What Humanists Espouse

WHAT HUMANISTS ESPOUSE
By Ron Steelman

Humanist pc Front Final web

If you want to know what secular humanism is all about, simply read two short documents below.

The message in these two documents is pretty much the same, but stated in slightly different ways.  The “Affirmations/Principles” document below, from the Council for Secular Humanism, is the first piece about Humanism I read back in 2001. When I finished reading it, I stood up and saluted. These were positions I had been thinking about for a long time.

For years I had gone off searching for a set of morals and values that were not connected to any brand of theology. vitruvian-man-leonardo-da-vinciAnd yet, I wanted a connection to something larger than myself. And what I found here on these pages was a name for that connection: Humanism.  I just didn’t know there was a name for it. I had heard about Renaissance humanism, but didn’t know how it had evolved in our modern era. There it was and it contained every aspect of the type of philosophy I could support.

I am a member of the Council For Secular Humanism (CFI)  and the American Humanist Association.

If you haven’t read these before, please let me know what you think of them in the comments.


From the Council For Secular Humanism
3106964_origNow a program of the Center For Inquiry 

Affirmations of Humanism – A Statement of Principles
Drafted by Paul Kurtz

  • We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.
  • We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.
  • We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.
  • We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
  • We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.
  • We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
  • We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
  • We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.
  • We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.
  • We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.
  • We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.
  • We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.
  • We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.
  • We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.
  • We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.
  • We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.
  • We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.
  • We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.
  • We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.
  • We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.
  • We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings.

From American Humanist Association 
“This is not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe.”
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Humanism and Its Aspirations: Humanist Manifesto III, a Successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.

This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:

Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.

Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.

Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.


Humanist Manifesto is a trademark of the American Humanist Association
© 2003 American Humanist Association

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HOW TO FIND GOOD LUCK IN 2018 – PART II

HOW TO FIND GOOD LUCK IN 2018
By Ron Steelman

PART II – SUPERSTITION & RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

 

For years I’ve wondered why those who are religious don’t consider their religious beliefs to be superstitions. They scoff at the mere suggestion that religion is a superstition or related to the supernatural. They act shocked that one could possibly equate a major religion, say Christianity, with one of those low-brow, garden variety superstitions such as crossing your fingers for good luck. I’ve also heard religious folks object if you equate Christianity with supernatural claims such as the paranormal or ghosts. That they would object to beliefs in ghosts seems a little silly when the Bible claims Jesus was walking around talking to a number of people after he was crucified.

Whatever Christians might consider to be superstitious mumbo jumbo, they probably have that opinion because they can’t cite any scientific basis to support those beliefs, those claims, or those fears. They would be correct!

However, the dictionary wraps religion and superstition together :

SUPERSTITION:
– an irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion
– any blindly accepted belief or notion”

Basic Christian beliefs come from an ancient mythology that is rife with seriously complicated superstitions that are blindly accepted.  And even though a vast majority of religious folk refuse to make the connection between their superstitious beliefs and their religious beliefs, when you begin to unpack the stories presented in the Bible, each one seems more fantastic than the last one.

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Let’s take a look at some religious beliefs and some cultural superstitions. The lines in the chart are numbered for reference only. The two columns are separate and not meant to indicate that an item on the left relates to an item in the right.  Also, since I don’t believe in the authenticity of the Bible, please do not quibble about my chronological order. As I’ve heard it said in the South, “It don’t make no nevermind to me.”

TABLE

Holy Ghost, Batman! There is no difference at all! Billions of people believe many of these things are real and order their lives on them, even though none of them can be proven scientifically.
Superstition_Illus_Mag700
While researching superstitions I stumbled upon an exhaustive list of those chronicled in Russia, Russian Superstitions . Many are the same or similar to what I’ve listed here. This silliness has been around for thousands of years, mainly because the scientific method of testing claims of the magical or mystical did not exist until recent centuries. Then as Google states: “Francis Bacon was the first to formalize the concept of a true scientific method, but he didn’t do so in a vacuum. The work of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) influenced Bacon tremendously.”
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DREAMS

I did not include dream interpretation in the above list. What I have to say won’t fit in one of those little boxes. Dream Interpretation is a pseudoscience that keeps rearing its ugly head, although people insist on knowing what they mean.  I’m reasonably sure humans have been attempting to decipher dreams since caveman days. Those claiming the ability to interpret dreams have made millions of dollars over millennia. These “seers” come in many forms.

There are the “professional seers” who may even have some sort of academic or medical degree after their names. Even many smart scientists continue to study dreams, yet they haven’t coalesced on any one methodology. Numerous theories abound. Is it a pseudoscience? If you want to read about dream analysis, here’s an overview of the field from Time Magazine in September, 2017:  Time Magazine

Let us remember what Mr. Dickens had to say in his famous story, A Christmas Carol. After a visit by that scary ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge tries to analyze his own nightmares.

Scrooge: “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

My literary reference from Mr. Dickens is probably the most accurate of all dream analysis theories. Don’t pay anyone to tell you what your dreams mean. Save your money and conjure up your own analysis of your dreams, preferably something that makes you laugh. Or better yet, chalk it up to the “brain-dump-at-the-end-of-the-day” theory.

