Thursday, March 02, 2006

What is Secular Humanism?

To me secular humanism is the embrace of life here and now. It is the act of ceaseless inquiry into the world’s mysteries and life’s uncertainties. It is the unwillingness to surrender to superstition, supernaturalism, and any form of theism without proper evidence for support. It is the act of searching out answers and finding truths through scientific knowledge and methodology. It is understanding that there is no room for supernatural explanations for phenomena witnessed in life, that there is a natural and scientific way of understanding such phenomena, and that when we reached the limits of scientific understanding we must be willing to accept that we cannot yet understand such phenomena while refusing to accept supernatural explanations without any evidence for support. It is the knowledge that what we cannot understand or explain today may surely be understood and explained in the future and to wait for this day rather than subvert science and embrace irrationality in any form of supernaturalism. To me secular humanism is saying yes to life here and now. It is the progress achieved and looked forward to. It is the undying empathy, unconditional positive regard, and general concern for the well being of other people and life in general. It is holding responsibility for ones own actions, it is holding ones self accountable. It is a rational moral code and guideline for ethical conduct. It is the endeavor to remediate the world’s ills, create a more peaceful world and existence and attempt to make a cohesive and tranquil world-state.
To me secular humanism is the challenge to bring about the best of your abilities, to actualize your potential and develop your potential to the highest significance possible. It is sharing the love of life with others, enjoying the company of acquaintances and loved ones while having the pleasure to do so.
It is the realization that we are all members of the immense human race; that we all share a common humanity, this being enough reason to support and protect one another. It is defending human rights when violated or in jeopardy, whether defending black culture from racist white supremacy, championing women’s equality in a sexist ‘mans world’, fighting for homosexuals equality in an ever volatile homophobic environment, to simply upholding common civil liberties gone amiss. It is making the most out of what you are provided with, it is making the most of the wonderful opportunity that you are afforded by having life. It is the knowledge that life is more precious and delicate than we sometimes believe it to be.
To me being a secular humanist means understanding that there is no spiritual realm or supernatural existence, and that when you die there is no continuation of yourself in any form. It is the knowledge that you are a physical body and that your conscious awareness and personality are extensions of this physical body through the highly complex and advanced human brain, that when you die this organ will deteriorate and dissolve hence your conscious and personal existence will cease to exist. This knowledge, to me, means that I must make the most of my life now while I have the fantastic opportunity to do so. I shouldn’t waste my time and opportunity, I shouldn’t look towards the sky and hope for better days, I must make the better days come about for myself with my own ability and power. When negative situations happen or obstacles are faced, I should not pray to a supernatural force that does not exist and sit back hoping this force will intervene on my behalf, rather I should actively go out and attempt to rectify and improve the negative situations or overcome the difficult obstacles with my own human ability.
To me being a secular humanist means making the most of life here and now, being the best person that I am capable of becoming, helping others strive to be the best that they can be; working to help create a citadel of peace and beauty upon this earth, striving to help people and life in general live a more satisfying and tranquil life. To me secular humanism is everything that I know, value, respect, cherish, and love; it is a way of viewing life while at the same time engaging in life in the most practical and positive way possible. To me secular humanism is championing human ability, reason, and compassion; secular humanism is saying yes to life.

24 comments:

JustinOther said...

*applause*

well said.

JDHURF said...

Thank you very much!

Stardust said...

I must admit that I don't do as much as I should to make the world a better place, but I am not living with my head in the clouds, or in the sand either. I am not proclaiming to believe one thing and living in contradiction against my professed beliefs. If we just sit back and say some voodoo prayers, wait for a heavenly father to wrinkle up this crappy "rough draft" of his supposed creation and start anew, the world is doomed. We all need to open our eyes and see how really good LIFE is HERE AND NOW...HERE ON PLANET EARTH.

melloncollie said...

JDHURF,

Another beautifully written piece. I join in with justinother's applause.

Stardust said...

I want to add my agreement, which I left out of my first comment...great piece jdhurf...

I see you are a student. Can I ask what you are majoring in? You seem to know a lot for a 22 year old and you write very well.

JDHURF said...

melloncollie,
Thank you for the positive support.

JDHURF said...

stardust,

Thank you also. I am majoring in psychology but I would also like to focus on philosophy.

“You seem to know a lot for a 22 year old and you write very well.”

I’m flattered, thank you!

The Jewish Freak said...

Well done! I especially like your idea of the importance of accepting the unknown. There are some things that we will never know. Better to live with the questions than with fictional answers that insult our intelligence and distort science and logic.

JDHURF said...

Thank you for stopping by and lending your views.

"Better to live with the questions than with fictional answers that insult our intelligence and distort science and logic." - JF

Definately I, of coarse, couldn't agree more. Thanks for stopping by.

Stardust said...

I don't know if you know but Evan got you on his own blog too...I warned you! They will eventually declare that you are "ignorant" and declare themselves omnipotent and continue to haunt you for awhile.
http://veritasredux.com/

Stardust said...

JD I must also add that you make a hell of a lot more sense than they do over there! Good job! You are REALLY good!

JustinOther said...

I, for one, have decided that the only way to extricate myself from the unending debate, which I mistakenly and naively started, is to ignore it completely from now on. I realize that the conversation is pointless as neither is going to change the other's views.

Stardust said...

Justinother

You also did a fine job with them, but they will just keep arguing for the sake of the "sport" of arguing in itself. I agree, it is pointless. Like I said before, they should just declare themselves omnipotent and write praises to themselves. They should close comments and just make a worship site to themselves.

JD - I see they have called for "reinforcements" to gang up on you. Good luck with that.

Stardust said...

