Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The Return of Saint Will

Over at the Humanist Way, Edward L. Ericson illuminates some basic ideaolgy:

Many who belong to no church or sect--along with many who do--when asked to identify their creed, will reply simply: " My religion is the golden rule." Or they will answer: "Formal church doctrines and theologies are not important to me. The way in which I relate to others and to myself is all that finally matters." Without perhaps having a label for their faith, such people--to the degree that they live by these convictions--are practicing the essence of the Humanist religion.


Ethical Humanists contend that the dignity and moral worth of human personality should always be respected as the supreme end in view, the summum bonum, the supreme good to be observed. This affirmation of human worth is the starting point of Humanist religion.

In theory, I can get behind this sort of religion. If it werenít for my deep-rooted bias against organized religion in general, I mean.

I recognize that some people have a need to believe in something bigger than themselves, in order to go on living. I once heard a woman say that if it were proven to her that there is no God, she would probably just step in front of a bus. To this I say, ìHere, let me give you hand into the road.î

If you have to believe in some fairy tail in order to get out of bed in the morning, youíre doing something wrong. Maybe you need to switch professions, take up a hobby or find a man/women or sex toy of your preference. I for one stand in awe of the simple physical world in all its beauty and tragedy, intricate nuances and mystery every single day. But thatís just me. I donít need mysticism and magic pixie dust to feel good about myself, being alive, breathing cool Autumn air or finding something grand and wonderful about the Human Drama. So perhaps Iím just the sort of person who might feel at home in the ranks of the Humanist Religion. Perhaps it might change my mind about the evils of group think, to be part of a larger whole, something positive in nature and directed towards increasing the well being of the world. If it weren't for the fact that every religion that has ever been has had this as their basic mantra, I might want to join up. But I've seen how even small groups can descend into fanaticism and dogmatic infighting, all in th ename of fancy ideas.

Now, it isn't that the ideas themselves are bad. I like ideas and have a lot fo them myself. But once you start developing theminto some code or creed, that's when things go wrong. It's a lot easier to change an idea than it is to change a belief (to paraphrase Rufus, from Dogma).

But Iím skeptical of all rhetoric, no mater how benign or flowery. Iím sure the Humanists, like Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Voodoo practitioners, Santarians, Buddhists, Shintoists, Mormons, and Wiccans are all nice folk, who do the best they can in this crazy world. But I think they are good people in spite of their dogmas, not because of them.


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