Livefyre Profile

Activity Stream

I see the various dictionary definition differently—probably unsurprisingly—than the religionist does. Yes, the outlook  uses humanity as the primacy of our self-control, but this in no way implies anything selfish or hedonistic. That is their own warped worldview of "the other" projected onto us.  This primacy is a recognition that, as far as we know, there is nothing higher than us and we are on our own. Supernatural beliefs, and all the specific beliefs born from that concept, have no merit and therefore have no sway over how humans should and can live their lives. We decide.

Some other definitions from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/humanism:

1. A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.

2. Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans.

3. (Philosophy) the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favour of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts

4. (Philosophy) a philosophical position that stresses the autonomy of human reason in contradistinction to the authority of the Church

The second definition expresses this best: "Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans."Humanism is altruistic because it has to be. The concern for "humanity" implies  a concern for all humans including  "the other." We can still recognize the differences in people while respecting them and working towards equality. We work to see a time when human equality is achieved, discarding the concept of "other" and, if I may, the concept  of "sin" which is used discriminately and indiscriminately to judge others as "lesser than" or defective. The religious worldview is inherently dichotomous: us and them. Humanism rejects that.

In my opinion the definition says nothing about "comfort." It all boils down to a rejection that our importance and ability to be moral, guide ourselves, and advance comes from a supernatural author. From this perspective the importance of what sustains us is up to us. Logic can help inform the rest about the environment. How can our interests, needs and welfare be met by ignoring the same for the planet? 

One can only believe that the planet and its biodiversity is unimportant when humans are set up as special within the universe as dictated by a creator that created all FOR us to use as we wish. The absurdity of that belief is only outmatched by its unsustainability. 

1 year, 7 months ago on Expanding on the Definition of Humanism – Full Repost

Reply

@blamer  "Like magic." Priceless. 

1 year, 11 months ago on The Many Faces of God

Reply

In order to hold this concept as true, the Abrahamic faiths must reject central tenets of their religions. The Old Testament, The New Testament, and the Qur'an all have explicit statements to the contrary of any idea of "many paths." 

See: http://lefthemispheres.blogspot.com/2011/08/doublethink-of-liberal-theology.html 

The idea of "many paths" comes not from these religions, but from the diverse world we now live in and many peoples' genuine desire to not condemn otherwise nice people to the ridiculous concept of Hell. 

1 year, 11 months ago on The Many Faces of God

Reply

"The fact that it focuses on violence against women, and not violence in general, is not, as some claim, turning a blind eye to the many acts of violence perpetrated against men, children or even animals."

This criticism is pedantic. Not only does it smack of self-righteousness, it implies that if you're not doing "everything" than you aren't accomplishing anything. This idea is not only ridiculous, it is impossible  It is OK to focus on one aspect and work on that issue and for others to focus on their issue or cause. Of course violence is bad and a person participating in White Ribbon Day is against violence in general. However, domestic violence is what the majority of people experience in one way or another. Most people don't participate in war or are victims of violent crime. Conversely, 85% of domestic violence victims are women (in the U.S.). Sadly, that is prevalent enough to warrant its own focus. 

1 year, 12 months ago on White Ribbon Day – Calling for an End to Violence Against Women (part 2)

Reply

Martin, you make great points regarding how any blasphemy laws may (or likely will) be abused by the religious to persecute others. Of course the old atheist adage “Blasphemy is victimless crime,” is likely to annoy or insult the religious, but it is not untrue. Who is harmed by such statements or mockery? Certainly not the religious except in their own heads. We can dismiss the idea that whatever supreme being(s) being insulted would actually be harmed by such speech or mockery as they either do not exist or do not care (at least I would assume they should not should they exist).  

 

Another point I like to make about this is similar to your point of the potential for abuse via blasphemy laws. It is the height of intellectual cowardice. It assumes one’s worldview is correct above all others; which of course is a central characteristic of religion. It is a means for those in power to silence others. What better way to appeal to the masses then to claim religious offense? The majority of the world’s population would sympathize. As we saw with the Islamic riots in response to a poorly made movie designed to inflame Muslims, the liberals theists of the Western world are quick to take the side of the aggrieved. They do this without thinking.

 

The concept of blasphemy is a tool of religious privilege. Dissent, criticism, protest, etc. of a religion (or really most anything) can all be silenced via  any blasphemy law.

2 years ago on Anti Blasphemy Laws – Pakistan, Greece and Australia

Reply

“Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.” ― Ayaan Hirsi Ali

2 years, 1 month ago on There’s no Intolerance like Tolerance of Intolerance

Reply

Is the <slow clap> played? Because I really want to stand up and give you a <slow clap> while humming the The Star-Spangled Banner. 

2 years, 2 months ago on Dear America, We Need To Start Seeing Other People

Reply

I agree wholeheartedly, I just don't make the distinction from humanism.

2 years, 2 months ago on Why I Am A Feminist

Reply

To a degree this "movement" has been partially fueled on anger with good reason ala Greta Christina's essay cited above. However, the problem with anger as a fuel is that it can burn too hot and eventually it has to either explode or burn out. When we burn too hot we slip into less than rational reactions to things; such as the reactions to Sam Harris. I am guilty as anyone else in some cases, but I try and temper it and correct it when it gets the better of me. In many ways I fear this anger in the atheist community is getting to the point where we are attacking each other over things that a vast majority of us agree on philosophically but differ in the details. Rationality is slipping due to this anger and that is one thing we cannot afford. 

2 years, 2 months ago on An Atheist Learns How to Be Angry – By Paul Fidalgo

Reply

This question is always in the back of my mind whenever I make te statement that there is zero evidence for a deity. Also in the back of my mind is the realization that there is likely nothing that would convince me through my own "free will" (whatever that is) absent traumatic brain injuries, mind-altering substances (yes please!), brainwashing or some other manner that would subsume my normal operations. I agree that it would likely be nearly impossible to convince me of the existence of anything supernatural. As soon as "it" popped its head up, said hello and started to attempt to convince me it ceases to be supernatural and therefore I would assume it has limitations and therefore isn't a god.

2 years, 4 months ago on Could A God Prove Its Existence?

Reply