Happy Thor’s Day
These days I am looking at being nothing but a human being – hopefully a decent one. As a deist I can acknowledge the possibility of a god, gods or divine force but because of ignorance I don’t really know what they or it is. I just don’t know and I cannot assume that they have done anything more than create the perimeters in which I live and nothing more. I have faced and will continue to face problems in this world, so who do I rely on to help me with those difficulties?
This is where I become a humanist and basically say it is time for the human race to grow up and realize that the only solution to human problems is humanity itself. That if I am going to look to solve my problems, I need to look to me to solve them and if I can join together with other humans to solve mutual problems that may be the only way to solve them. I need to have ‘faith’ in humanity to do this because in truth, as far as we know, our only salvation for our problems is our own abilities to over come them.
I know people might watch the news and wonder how one can have faith in humanity. I do because in truth the news focuses on a small minority of people with either a problem or are the cause of a problem. The news always focuses on the small minority of bad things that happened while ignoring the normal good things that happen every day that are far more numerous. It is the classic case of focus on the negative but ignoring that the positive that far outweighs the negative. “Problem X has gone up two percentage points in the last year.” What they don’t tell you is this is only an increase from 2% to 4% and 96% of people don’t have that problem or are not engaged in that negative behavior. As Penn Gillette rightly observed there are two things about people which are true: 1) Things are usually getting better all the time and 2) People always believe they are getting worse.
I believe most of us humans are like myself. I am just trying to make my way in this world the best I can, make the best life for myself. I just doing the best I can with the cards I have been dealt and trying to get new cards if I can. I would never intentionally hurt someone and I mind my own business unless I see someone in trouble and then I try to help as best I can. I don’t do this for any other reason other than it’s the right thing to do. Because it is the human thing to do.
This is a far cry from most religions which try to tell you that humanity is all sinful, or deficient or selfish. Religion as a general rule uses guilt and remorse for past mistakes to motivate people to action. It also creates this false sense of achievement that allows some of that religion to arrive at a higher spiritual plane and thus judge the rest of us a righteous or unrighteous. Thus they can motivate us to serve them as a way to ease their burden while adding to our own.
I am not very religious anymore. Mythology of all types is more of a hobby and area of knowledge of mine but in truth I approach the world trying to be spiritual but not religious. My motivation comes from my own humanity which I no longer consider sinful or deficient. There is good in me and probably more than most religious systems would acknowledge or want me to acknowledge.
As a deist and humanist, my theology of humanity has changed quite considerably. I no longer see human beings as anything but what they are – human. Not sinners in the hands of an angry God, not morally deficient because they have desires that are basic to survival and living and not some drifting concept or phantom shadow. Just real genuine humanity.
This means I can hope a lot of things for my fellow humans. I can see them as fully capable of handling their own problems. I can also see that if I join with them I might be able to overcome greater problems. I don’t look at humanity as the problem, but the only real thing I can see and know that can solve those problems.
There is a respect for the individual human that follows from this as well. Not just a respect for the whole of humanity, but that each human being has this capacity to be more and better than what they are. Because of this I feel and have always felt that humans should be as free as possible to pursue their own interests to overcome their own problems as long as they do not bring harm to others. In the end I alone and they alone are responsible for their actions.
As a humanist I know on thing for sure – I alone am morally responsible for what I do. No one else can have that responsibility. I also cannot be held morally responsible for anyone else’s choices. Nor should I be held accountable for them. If there is one axiom of religion that might be true, it’s the idea of being treated like I want to be treated. I want to be left alone to pursue what is best for me and as long as I don’t do that by harming or exploiting others, I should be allowed to do it. This is my basis for liberty and freedom for myself and all others. I am a libertarian in large part now becasue I am a humanist.
It is in liberty and freedom where human beings are free to pursue solutions to their problems and associate with those they choose to associate with that such solutions will be found. No place else. This is something that religious people find it hard to grasp. They turn to a god, gods or whatever force they serve for the solutions and then wonder why problems still persist. This issue is turning to the one thing we know in the world that has the potential to actually solve the problems we face – ourselves.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.