Pete

Humanism and Atheism/Agnosticism.

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I always seen Humanism as Atheism and maybe Agnosticism but I have been told that they differ. Any thoughts. 

Don't they all share common thinking?

Edited by Pete

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I think I have answered my own question:;- Humanism is an approach to life based on reason and our common humanity, recognising that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone. While atheism is merely the absence of belief, humanism is a positive attitude to the world, centred on human experience, thought, and hopes.

 

It has been my experience that most agnostics and atheists share these values.

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The core meaning of Atheism is very simple.  I don't believe in God.  Or gods.  Over time, words do change their meaning, through use and misuse.  There are a lot of people, who can not distinguish between -- I don't believe in God and I believe there is no God.

 

There are subsets.

 

Non-theism, used by people, who are tired of arguing about the meaning of Atheism.

Polly Atheism.  As in -- There are a lot of gods that I don't believe in.

Anti-theism -- the people who seriously hate religion.  Maybe you remember Gnostic Bishop?  That's anti-theism.  This is often confused with Atheism.

 

The word Agnostic was invented by Thomas Huxley.  Huxley took the position that God is not knowable, so he didn't want to talk about belief.  In the common imagination, Agnosticism is a half way point between belief and disbelief.  That is not what Huxley intended, but that is how the word changed over time.

 

An additional layer of distortion came with Richard Dawkins, who came up with his Dawkins scale.  On a scale of 1 through 7, One is absolute certitude, that God does not exist.  Seven is absolute certitude, that God does not exist.  Four is dead center, giving either possibility equal weight.  On this scale, Dawkins gives himself a rating of 6.9.

 

Humanism came about, because people wanted to say what they are -- instead of what they are not.  People who don't play golf, don't spend their time talking about how they don't play golf.  In the same way, there are Atheists who don't want to talk about their non-belief.  They believe in Humanity.  In ethics.  In kindness.  Etc.  They don't -- as Dan puts it -- believe in nothing.  

 

We didn't mention Pantheism.  God as Nature or Universe.  I used to regard myself as Pantheist.  On reflection, I think it causes more confusion than anything else.

 

I will throw in Apatheism.  One day, I was talking with a Catholic friend.  My friend wanted to know -- friendly conversation -- what it would take for me to make up my mind.  He knew me as Agnostic -- and he thought I cared about whether or not God existed.  That I was searching for an answer.  It came to me, that this was also the weakness of the Atheist label.  That people assumed that I was searching for evidence.

 

Well, no.  I would gladly consider evidence if I found it.  The truth is that I don't care any more.  I used to care a lot.  Not now.  I'm not searching.  Life is too short.  I have other interests and concerns.

 

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Thanks Jonathan that clears up a lot for me. I remember when I first became a liberal Christian and people started writing to me as if I was seeking another religion. The truth was I was not. Since, being agnostic I didn't get those contacts. The only thing I find at this time is people sending me religious online greetings and asking me to post them on. I have to point out I don't believe in the story and therefore ask them not to send me religious posts.

I can see from your description that I drift into all areas at times. Humanist, agnostic, atheism and apatheism.
It seems many labels are there as a response to the understanding of others. Me I don't think about it much otherwise.

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2 hours ago, Pete said:

Thanks Jonathan that clears up a lot for me. I remember when I first became a liberal Christian and people started writing to me as if I was seeking another religion. The truth was I was not. Since, being agnostic I didn't get those contacts. The only thing I find at this time is people sending me religious online greetings and asking me to post them on. I have to point out I don't believe in the story and therefore ask them not to send me religious posts.

I can see from your description that I drift into all areas at times. Humanist, agnostic, atheism and apatheism.
It seems many labels are there as a response to the understanding of others. Me I don't think about it much otherwise.

 

 

 

All of these labels are just that.  Labels.  A shorthand -- thumbnail -- condensed version -- of where we stand on religious matters.  So, how do we pick a label?

 

We can pick a label, that we think has something to do with our position.  I chose Atheist.

