Independence of Mind Isn’t Enough

Independence of Mind

Freethought, the independence of mind, is central to the quest for peace, but it isn’t enough.

The world needs Humanists and our Perspective

At the end of World War II, artists and intellectuals joined with French dramatist Romain Rolland to declare an independence of mind. Its purpose was to encourage artists to declare independence from the states that used their art for propaganda to promote war, hate and divisiveness.

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Black Lives Matter – Again

Black Lives Matter – Again

I have no idea why this is a controversial issue among Humanists. But it apparently is.

Create the change that is needed - Humanism

The summer 2015 issue of The Humanist Magazine was on whether black lives matter to Humanists. http://thehumanist.com/ – The conclusion of the magazine was yes, of course they do. For me also the answer is yes of course. If Humanism is silent on the main civil rights issue of our time, then it has no claim to ethics at all.

Unfortunately, some “humanists” think Humanism is only about not being religious and that we should restrict ourselves to that topic. I disagree. If you are only interested in being an atheist, then you are an atheist, not a Humanist. Humanism is about the applied ethics of compassion! Ours is not a religious ethic, but it is a compassionate ethic and that is what defines us a Humanists!  Failure to act on our compassion is a failure of our ethics. Humanism is about human agency. It’s about doing something to fix the problems of the world and to make the world better, for all humans and not just for a subset of them.

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Questions for God

Questions for God

I was asked the question and I thought it was a good one – so I am asking it and answering it here.

FSM

Question:

Assuming that God exists and you were to meet Him face to face, what one question would you ask Him?

My Answer:

I am a Humanist – been an atheist since I was 17. Was agnostic before that. Raised as a freethinker (3rd generation)

In order to answer the question of what question I would ask, I first have to ask a question. And that question is “which specific god you have in mind?”

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Humanist Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage – Humanist Style

Who doesn’t like a good pilgrimage, but if you are a Humanist, where should you go?

Enjoy the Journey

There are a few Humanist Halls – here and there, like the Conway Hall in England or the Humanist Hall in San Francisco. But when you think of buildings and things that Humanists like or consider making a pilgrimage to, you are going to be thinking primarily about libraries. These are places where human knowledge is stored and we find them irresistible. Architecture is married to knowledge.  I don’t think there are many Humanists who would not consider a pilgrimage to the Library at Alexandria to be anything less that – a form of Humanist pilgrimage. That being the library of libraries. 
 
We are also hugely fond of museums for the same reason.  So – the British Museum is high on the list of places that as a Humanist – I consider rather “holy” because it houses the Rosetta Stone.  My son is only 9 and his two favorite places to go, since he was about 2 – are the local museum and the libraries. He’s kind of really obsessed with both – they are places where you learn things – and that’s really cool to him.
 
However, back to the subject of monuments & buildings, there are other buildings and places we think are important and that tie more directly into our values and philosophy.

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Humanist Texts

Do Humanists have a “text?”

(This question was asked of me by a couple of seminary students doing a report on Humanism and by someone over at Quora). Here are my combined responses.

Humanism and happiness

There are no "key" texts or authors.  Humanism arises in every culture and in every time. 

A great site to get started on the international and historical nature of Humanist thought is Humanistic Texts 

The reason this site is called Humanistic texts is that the term Humanism wasn’t coined to describe this philosophy that’s always been around until the early 1900s.  So, we can look back at different philosophies and say – they were Humanistic, but because the term was not applied to those philosophies at the time (because the term didn’t exist), it would be intellectually dishonest to say they were Humanist in the modern sense, even if it is clear, they were pretty darned humanistic.  

That gives you the historical texts; now let’s look to the modern texts.

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grief extinction process

5 Stages of Grief from an Operant Conditioning Perspective

The 5 stages of grief are a perfect example of an extinction burst. This knowledge can help you not only experience grief more quickly, but get to acceptance more easily.

Grief experience

The 5 stages of grief are listed as:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • And acceptance.

These stages don’t necessarily occur in order and different people spend a different amount of time in each stage.  The final stage being acceptance.  For more on the stages of grief and how people experience them visit this psych central article: http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/000617

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Finding meaning in your life

Finding Your Purpose

We all need goals – the problem is – what goals will help us to feel fulfilled?

Making a fairer world isn't going to happen on its own

Finding meaning and purpose in your life is one of the great problems of existence.  Without a purpose we feel lost.  Sure, we get up and eat and continue to breathe, but we don’t feel fulfilled and we don’t have a sense of purpose. Without a purpose or a goal to pursue, we suffer from ennui.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, all you need is a purpose. But not any old purpose. Because people’s whose purpose is just to get rich or get married or have kids, they tend to suffer from mid-life crisis at some point. Basically, once they’ve accomplish their goals – they are left without goals and have to deal with their brain repeating “now what” in an endless loop.

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What Humanists should be talking about

The Conversation We Should Be Having

Why I think Humanists need to stop obsessing about Atheism.

Humanism is about caring for other humans and the communities in which we live

The Humanist magazine had a great article in it recently from Sikivu Hutchinson. (See: http://thehumanist.com/magazine/may-june-2014/up-front/who-wants-to-be-a-rocket-scientist-race-gender-and-the-stem-divide ) I think it is right on and it’s the sort of conversation we need to be having as Humanists.

Simply put – people believing in religion is not our biggest most pressing problem!  Discrimination against atheists happens, and we need to come out and deal with it. But is that a Humanist problem? Yes – but only because it’s a human rights issue.

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Is the Humanist Brand Dying?

Is the Humanist Brand Really Dying?

No – we just have a marketing problem.

That's Humanism - British Humanist Association Photo

The Terahertz blog had a very interesting blog post about how the use of the word humanist has decreased even as the use of the word atheist has increased.  (See: http://terahertzatheist.ca/2014/01/24/is-the-humanist-brand-dying/) David Silverman of American Atheists had mentioned the same thing at the Florida Humanist conference back last year.

The point both are making is that if Atheism is well understood by the public that is the word we should be using. Because people know it and are looking for it.  I disagree. I think the problem we have is that Humanists aren’t using the word enough – which is why it isn’t being used or searched for.

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