JD....apparently you are the star on Jim Jordan's blog today. He is writing how Triablogue is "taking you apart".
These xians are so lovely, aren't they?

like a dirty french novel said...

Fell upon this post randomly and fell also upon complete agreement. The question now is how does one go about converting "believers?"

Also. stardusts point is exactly what I wish more people would digest instead of refute: that life is amazing and should not be taken forgranted on the assumption that something "eternally greater" awaits us. Eternity, frankly, seems like an impedement to living LIFE to me.

JDHURF said...

stardust,
Thank you for telling me of evan’s blog I knew of only the triablogue, I have now responded in both blogs. One thing that I assure you will not happen without my absolute dissent and outcry would be any one claiming that I am ignorant without substantive evidence proving so. If they call me ignorant the debate will certainly liven up a little but I hope that they are civil and decent enough to refrain from such hyperbole. I assume that they are but I can be wrong.
Also thank you for the compliments I really appreciate it!!
I know, they have numerous individuals attempting to intrude upon the debate but I will not allow it. I will address evanmay and evanmay only, as I told them in my introductory paragraph.

justinother,
I understand your position completely, I have done the same on other blogs (Jared Moore’s especially) but I am hoping that evanmay will be able to stick to the topic and not wander and lead into convoluted tangents allowing us to either come to armistice or an acceptance and understanding of where we both disagree and leave it civilly at that.

likeadirtyfrenchnovel,
I am glad that you found the blog and enjoyed it. I also agree with you regarding life for eternity, as I have said before: “Existence for an eternity based on the current mythologies? No thanks.”

Stardust said...

JD...If you go to Moral Science club and read that post about you, the comments BF and Jordan write to each other makes me think of Beavis and Butthead or Ren and Stimpy.

JDHURF said...

Lol! I wasn't aware of the fact that they posted about me, I will have to check that out.

JustinOther said...

Ah, when pushed into a corner, come out fighting. I guess when threatened, they return to their animal instincts (which they got through evolution) and come out swinging. Shameful, really, that they (or anyone who reacts in this manner) cannot have a meaningful debate and refrain from slander and personal attacks.

They kind of remind me of politicians without that polished edge.

JD - I've noticed you have not had a new post in a while. Please do not let these few individuals steer you into THEIR debate while you ignore your own. It is imposible to win, for lack of better terms, when at the visitors field. You are better off at home where you frame the discussion.

JDHURF said...

justinother,

Yes I know I had gotten far too entangled with this debate that, unfortunately, ended in the other side being derogatory and juvenile. I have now extricated myself from the debate and will not worry myself with such people. It was really disappointing and sad that they began to degrade my very character when unable to argue the points.
I actually have an idea for a new post but I do not know when it will be ready, hopefully soon!

Thanks for the interest and encouragement!

JustinOther said...

I look forward to the next post. I'm glad you got disentangled.

DC Sorensen said...

I would agree 100% if you dropped the word "secular". Not that I am writing for the opposite - namely religion, but secular humanism has mostly been kidnapped by rabid liberalism. Love of what is human and the knowledge we have compiled in the last 3000 years is a core humanist belief. However, I noticed you did not comment on abortion. Most secular humanist insist on "women rights" over the rights of the unborn. Check out the raving atheist and you will see the hate mail he got for being an atheist in favor of the unborn. I once belonged to the Twin Cities Humanist club and wrote a pro-life article for the newsletter. It was already printed and addressed when the President of the group killed the issue and my article. Censorship is alive and well in the secular humanist crowd. I would be interested to see if JD extends his love for humanity to the unborn. It is the move to the left that has caused humanism to become a fringe area of our culture. When Robert Ingersoll was alive this was not so. However, Ingersoll was a pro-family humanist and so is now ignored by most secularists. With the incorporation of the religion of environmentalism into secular humanism the movement has become even more radical and rigid. That is why I call myself a conservative humanist. Cheers.

beepbeepitsme said...

"Secular humanists suspect there is something more gloriously human about resisting the religious impulse; about accepting the cold truth, even if that truth is only that the universe is as indifferent to us as we are to it." Tom Flynn

JDHURF said...

DC Sorensen,
While I am glad that you and I find so much agreement you will simply have to disagree with me regarding the *secular* portion of the title because it best describes my views. Furthermore I am liberal in my political views and do not find a *rabid* from to be overbearing within the secular humanist community, that seems to be an unsupported claim. My view regarding abortion is that women retain the right to govern their own body and reproductive system based, at least in part, on the fourteenth amendments equal protection clause, not to mention the mandatory precedent set by Roe vs Wade.
I would not doubt, albeit I would be surprised to find, that there is censorship shadowing specific secular humanist groups and collectives but rest assured my blog is not one of them and the Council for Secular Humanism, the group I am a member of, is also not one of them.
Humanism is going to be seen by the overall public as a *fringe* portion of our culture so long as religious ideology and dogma occupy the center and furthermore the *pro-choice* view regarding abortion is far from the fringe view, simply look at South Dakota and the voting public that has voiced their outrage over the unprecedented actions taken against abortion. To claim that the pro-choice view is, in any way, an arbiter to humanism being seen as more fringe by society overall is simply false. Regarding my view on abortion I will summarize by saying that I extend my humanity to sentient beings worthy of consideration as such and I, along with the scientific and medical communities, do not consider an amalgam of growing cell life as such, although, I am personally against late term abortions.
While I no doubt agree that environmentalism can be taken far into the extreme and easily molded into a religious like sect secular humanism is certainly doing no such thing. Secular humanism supports environmentalism based on the current scientific communities consensus and research findings.

Beepbeepitsme,
Great quote from Tom Flynn, I always enjoy his OP-ED’s in the Free Inquiry.

Thank you both for stopping by and leaving comments.