Values & Beliefs: Humanism As A Religion?


I read an article on the American Humanist Association blog “Brainstormin” about God coming to Earth and finally showing himself to humankind.

I was really confused how the conversation centred around
how atheists and believers (religious people) would have quite a go.

I didn’t quite understand all the rukus about someone else’s beliefs – especially since we Humanists tend to not bother with those kind of problems and just love people regardless.  Anyway, the following is my response to the article (and some other people’s comments):

.

As a recent self-discovered Humanist, I am confused.  I am (and always have forever been) a lover of people – regardless of who they are.  I almost get a sense there is a bigger question (with very interesting answers) this article brings that may need to be addressed – if we truly are Humanists.

Keep in mind that, as mentioned, I recently discovered my philosophical leanings towards Humanism; so I may raise a very basic ‘tenet’ of Humanism. For the past 30 years, I had always considered myself exclusively an Existentialist (without knowing it) operating in the world as a lapsed Catholic using all the good parts of Christianity without believing the magic.  I have worked in several industries, including government and the military; and I always found myself coming back to social and human services.

***

My most recent college studies as a community developer, I found Humanism; and I realized I had a philosophy with which I could identify and consider part of my ‘belief system’.  And what made Humanism even better was the implicit understanding that we love and believe in each other as human beings – regardless of our personal foibles, problems, and ways of expressing ourselves.

The more I am cognitively aware of my Humanistic practices in my everyday doings and beings, the more I realize how difficult it is to live the philosophy.  I sometimes have a private chuckle to myself when I make the comparison between Christianity and Humanism in my daily activities.  When I am doing something easy (such as being friendly to someone I want to speak with), I congratulate myself for my Humanism and openness with others.  When it is a difficult decision (such as choosing not to speak with someone because they have a shady past), I catalogue it under my former Christianity because I could easily excuse it for some kind of reason – any reason that sounds plausible intellectually.

Yet, in my Humanism, I feel empty.

          I have come to understand that as a Humanist, we love people.  Regardless of ugliness of humanity we are fed every day (media, entertainment, etc) and conditioned to accept as the default behaviour of people as a whole, I always thought we moved beyond the noise of civilization and stayed focused on what mattered – people and life and living and loving – without conditions.

So please forgive my ignorance for the following questions:

Why are we concerned with “what” others believe in?

Wouldn’t it be more fruitful and in line with our Humanism to try and understand what it is about the magic of religion that have them believe in the unbelievable?

When I think about the above scenario, my first thought is “so what?”.  I am not going to go gaga over a spiritual being who has a reputation of being all powerful and loving yet lets the world go to hell.  If anything, I would question his motives.  My second thought would be to try and figure out how to persuade him/her (if in human form) to cure the human physical illnesses of the world as the first priority.  The pain and suffering of cancers, etc are truly ‘ungod-like’ and sinister.

The next, and most important thought I would have, is to be in dialogue with God to have her/him convince the world of how organized religion has ruined his/her intentions in giving us this ‘love moral’.  The God would convince the world that S/he is actually a Humanist and used that philosophy as the blueprint and purpose of all Humanity from the outset

S/he would have to convince the world that when religion became organized (because the founding leaders discovered the power of belief), it became bastardized.  As soon as the human frailty, paternalism, and powerlessness emerging civilizations got added, the goals and results of their teachings became part of the problem of civilization – not the solution.  Hence, we have different religions that all purport to have the answers with ‘their’ solutions.  Sad, isn’t it?

As I said above, religion IS a Humanism.

Only when it is used as a religious practice does it become skewed because it takes the focus away from loving and praising all there is that another human can offer to focusing on worshipping ancient objects and metaphors that were meant for teaching purposes only.

I stay away from religion as a belief system, but it doesn’t mean I stay away from the people who worship Gods.  Heck, I sing in a church choir (and not even from the denomination of my past) for the sole purpose of singing. I don’t participate in the service.  I just love singing.  I like the people because they love singing too.

To end this diatribe, I would ask this:

As Humanists, can we forget about the noise of what people are doing and just love them?

Can we get beyond dealing with the results of actions and focus on the causes?

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3 comments on “Values & Beliefs: Humanism As A Religion?

  1. I’m a Christian. I just think its interesting that the God of the Bible is radically God-centerd and calls us to be God-centered also, and you are a humanist who calls God to a humanist also.

  2. Hi. Interesting thoughts. I have a question. Why should God be a humanist ie man-centered? Who’s greater, God or man? Instead of God and man being man-centered wouldn’t it make sense for both God and man to be God-centered instead?

    • just Kevin here says:

      I don’t know. I don’t consider those questions. I am more concerned about humankind on humankind interactions.

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