Humanism Can Include Theism

July 24, 2012 at 12:34 am 2 comments

I am a skeptic, a freethinker, and a humanist. I don’t believe these labels exclude theists of various kinds, yet that is how they are often used, at least by implication.  Perhaps if I use them in lowercase, it makes it a little clearer that I am using them more broadly. A skeptic is one that does not accept claims without carefully scrutinizing them, and a freethinker is one who thinks for themselves, rather than rigidly following the dogmas of authority figures without question. (Said authorities can be religious, secular or political)

Humanist, on the other hand is a little trickier to define. In general, it is a philosophy of human dignity & independence from dogma, and reliance on reason and science.  I don’t think that conflicts with a belief in some sort of divine being(s) While I am probably not 100% sure of the existence of God(s), I have a sense of the sacred,  the power of ritual & community, and I seek the Divine, or more simply a connection to nature, the universe, my inner self, and others.

Here are some of my beliefs & ideas that I consider humanist:

  • Humans are intrinsically morally neutral, not born sinful without commiting any wrong. Or as the Unitarians put it: “We affirm the inherent dignity and worth of every person”.
  • The human body, and sexuality (if practiced between consenting adults) are beautiful, valuable, and we should be proud of our bodies and our sexual nature. There is nothing dirty or shameful about them.
  • We can and should be moral & ethical, regardless of whether we are religious. We do not need the pressure of God(s) and/or clergy to spur us to ethical behavior. In fact, the idea that one only acts morally due to divine commands and/or rewards in the afterlife is in of itself immoral.
  • It is important to focus on this life, and living it to the fullest, rather than an afterlife which may or may not exist.
  • Humans can, and should try to make the world a better place, both for each other, and for the natural world as a whole.
  • The scientific method is a good way of learning about the universe. Science does not conflict with religion, rather it complements it.
  • We should all be allowed think and speak for ourselves, and engage in civil debate in public and private with others who disagree.
  • God(s) may or may not exist, be if he/she/they do, humans reserve the right to not worship them without fear of punishment. Honoring and worshipping a divine entity should be done out of love and reverence, not out of fear.
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Entry filed under: Concepts & Definitions, Ethics, Humanism, Theology, Unitarian Universalism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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