Coming soon in “Part III of “How to Find Good Luck in 2018” series:
“Fortune Tellers Can Be Dangerous”

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Who Created THIS Universe?

It’s with great pleasure that I present the work of my brother, Scott Steelman.
I never knew about his theories until this past year when he began to reveal his work into the worlds of multiverse, including parallel universes, at the Institute of Multiverse Research. He has recently made many startling discoveries that will greatly illuminate our understanding of this expanding field. But more about that in an upcoming blog. For now, let’s simply start with a quote from the noted MIT Professor of Physics, Max Tegmark:

“Parallel universes are not just a staple of science fiction. Other universes are a direct implication of cosmological observations.”

Although most Secular Humanists are skeptical about the claims made regarding the supposed “creator” of the universe, these discoveries will convince many.

Yours Truly,
Ron Steelman
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Who Created THIS Universe?
© 2012 – Scott Steelman

Most religions have a Creation Myth that explains the origin of the world. The TRUE STORY of creation has now revealed itself. It is clear and concise, yet many followers remain confused. Lo, they are the Confusionists.

This is the definitive explanation of reality in this world. If you dare to look further you will “see the light”.

Can you handle the TRUTH?  (We report, You decide.)

Annotated Excerpt from The Book of Lunch,
the most sacred text of Confusionism

First there was light…and it was bright.
Swirling energy crystals reflected the light
and projected a glowing image of Perplexus, the Lord of Lunch

There was a blinding flash and Perplexus awoke.
A Sacred Voice proclaimed: “It’s ALIVE! – and it’s hungry!”

Perplexus – the Great One was half-man and half-woman
(constantly bickering with itself, and arguing about where to set the thermostat)

He/She pondered using His/Her powers to create a
Magnificent-Majestic-Wonder-World to hang around in.
“Let creation begin!” He/She said.

The Great One ( or two) then made the NIGHT…and it was dark!

“Now let procreation begin”.
His/Her loins burned to have safe sex in the holy darkness.
It came to pass…..and was called the Big Bang.

The resultant glorious Self-Impregnation (one of the 7 Sacred Mysteries*)
filled Perplexus with offspring.

After a cigarette and periods of gestation elation alternating with guilt
Perplexus laid 3 magic eggs and thereupon immediately
Invented the omelet…and it was good!

Following breakfast, He/She
Laid 3 more magic eggs that eventually brought forth
The 3 fat sisters: Gigunda, Rotunda and Humonga
to help around the house. (At this point there were no houses,
but the Omnipotent Great One planned ahead.)

Within moments, the sisters grew up (and out) to massive dimensions.
Perplexus charged them with creating all further contents of his realm,
figuring they needed the exercise.

Gigunda also discovered Self-Impregnation and begat a son, Lloyd the Little.
The 3 fat sisters and Lloyd commenced to intelligently design every detail of
the Magnificent-Majestic-Wonder-World.

Gigunda made the land, sea and air and then the clouds, the rain and the mountains.
Rotunda brought forth many creatures, abundant vegetation and, of course,
the Vegi-matic. Humonga populated the land with somewhat intelligent creatures
made in her own image. (Mostly fat, but some more like Lloyd the Little.)

“Just a few more things” said Rotunda as she created cities, malls and game shows.
Humonga followed with automobiles, which begat the Drive-Thru Concept, which begat
fast-food, which begat indigestion. Lloyd insisted on adding computer games, cage fighting and Monster Trucks.

Gazing out over His/Her vast expanse of stuff, Perplexus declared
“Mission Accomplished” and summoned his cherished grandson, Lloyd the Little.

“Lloyd”, he said. “You will go down there and live among them, performing occasional miracles to keep my poll numbers high. Later we will compose the official list of rules
for our subjects”

And then they took a nap.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

To this day, Confusionists believe that the rumbling after a lightning strike is the sound of the 3 fat sisters walking around upstairs in the penthouse apartment – presumably awakened by the flashing lights.

*The 7 Sacred Mysteries
1. From whence did the First Light come?
2. From whom did the Sacred Voice come?
3. What’s for lunch?
4. Self-Impregnation (How do you do that?)
5. Is there an Afterlunch?
6. Why does Lloyd have two L’s anyway?
7. Who?…. But-a-who?…..Who wrote the Book of Lunch?

The Five Commandments
After napping, Perplexus convened a brainstorming session with all five members of the Holy family to compose the Five Commandments. The original idea was to have every person wear a single white glove with one commandment stitched on each finger. Then it was decided to just require that the commandments be memorized for use in a daily recitation of praise. Lloyd the Little was assigned the task of transcribing and delivering them.

Pictured below is the actual ancient tablet with the Five Commandments etched upon it.
Multiverse
The Five Commandments (translated to English)
1. Worship the “Great One”
2. Follow orders carefully and cheerfully
3. Always attend the “Meet Your Maker” fundraiser
4. Do not question authority
5. Bend over and wait for further instructions

This is the light that most devout Confusionists have seen:

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