pm

Hear, hear, Joan. I don't at all mind people believing in complete bullshit as long as they don't try inflicting it on others.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 21, 2017 at 1:21pm

At least she is "consistent in her inconsistency." I can handle them. It is people such as tRump who is inconsistent in his inconsistencies with whom I have trouble.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on May 21, 2017 at 1:13pm

Michael - those cherry-picking atheists, as you call them, are definitely out there. I have a friend who's a vehement anti-theist, yet she subscribes to the hilt to just about every form of wacky woo out there -- crystals, vortexes, aliens are going to rescue the good people on earth, you name it. Of course she's also a liberal who "couldn't" vote for Hillary, so she's consistent in her inconsistency.

Comment by Michael Penn on May 21, 2017 at 8:21am

Thanks Joan. Once I woke up I realized that your definitions fit how I believe exactly.

Comment by Joan Denoo on May 21, 2017 at 1:32am

Humanism defined: a system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters; a belief that stresses the potential value and goodness of human beings; it seeks solely rational ways of solving human problems.

Atheism defined: a rejection of a system of thought that there are god/s or supernatural forces. Atheism is not a disbelief in god/s or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in god/s. 

I am an atheist, I reject the thought that god/s exist. It is not that I disbelieve or deny the existence  of god/s; I lack a belief in god/s. I lack a belief in supernatural power, I lack belief in prayer. I lack  belief in a rescuer, a protector, or a redeamer. 

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