This is a repost but given the change in the direction of the blog it seems appropriate. This is taken almost entirely from Paul Kurtz’ declaration he wrote for the Council For Secular Humanism many years ago. Seems prudent after so many years to re-examine it but for now here it is: the-affirmations-of-humanism and in Word format the-affirmations-of-humanism
This will be our ‘Values’ page as well.
When I was 15 years old I was quite the rocker. If you asked me my feelings on opera I would have laughed and criticized it. Somehow a friend of mine convinced me to join a school trip to see The Phantom of the Opera and it changed me forever. Not only did I really enjoy it but it opened my mind to other genres of music and performing arts. I spent the next few years volunteering at a university radio station exploring different genres of music and it made me very happy.
Stories like mine are very common, the arts move people in various ways and is difficult to explain but there is some understanding now:
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond
A small list but a good example of the intense study that has gone into how and why the arts effect us the way they do.
However, how can one put into word the importance of the arts to our humanity? Artistic expression is a powerful medium and the arts effect us all in one way or another.
Imagine society without the civilising influence of the arts and you’ll have to strip out what is most pleasurable in life – and much that is educationally vital. Take the collective memory from our museums; remove the bands from our schools and choirs from our communities; lose the empathetic plays and dance from our theaters or the books from our libraries; expunge our festivals, literature and painting, and you’re left with a society bereft of a national conversation … about its identity or anything else. Sir Peter Bazalgette
Entertainment, education, the economy, our community and even our national identities are all shaped by the arts. Without the arts you have a culture nearly void of pride, pleasure and historical relevance. The effects of artistic expression to psychological well being is so well documented that it is used as a therapeutic approach by psychologists. There is no contesting that the arts are important and as culture moves away from religion the arts will be a vital part of providing an alternative to what religion provides.
A perfect expression of how humanists tend to be. Learning from whatever we can (including religion) and taking what we need to formulate our beliefs and values. The independent nature of humanists summarized by an acquaintance, ‘Herding the religious is easy, they are like sheep. But herding humanists is a bit like herding cats’, a very accurate analogy. As such a fitting meme for secular humanism.
Note: This is a bit ironic because humanists tend to go their own way so much that this generalization may be just very well be wrong in some cases.
When this blog was started 6 years ago we had a goal of ridding the world of religion, superstition, the pseudosciences and all the harms they cause. It has been our great pleasure to see atheism and humanism grow so much in popularity worldwide. The internet has been at the forefront of the battle against dogma and superstition. The internet has opened the floodgates of information to the world and the result has been a new enlightenment. Unbeliever’s such as myself no longer feel alone in their beliefs (or lack thereof). Atheist and humanist organizations, and chat rooms have popped up in droves, and even atheist churches exist now. These are things were virtually unheard of as little as ten years ago. A cultural shift is occurring and the diminishing of religion is certainly a part of that.
Some careful reflection of this cultural shift has lead to us to make a change in the content of this blog. We are still against the evils of religion and superstitions but we have to ask ourselves ‘Now that religion is being heavily criticized and that shows no signs of changing, what now?’ Until human nature changes and we evolve past needing what religion offers for people then we must provide alternatives. Fortunately these alternatives exist and this blog will be primarily focusing on these alternatives going forward: Science, The Arts and Social Conscience.
The physical sciences help us fight disease and aging, protect our environment, and make our lives easier in immeasurable ways: from safer cars to the stain resistant clothing you may be wearing right now. The social sciences provide us with the means to improve our mental health, culture, economics and politics. The sciences are truly the key to our survival and our happiness.
Music, literature, film, painting, sculpture and other forms of artistic expression and entertainment move us in profound ways and are already providing hope and meaning to millions worldwide.
There is a great deal of happiness and satisfaction in the service of others. This can be something as simple as helping someone carry something to vast undertakings of selfless giving such philanthropy and social activism. There is a great deal of research to show that this in a natural part of our evolution.
We are still secular humanists and so will still be including the atheism and humanism pages and content will include these subjects. However, as part of our efforts to rid the world of dangerous, archaic beliefs we will be focusing on alternatives to religion. These alternatives are secular, deeply powerful and focus on what’s best for family, community and humanity as whole instead of how to please a God or Gods or those that proclaim to speak for them. We can live without religion and this blog hopes to show how that is possible.
Cardinal Raymond Burke
I wish the title of this post was a joke. A high ranking Catholic Cardinal abandoned all reason and embraced some extreme misogyny by somehow linking feminism in the Catholic church to declining morals in priests. (source)
Cardinal Raymond Burke, the rampant crisis of pedophile priests was brought on by women who “feminized” the church and discouraged “manly” men from participating in clerical life.
Cardinal Burke somehow manages to verbalize more anti-women hate then I have seen in a single speech in a some time. Including:
“Young boys don’t want to do things with girls. It’s just natural,”
“The radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized,”
And then there’s the the logic that somehow links feminism to pedophilia:
“There was a period of time when men who were ‘feminized’ and confused about their own sexual identity had entered the priesthood; sadly some of these disordered men sexually abused minors; a terrible tragedy for which the Church mourns.”
I look forward to some frantic backtracking for this sexist, ignorant rant but I’m not optimistic. Shame on you Cardinal Burke. Simply incredible.
‘Jameel Muhktar had to be put in a coma for two days after a man threw acid at him and his cousin Resham Khan through a car window as they sat at traffic lights in Beckton’ (Courtesy of the Independent). Both Jameel and his cousin Resham Khan were squirted with acid when they were sitting at a traffic light. They were both left with horrific, extremely painful injuries. The scars on their faces are permanent. Pictures left out because they are rather graphic but can be seen at the original article. Mr. Muhkter asks a valid question: Why isn’t this being labelled a terror attack or a hate crime? A white man attacked an Asian man and in a very sadistic way too.
Labeling this as a terror attack allows police more freedom to act in their investigation and more to the point: not all terrorists are Muslim. There is some evidence the suspect holds anti-Muslim views so this is at least a hate crime. Would this be treated as a terror attack if this were an Asian man spraying acid on two white people after he posted anti-white/western views on social media? Probably. There is definitely something unsettling in the fact that this has not been labelled as terror yet.
The prominent leader of a 30 million-strong Muslim group has called for a boycott of global coffee brand Starbucks because of its support for gay marriage.
Anwar Abbas of Muhammadiyah, the second-largest Islamic group in Indonesia, says the brand’s pro-gay stance is ruining southeast Asia’s “religious and cultured” core.
“If Starbucks only does business, then fine. But don’t bring ideology here,” (Courtesy of news.com.au)
Indonesia is a very traditional Muslim country and so homophobia is a big problem and so this is not surprising. However considering how much Muslims push for political change in the western world that last line was so hypocritical I just had to share.