Compassion as a Problem Solving Technique
4 Reasons to Practice Compassion
As a Humanist educator, my job is to teach people how to solve their problems in a reasonable, compassionate and ethical way. To me, compassion is an integral part of my problem solving process. There is a reason why every major religion and philosophy emphasizes compassion. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that most people don’t take the time to utilize or practice.
You may be wondering what compassion has to do with problem solving because problem solving is an intellectual activity, something you have to think to do. Compassion is an emotion, what does compassionate have to do with thinking rationally?
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Jesus was a Humanist
If Jesus existed, he was probably a Humanist.
I realize that there is an academic debate about whether Jesus truly existed or not. It’s possibly his story was made up as a way to control the masses. I like to think he existed though.
My Christian friends are always surprised when I say this, but I like the Jesus story. It would be nice if it were true. The problem is that I only like his story if he is human. If he is divine, his story doesn’t interest me at all.
I am, after all, a Humanist. Human stories of oppression and redemption enthrall me. All stories, fiction and non-fiction, help inform who I am and more importantly, who I want to be. It doesn’t matter to me if the Jesus story is true or not. What matters is, is it a good story and can I learn anything of moral value from it?
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Speaking Truth to Power
The use of human rights education to combat bullying.
The Kennedy clan is taking on school bullying in a really interesting way. The Kennedys, through Project SEATBELT. are hoping to curb bullying by teaching kids about human rights. (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/changing-school-culture-can-end-bullying/2013/08/11/e41fee0a-fe11-11e2-96a8-d3b921c0924a_story.html)
The goal is to encourage kids to see themselves as Human Rights defenders. This will help them not only be engaged citizens of the world, but it will hopefully encourage them to have the moral courage required to stand up to the bullies in their midst.
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Will We Grow Out of It?
Brendan O’Neill of the Telegraph, who is an atheist himself, wrote an article about how annoyingly smug atheists are. (see: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100230985/how-atheists-became-the-most-colossally-smug-and-annoying-people-on-the-planet/) It is about how he as an athiest doesn’t really like the smug obnoxious atheism of activist atheists and how he wishes there were a friendly form, so he could self identify.
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What is Humanism and why does a decent definition elude us?
Philosopher Stephen Law has a new blog post – What is Humanism (See: http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-is-humanism.html) What I ‘ve read of it I like. I didn’t read it all because it’s so long. But the first part is excellent so I am assuming the remainder was just as wonderful.
For those of you who love reading about Humanism, go ahead, and work your way through it. For me, I just want to say that we need to do a better job of explaining the philosophy.
And that’s really hard because Humanism, is full of nuance. Yeah – it’s about being skeptical, but in the service of optimism. Yeah, it’s about rejecting supernaturalism, but to even describe that requires that we explain why we reject supernaturalism because it turns out woo is sometimes hard to detect.
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Wondering about Happiness
What is Happiness? Why should you care? Is Happiness something you can buy?
It’s funny. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about or worrying about happiness. That’s strange because I write about how to be happy a lot. But I don’t spend much time worrying about it myself, because, I’m basically happy.
But what is happiness? Why do I spend time writing about happiness when I myself don’t worry about it? And heck, is happiness something you can buy? After all I do sell books about how to be happy. Do they work?
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Libertarianism and Humanism
Why libertarianism is rarely compatible with Humanism.
There are a lot of libertarians who are godless. Which is fine. However, there aren’t a lot of godless groups for people to belong to and the libertarian movement, for political reasons, had allied itself with evangelical Christianity to create a voting block to elect libertarian minded candidates. Which is also fine.
The problem is that godless libertarians don’t really seem to enjoy the company of religious libertarians because the religious libertarians, aren’t really libertarians. They seem to prefer a “return” to theocratic government, which is decidedly anti-libertarian.
Anyway – these homeless godless libertarians seek out atheist groups to join to be among like minded people. The problem is that because there are so few atheist groups, sometimes the only option is a Humanist group. And … strict libertarianism isn’t really compatible with Humanism. As a result, these godless libertarians are always in conflict with their humanist brethren over what the group should be working on.
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How to use morality to defuse difficult or sensitive moral discussions.
This topic came up in the Humanist Institute session I participated in this past December. And I was asked to write something up about it. So. I am.
Basically, the question is how we can confront moral arguments while being respectful, but still making our point. And hopefully, not only making our point, but encouraging people to see our side of the debate.
Take abortion for instance. The prochoice side is all about a woman’s right to choose. The anti-abortion side is all about how horrid abortion is. And neither side budges or makes any headway against the other. We are locked in a never ending debate.
But do we have to be?
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Must read for Humanist groups
Why Humanist groups must be about more than just philosophy.
There is a great essay – 10 ways to make sure the atheist movement is not just for the wealthy by Alex Gabriel. The tag on this article is Living without god should not be a luxury. (see: http://www.alternet.org/belief/10-ways-make-sure-atheist-movement-not-just-wealthy?page=0%2C4&paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark)
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