 

Over the years, it is simply staggering, how many idiots have demanded, that I prove God doesn't exist.  How many idiots want to argue metaphysics.  Who insist on arguing about First Cause.  Evolution.  Cosmology.  Etc.  Of course -- What if you're wrong?  I'm so tired of Pascal's Wager.  Every pious moron comes up with the same tired old arguments, as though for the first time.  It's tedious.  It's boring.  I can't do it any more.  A few have managed to dig into my brain.

 

I was at a social gathering.  Very casual.  A pretty young woman wants to know my religion.  Casual chit chat.  I say "Atheist".  She wants to know -- "Can't we all get along?"

 

Using the Agnostic label has gotten me different grief.  From both believers and Atheists.  When I say "Agnostic", people think that I can't make up my mind.  I have been stunned by how abusive and nasty some Atheists get.  There is also the snark.  Rodger Dalton has a line about Agnostics riding the fence.  He said -- You can totally lose a nut.

 

These days, I go with Apatheism.  I still have my passions.  God is not one of them.  I can't do it any more.  I don't care about God.  It's not important.  It doesn't matter.  I don't care.

 

Back to your comment about drift.  I have done a lot of drifting back and forth over the years.  My development has been anything but linear.  

 

Living minds change over time.  The minds that never change, are either Fundamentalist -- or dead.

 

 

:coffee:

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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I have come to the conclusion that the core ulc tenents are the best basis for my philosophy:. Do what is right and only you can decide what is right.  

I think many atheists come to a conclusion similar in nature because we utilise logic instead of dogma and logic leads to ethical behavior.

Just my perspective, I could be wrong.

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7 hours ago, cuchulain said:

I have come to the conclusion that the core ulc tenents are the best basis for my philosophy:. Do what is right and only you can decide what is right.  

I think many atheists come to a conclusion similar in nature because we utilise logic instead of dogma and logic leads to ethical behavior.

Just my perspective, I could be wrong.

And that is what makes a person honest, admission that they could be wrong, rather than stubborn persistence that they are absolutely right.

That is what drives me to learn more of whatever I can, because I know that at times I may discover something I thought was right, was quite the opposite. Knowledge changes, just as everything else does.

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4 hours ago, Key said:

And that is what makes a person honest, admission that they could be wrong, rather than stubborn persistence that they are absolutely right.

That is what drives me to learn more of whatever I can, because I know that at times I may discover something I thought was right, was quite the opposite. Knowledge changes, just as everything else does.

The ULC has also been a learning curve for me. I started out as a fundamentalist Christian,  then liberal and then agnostic.  Many challenges came my both on and off the forum. Its been an education. I got many friends across the spectrum and I am grateful to them. It helped unpack a lot of childhood indoctrination. I used to worry if I thought differently from the faith. I don't anymore.  It's being ,whatever your view, true to yourself.  A lot more different to traditional education where you have to be true to what your taught and not what you find to be true for yourself. 

Edited by Pete

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On 12/20/2019 at 10:45 PM, Pete said:

The ULC has also been a learning curve for me. [...]

 

Just to join in (not so much reacting to Pete, as well the "overall"); this forum has definitely been a learning curve for me too... thank you all for that!

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On 12/20/2019 at 4:56 AM, cuchulain said:

I have come to the conclusion that the core ulc tenents are the best basis for my philosophy:. Do what is right and only you can decide what is right.  

I think many atheists come to a conclusion similar in nature because we utilise logic instead of dogma and logic leads to ethical behavior.

Just my perspective, I could be wrong.

 

I'm going to split some hairs with you over this.  I think it's empathy for the suffering of others -- and compassion -- that makes us better people.  Logic can help.  By itself, logic can also make us better, more effective, criminals.  The people who built the gas chambers for Hitler, used logic.  The best bank robbers also use logic.  No.  Logic is not enough.  It takes Humanity, with logic.  

