Humanism and Religion

There follows Mike Dendor’s post on Humanism and Politics which is also a useful starting point for a discussion on Humanism and Religion:

Purpose of All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group – “To bring together non-religious MPs and Peers to discuss matters of shared interest” – note the “non-religious” part – why? Yet again, so-called humanists show a lack of tolerance towards moderates that use religion as a moral compass but without harming anyone and with an open mind – an attribute that this group obviously does not have – the TED talk makes this point about religion – there is no problem in someone following a value and belief system that helps them to get through life as long as they do not use it as an excuse to belittle or harm others – humanist is a word that I like but I do NOT like the way the word has been hijacked by a bunch of elitists that show a LACK of tolerance to others – I am an atheist myself but I completely understand people that use their faith to help them lead a humanist life – why cut them off from us!!
The definition of politics: – “The science of government; that part of ethics which has to do with the regulation and government of a nation or state, the preservation of its safety, peace, and prosperity, the defense of its existence and rights against foreign control or conquest, the augmentation of its strength and resources, and the protection of its citizens in their rights, with the preservation and improvement of their morals.”
- ALL CITIZENS, NOT JUST THOSE THAT THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE – as the TED talk emphasises, it is all a matter of balance or ying and yang and a matter of people with different value and belief systems understanding each other, NOT shutting themselves off from each other and foregoing the arrogance to say that they are the “right” ones and that includes s0-called humanists
- having said that, no value or belief system should have a specific privilege within politics or government, again including humanists – down with elitism, whether it be academic, value and belief systems, morals, ethics!! We can ALL learn from each other.

Chris Watt forwarded this link with an article by Richard Norman: http://newhumanist.org.uk/1623/holy-communion

An excerpt…

If we are serious about our humanist values, we should look for all those who share them, and work with them. If, according to Hitchens, that means that such people are really humanists after all, then call them that if you wish, but accept that they may also be committed Christians or Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists or whatever. The labels don’t matter. If Christians are happy to defend science against the idiocies of creationism, let’s work with them. When the news broke that state schools in this country were teaching creationism as science, Dawkins and Richard Harries, then Bishop of Oxford, issued a joint statement of criticism. Dawkins has been accused of inconsistency in doing so but it doesn’t matter, it was the right thing to do and it was highly effective. After the most recent attempted suicide bombings in Britain, national newspapers carried a full-page advertisement by Muslim organisations condemning the bombings and dissociating themselves from them. What are we supposed to say? “You’re just as bad”? That would be madness. They need our encouragement, and we need their help.

We have problems enough in the world. The threats of climate change, global poverty, war and repression and intolerance can never be countered unless we are prepared to work together on the basis of a shared humanity. Simplistic generalisations about religion don’t help. In Dawkins’s terminology, that means working with the “moderates” to counter the “extremists”, but it’s actually more complicated than that. Some of our allies against creationism may be deeply prejudiced against gays. Some of the best people working to combat global poverty may be Catholic anti-abortionists. Some of the Muslim allies we need to counter Islamist violence may have deeply sexist attitudes to women. It all demonstrates what a deeply contradictory phenomenon religion is. But we know that. And if religion is so contradictory, that’s probably because human beings are a deeply contradictory species.