Freethought and the practice of Humanism
Why Humanists celebrate Freethought Day
Humanists have our own holiday calendar. One of the holidays unique to Humanists is Freethought Day, which is the day we celebrate the end of the Salem Witch Trials, which is Oct 12th, in case you were wondering.
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The meaning of life – micro and macro
How to find meaning and purpose in a life without magic.
This seems to be something a lot of people struggle with. At least, I get asked about it all the time. As soon as someone finds out I’m an atheist I get asked, how do you find meaning in life without “god.”
It always seems like such a strange question to me because meaning is not something I struggle with. But the fact that people ask this question means a lot of people do. So, here is the framework I think most Humanists use to find meaning in life. We create our own meaning.
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Choice: Responsibility vs. Freedom
If you thought we were past elevatorgate, you were wrong. William Hamby, the Atlanta Atheism Examiner, posted an article where he tried to answer the question of why there aren’t that many women in the Atheism movement. He thought sufficient time had passed since elevatorgate that we could actually talk about solving the problem elevatorgate was supposed to bring to our attention. He did this by datamining. And yes, he is a man after my own heart because that’s what I used to do when I was still a professional in the workaday world.
Anyway, what he found is apparently pissing off the rabid feminists in the atheist movement because it turns out that what atheist women really care about aren’t the things that rabid feminist atheist women care about. Which means that their prescriptions for solving the problem probably won’t work. What Hamby says he found atheist women are concerned about is politics (not necessarily gender politics, but politics in general), their families and kids and sex (and again, not gender politics sex, but actual sexy sex).
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The Librarian – Humanism in Conflict
I finally got to watch this wonderful movie the other day, The Librarian – Quest for the Spear. It stars Noah Wyle, Bob Newhart and Jane Curtain among others. It is a delightful movie. Think reluctant and super geeky Indiana Jones done as a comedy. It is a lot of fun.
But here is the conflict for me. The bad guys in the movie are the Serpent Brotherhood. They are named after the snake in Genesis because they think that sacred knowledge should be shared and used by all mankind. And, well, as a Humanist, I agree with that. In fact, the only problem I have with THE Library is that it seems like a total waste that only a select few get to see what’s in it. They have a lot of books in there. As a Humanist I firmly believe knowledge should be shared and used, that is what Libraries are for after all. So, I kind of agree with the Serpent Brotherhood. That knowledge belongs to humanity and shouldn’t be locked away.
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So Paul Kurtz – not my favorite guy – has issued a Neo-Humanist statement. It’s typical Paul – rather verbose with lots of words that are difficult to pronounce. He is after all the guy that coined the term eupraxophy and expected everyone to embrace it and start using it in daily speech. But my overall gut reaction to his statement is that he must be pissed off about the success of the New Humanist movement as envisioned by Greg Epstein at Harvard.
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Humanist Thought of the Week: July 21 2009
Human Based Morality
Both religious and human based moralities tend to focus on the same things, compassion and responsibility.
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California and the First Amendment
So, Ms California, who is anti gay marriage, is now claiming that
because people have criticized her for her views, that her first amendment rights
were infringed. This is super silly. She is right about one thing though. Her
first amendment rights do allow her to say any fool thing she wants without
being put in jail. What it doesn’t protect her from is other people exercising
their free speech rights by calling her an idiot without going to jail either.
Free speech must include the right to disagree. So yeah – she can say whatever
she wants and others are free to say that they think what she said was stupid
and ill informed. If she doesn’t want her opinions criticized, she shouldn’t
subject herself to the free marketplace of ideas by speaking her mind. But claiming
her critics should be put in jail for violating the constitution, which is in
itself silly because those restrictions only apply to the government, she is
proving herself to be a self-righteous hypocrite.
The number of mass murders is growing. It used to be that when someone killed a whole room full of people, it was big news. Now it is so common we hardly notice it anymore. There has of course been lots of speculation as to what we can do to control these homicidal maniacs, and as it turns out, we can’t. We can’t even predict it. But, what is missing in all this discussion is the obvious. It used to be that getting your hands on a gun capable of killing lots of people quickly wasn’t easy to do. Now, it is fairly easy to get such a weapon. Make it harder to get these weapons, and you make it harder for homicidal maniacs to kill large numbers of people. So… yeah – we are talking serious gun control. I am not even sure it is feasible in this day and age. But we should at least try and get some common sense measures in place. We won’t be able to stop the drug cartels, but if we can stop an unstable individual with revenge on his mind, isn’t it worth it? We should at least consider gun control as an option.
Ok – so, it appears that the Atlantic has decided to support Obama in the primary. They ran an article by Andrew Sullivan, the gay Republican, about why he is supporting Obama and why Obama is the only candidate that can move us forward, both in the war on terror and at home to heal the divisions in our own country. It was a well thought out article, which made a lot of sense, but like my dad said, it isn’t like I can explain it to anyone. It basically has to do with baby boomers and the residual effects of the Vietnam War. Regardless, the Atlantic is currently the only current events magazine I can stomach right now. The rest of them are too biased to trust and yes, I am talking to you nation.
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