Sent in by Jamie G
Years ago I remember sitting in a church service. It wasn't different than any other church service I had been to, but I was introduced to a term, and a group of people, I had never heard of before..... secular humanists. The way the preacher was talking you would have thought there was some huge underground conspiracy ran by these people to take over the world and set themselves up as God. For a long time I believed, because it never crossed my mind to look it up for myself, that secular humanists believed they were each gods, like some kind of new age woowoo.
Living in my small town I had never met anyone who flat out blatantly denied being a Christian, or didn't believe in God. I met Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Catholics, and I thought this was diversity, but to go to college and actually meet Wiccans, Muslims, Buddhists....and the dreaded ATHEIST and secular humanist was almost too much for me.
While in high school I did spend one school year studying tons of various Christian denominations and other world religions. I find it funny that I never thought to find out what a secular humanist was.
But now I know. And now that I know, I wish I would have known a long time ago. And if you don't know, here are a few things that secular humanists believe:
Secular humanism describes a world view with the following elements and principles:
* Need to test beliefs - A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
* Reason, evidence, scientific method - Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
* Fulfillment, growth, creativity - A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
* Search for truth - A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
* This life - A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
* Ethics - A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
* Building a better world - A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves.
Now that last section is straight copied from Wikipedia. There was nothing about Satan, or worshiping demons.... nothing about sacrificing children or having sex with goats. In the past few months I have learned more about what secular humanism, freethought, and atheism than I did as a Christian. It turns out it isn't as bad as I heard guys like Pat Robertson or Hal Lindsay said it was. It also goes to show that it IS possible to be a productive and ethical individual without a Sky Daddy watching over my shoulder to keep me in line. Isn't it more noble to live without compulsion and fear of condemnation? I say yes.
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Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)