I have had the great pleasure exploring many different ideologies. I studied philosophy and psychology at college and did a lot of reading of my own. Out of them all I chose humanism. There are thousands and thousands of religions, creeds and ideologies. Bookstores are filled with self-help and psychology books too. As such this only covers the ones I have tried exploring and ultimately rejected.
Why not religion?
Christianity and Judaism: Most people who will read this already know the usual complaints: fear, guilt and hatred. Threats of hell and judgement are in the bible so many times most people can’t keep track. Also, if there were no Christianity hatred for gay men and women would hardly exist, if at all.
I have a few more reasons of my own:
- Boring: I have never found anything exciting or interesting in any religion.
- Archaic: Religion’s use of old style English and folklore from thousands of years ago is only interesting so many times. The modern world has so many incredible things to learn about and experience religion’s claim to greatness diminishes quickly in comparison.
- Confusing: Religion uses so many parables and metaphors that it is very open to interpretation. Especially when one considers all the contradictions and inconsistencies.
- Dark: The bible is full of violence. The idea of a heaven in the afterlife denigrates the world we live in while still alive. Repeatedly telling people they are unworthy and that the planet they call home is base and corrupt. I simply cannot accept such a gloomy attitude toward life and people.
Buddhism: A mostly secular religion that doesn’t believe in God but instead believes in enlightenment. I only reject this religion as a life stance because of its emphasis on detachment from the physical. This profoundly undermines self-worth.
New age and self-help: These ideologies typically embrace a mixture of psychology, God and pseudoscience. There are many good systems that have worked for some but almost all of them end up being either easy-answers or just plain old baloney. This is dangerous because it can lead people to magical thinking, ignoring doctors and other professionals and forking over hard earned money for things that actually do nothing at all.
Humanism and meaning:
We covered humanist ethics in these three articles: part 1 part 2, part 3 and part 4. So humanism does provide a sound ethical framework but what about religion’s other big attraction: hope and meaning? For a humanist it generally entails having the courage to find your own meaning . Something religion, by the way, will tell you that you don’t have ( you do!).
So long as it makes you happy and doesn’t interfere with other people being happy than you have found a good source of meaning whatever it is.
Here are some my personal inspirations:
Friends, family and fresh air; who needs heaven?