Happy Thor’s Day
This holiday season provided some awkward moments for me. One such moment was when people asked me what I believed. It is about that time that I tell them I am a deist, humanist with pagan tendencies. This of course gets a raised eyebrow. The real tricky part is actually the humanist part that probably gets the most time explaining. My humanism is about what I look to solve my problems. Because humanism looks at the one thing we probably really have to solve them – humans.
Humanism has four basic parts as E.M Forster points out above. 1) Curiosity, 2) A Free Mind, 3) Belief in Good Taste and 4) Belief in the Human Race. I concur with this because the only thing I can actually see and interact with when it comes to my problems and the problems of humanity is human beings. More on this when we look through the eye.
Everything else is just theory and hope. Humanism is the side of my system of belief that engages the reality around me, and moves forward with the best solution that I and other human beings can come up with because; ultimately, it is what we have. If there is a God;and my deism says their might be, he either expects us to do things ourselves, doesn’t give a fuck or is engaged in more important matters than your or my issues. Spirituality might help me keep my balance personally, but it is my humanism that tells me to take responsibility for myself .
Time to Look Through the Eye:
I suppose the biggest thing of ‘faith’ in humanism is belief in the human race. I am also convinced that Penn Jillette is also right – 1) We human beings always think things are getting worse but 2) Things are actually getting better. When it comes to humanist the media, politicians and religious folks keep pointing to humanity’s failures and it makes it seem like they are the majority. The problem is when you look at real facts, humans as a general rule are good and getting better. The truth is when it comes to having faith in humanity it is not as much of a blind leap of faith as people think. It is those that would rule us telling us the bogey man exists so we will fear and then follow them that paint that picture. Reality does not really do that.
Religion in Humanism is negated by a free mind. In my former Christianity I was never allowed to question people’s beliefs, if they lined up with the basic tenets of the religion. I certainly we never allowed to question the Bible or the church. In short, there were certain thoughts I was never allowed to consider. That is pretty much all gone now thanks to my belief in free thought and free speech that goes with that. I can now question literally everything. I now see religion for what it is – a set of chains. Sorry, I refuse to wear them.
My theology of humanity has changed somewhat and there is still a lot of questions I am considering. But the one thing I believe in about humans is that they are ‘good’ or at least they are simply human. I don’t have this notion; that is purely made up, that people are sinners in need of grace. What I believe is we are human and have limits but we also have potential, strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to genetics I also know that each of us is truly unique. Each of us then has our own set of weakness, strengths, abilities and desires. I believe that we can achieve great things as human being in pursuing truth, beauty, liberty and equality. I know I am running headlong into a few objections most notably this one:
“Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty , liberty and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace” – Simone Well – French Philosopher (1909-1943)
My counter to this argument is that those who hold the idea of the need for grace to get these things are actually attacking the notion of natural rights they say they believe. If the natural rights argument is true, there is no need for these things to be given as human beings as they are already given by their creator. In my case, I say those things are already present in man and the only question is how to grow them and profit by doing so.
As a humanist I can say I am spiritual. I am however not religious at all. For my part, this means I have rejected living off the spiritual experiences of others, or the collectivism and hive mind of religion. I seek my on spiritual experiences and to be honest I find this more in daily life than anything else. I do however get an interesting reaction to saying I am spiritual but not religious, by said religious people:
Sorry, my humanism keeps my spiritual experiences in the context of the human experience. I find the spiritual in the moments I am kissing my wife, making love or watching my grandchildren play. I find the spiritual moments on my walks in the woods, when the wind wraps itself around me and when I hear the lap of waves on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Mostly though my spirituality is based on the humanist notion of curiosity. My wonder and desire ‘to know’ is what it is based on, not voodoo, just being a human being that wants to know and experience.
I know I didn’t really cover the notion of ‘good taste” But it kind of ends things really. The whole thing of humanism is to see the ‘good’ in humanity and minimize the ‘evil’. I achieve that first and foremost by seeing the good in myself and trying to be a better human being. If I can help my fellow human beings in their walk along that path along the way, well then I should try to do that as well.
Continuing to Walk the Path,
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.