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 Michael Penn on May 20, 2017 at 9:52pm

Michael - I'm not sure that's true.

After that confusing statement you go on to back up what I have said, and for the most part you agree that things which exist can be verified to exist. I'm perfectly aware that being atheist is simply having no belief in gods of any sort. If I disbelieve in gods and yet do claim to believe in the supernatural I've shot myself in the foot. There is zero evidence for supernatural claims just like there is zero evidence for god claims. I reject all such claims on the basis of no evidence.

To believe in the supernatural is a "what if" proposition. Gods are also supernatural. As a former theist who also studied for the ministry I find no evidence of anything supernatural. I need evidence for ET in the same way that I need evidence for gods or pixies. When I say such atheists are "cherry picking" it's because they plainly have no problem solving skills and want to believe in nonsense to begin with. If I throw gods away I will also discard anything brought up in the bible or other so called holy books. All the things that go bump in the night or come from other realms have a basic beginning in such books. Magick, Satan, demons, etc. spring forth in the mind as a "what if" idea. For me personally I have to discard anything supernatural.

Humanism has nothing to do with my thinking here, but I do agree that most thinking persons would not believe in the supernatural.

Comment by Jennifer Hancock on May 20, 2017 at 7:31pm

Michael - I'm not sure that's true.  Regardless, that's why I prefer to say - no supernaturalism. There is only the natural world. If something exists, it is natural and can be verified to exist. This covers both gods and all manner of supernaturally posited nonsense. Atheism is stricly rejection of theism.  I have met atheists who believe in other supernatural things.  As a Humanist, I reject all supernaturalism on a pragmatic as opposed to theological basis. supernatural beliefs hinder problem solving.

Comment by Michael Penn on May 20, 2017 at 6:46pm

This is very true, Bertold, but as an atheist I cannot believe in anything supernatural. My reasoning is that, just like gods, there is no evidence for it. An atheist who believed in ghosts, souls, visiting spacemen, poltergeists, demons, etc. would be a cherry picking atheist. He would be believing what he wants to believe but he would not be credible to me. I need evidence.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on May 20, 2017 at 3:27pm

The only thing atheists necessarily have in common is not believing in deities.

Comment by Jennifer Hancock on May 20, 2017 at 3:18pm

Flying Atheist - yeah - The most hostile groups for me to talk to as a Humanist are  atheist groups with a lot of libertarians in it.  Christian groups are surprisingly open to discussing Humanism and the need to keep god out of decision making. But those are liberal Christians. Fundamentalist ones, as Michael Penn notes, aren't all that interested in secular approaches to life. 

Comment by The Flying Atheist on May 20, 2017 at 1:25pm

There certainly are plenty of conservative-minded atheists.  You can find them in such groups as Neo-Nazi's, white nationalists, and skinheads.  A fair number of Libertarians are also atheists.  Libertarians may promote liberal social policies, but their overall view about the role of government and the general well-being of other people is definitely far removed from the core principles of Humanism.  I would venture to say the the hardest group to convert to Humanism would be Libertarians.  Humanism revolves around giving and helping others, which totally contradicts the core tenets of Libertarianism.  

Comment by Michael Penn on May 19, 2017 at 7:09am

I doubt that we would find very many religious secular humanists. In fact, fundamentalist Christianity attacks secular humanism in church sermons all the time. This seems to me to be because they want to retain their fairytales.

Comment by Jennifer Hancock on May 18, 2017 at 7:55pm

Michael - exactly - some people change, but the majority don't. And since that appears to be the case, then if our actual goal is more humanistic society - we need to promote that for it's own sake.  To me - the atheism/reality based decision making part comes in as a methodology to good governance. The motivation is good governance as defined by humanist ideals. In this context, we reject all things supernatural (including gods) not as a theological argument, but as a pragmatic one.  But if we need to start talking about creating consensus on common values regardless of theological orientation - even if we firmly believe that atheism as a methodology will yield better results. 

It also means that attacks on the right that paint them as religious are not effective because for a sizable portion, that's not their motivation - because they are atheists. 

Comment by Michael Penn on May 18, 2017 at 6:43pm

Jennifer, I need to read more and give this a try. I understand what you are saying and it makes sense to me. Conservative or liberal, you will be the same when you become atheist. That has to mean that atheism alone is not the answer. Humanism with a view of "no pie in the sky" would have to be the only answer.

Comment by Jennifer Hancock on May 16, 2017 at 12:15pm

Daniel - it is true that I am more active in places like LinkedIn and Facebook. Sorry - but you all aren't my target market. I post here mostly to spur discussion in topics I think are important for atheists and secularist and freethinkers and Humanists to discuss. I mostly do this to encourage people in the freethought/atheist movement to actually discuss humanism as something worth discussing. Sorry if it offends you.

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