 

:coffee:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl
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On 12/20/2019 at 4:45 PM, Pete said:

The ULC has also been a learning curve for me. I started out as a fundamentalist Christian,  then liberal and then agnostic.  Many challenges came my both on and off the forum. Its been an education. I got many friends across the spectrum and I am grateful to them. It helped unpack a lot of childhood indoctrination. I used to worry if I thought differently from the faith. I don't anymore.  It's being ,whatever your view, true to yourself.  A lot more different to traditional education where you have to be true to what your taught and not what you find to be true for yourself. 

 

 

:coffee:  Over time, the ULC has influenced my own thinking.     :coffee:

 

 

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On 12/20/2019 at 12:13 PM, Key said:

And that is what makes a person honest, admission that they could be wrong, rather than stubborn persistence that they are absolutely right.

That is what drives me to learn more of whatever I can, because I know that at times I may discover something I thought was right, was quite the opposite. Knowledge changes, just as everything else does.

 

 

Yes.     :clap:     :cheers:

 

 

 

 

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On 12/23/2019 at 11:12 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

I'm going to split some hairs with you over this.  I think it's empathy for the suffering of others -- and compassion -- that makes us better people.  Logic can help.  By itself, logic can also make us better, more effective, criminals.  The people who built the gas chambers for Hitler, used logic.  The best bank robbers also use logic.  No.  Logic is not enough.  It takes Humanity, with logic.  

 

:coffee:

 

 

There is a "dark side" to empathy too; we are "wired" to empathise to those closest to us. This can lead - if not carefully nurtured - to racism et cetera...

 

 

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I have still yet to be convinced that racism is not taught. My grand child went to the doctors surgery the other day and on seeing another child present in the waiting room they immediately set about playing together with the toys. The fact he was white and the other child black meant nothing. Just wish it was always like this.

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6 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

 

There is a "dark side" to empathy too; we are "wired" to empathise to those closest to us. This can lead - if not carefully nurtured - to racism et cetera...

 

 

 

 

 

I have spent much of my life in the company of loving cats.  This is where I learned my best lessons in empathy.  That things like pain and hunger and fear are not limited by species.  That love transcends species.  After that, race is nothing.

 

:coffee:

 

 

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On 12/24/2019 at 4:48 PM, Pete said:

I have still yet to be convinced that racism is not taught. My grand child went to the doctors surgery the other day and on seeing another child present in the waiting room they immediately set about playing together with the toys. The fact he was white and the other child black meant nothing. Just wish it was always like this.

 

Unfortunately there is a lot of scientific proof that shows us it is actually "built in" (especially research with babies). Thankfully not that "hard coded" and a lot still depends on upbringing (thankfully, so I must commend the upbringing of your grand child), but in essence we are hard coded for empathy towards "our own" group... 

 

This research got a huge impuls by a paper published in 2010 "The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Regulates Parochial Altruism in Intergroup Conflict Among Humans" in Science, Vol. 328, Issue 5984 by Carsten and De Dreu and subsequent research/papers...

Edited by RevBogovac

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3 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

 

Unfortunately there is a lot of scientific proof that shows us it is actually "built in" (especially research with babies). Thankfully not that "hard coded" and a lot still depends on upbringing (thankfully, so I must commend the upbringing of your grand child), but in essence we are hard coded for empathy towards "our own" group... 

 

This research got a huge impuls by a paper published in 2010 "The Neuropeptide Oxytocin Regulates Parochial Altruism in Intergroup Conflict Among Humans" in Science, Vol. 328, Issue 5984 by Carsten and De Dreu and subsequent research/papers...

 

 

In households with at least one dog and at least one cat -- the dogs and cats often become close friends.  It's the old nature vs. nurture argument.

 

:coffee:

 

 

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On 12/27/2019 at 2:53 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

In households with at least one dog and at least one cat -- the dogs and cats often become close friends.  It's the old nature vs. nurture argument.

 

:coffee:

 

 

 

 

Yes, true... nurture is a very strong factor. I was just pointing out that empathy (if not nurtured) does have it's built-in down-sides...

 

 

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