Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Humanist Symposium #19

Some truly fantastic Humanist thought has gathered in my inbox over the past few weeks!!! These articles cover Humanist Philosophy and practice and everything in between! So let's get started.

Humanist Ethics

Where do human ethics come from? In Questions of Morality, Lori talks about how the fundamental moral precepts -- love and compassion, caring for the sick and weak, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, don't kill, lie or steal etc. -- are common to all humans, including those with no religion.

So let's talk about what ethics and practices we should adopt:

In Humanity's Responsibilities, Phil for Humanity talks about the importance of adopting a mature outlook, and taking responsibility for our planet rather than hoping for diety to take care of it. Christian discusses (in Is dignity a useful concept?) how rights are a more useful concept that dignity when deciding how to treat others. In A Question to the Carnivorous…, Jeffrey Stingerstein talks about the ethics of eating meat from a Humanist perspective. In Vengeful Paths to Truth, the Mystic Atheist discusses the tension between revenge and forgiveness. And Paul tackles the importance (and difficulties) of growing in wisdom in What Would You Tell Her?.


I've received just one article on this subject, but it's a beauty. Lynet thanks her atheist mother for how she was raised. This post is a real inspiration for all of us who are currently in the parenting trenches!! (On a related note, this episode of The Humanist Symposium was illustrated by my 6-year-old son Nicolas.)


Now, let's look over the shoulder of the religious and talk about what we see. Greta Christina attended church, and even though it was lefty, groovy, gay-friendly church, she still found that the God-focus did the opposite of striking a chord. The Exterminator had a similar reaction to the effects of Jesus prattle on the tableau of a wedding on the shore. And in Life by Proxy we get a critique of helping people by praying for them.

So where does religion come from anyway?

According to VJack in The Nobility of Atheism, religion seems to be part of the human condition, even though it's not totally inevitable. Dale discusses whether religion is perhaps a spandrel in Spandrels and Gods. (This reminded me of an earlier series by Todd O., where he talks about this question here, here, and here.)

Religious people do us the opposite favor by trying to explain away atheism as "just another Fundamentalism." The idea that atheism is a real alternative to religion is far more threatening, so religious people feel compelled to call atheism a religion. The fact that this is meant to degrade and insult atheism says a whole lot about how trustworthy religious people really think religion is (compared to reason). So atheists have to talk about this charge that is constantly thrown at us, as Natasha does in I Don’t Believe in People Who Don’t Believe in Me.


And let's close with a few words from the arts. Paul explains the poem Throw Your Rockets Far (read the poem first before going straight to the spoiler ;^) ). And for those who aren't yet caught up on the latest segment of Exmormon, we have the tales of BYU (including the atheist love scene), with the next segment (Polygamist) beginning on June 3.

So that's it for this installment of The Humanist Symposium!!! Be sure to join us in three weeks at Jyunri Kankei, and submit your Humanist thoughts here!!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting the carnival. Reading all of these posts will keep me busy for awhile, but I'm sure they'll be worth the time.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Chaplain!!!

Yeah, there's some good stuff here -- it's worth setting aside some time... :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks for including my post. It looks like there are other interesting ones, too. I'm looking forward to some good reading.

Anonymous said...

Long live humanity and human thoughts and awareness.

The Exterminator said...

Thanks for including my post, C.L. (I wish I had included a talking cheese.)

Anonymous said...

Is the second illustration by any chance inspired by David Attenborough's Life in the Undergrowth? The selection of species looks suspiciously familar…

Anyway, great carnival!

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks everyone for contributing to make this a great collection!!! :D

And intrinsicallyknotted -- very good catch!!! That's exactly where that came from: Nicolas was doing a drawing of the first land animals, based on David Attenborough's Life in the Undergrowth. Actually, I just spent the evening re-watching this same program with him. All of the David Attenborough programs we've bought him have been fantastic, and he just loves them!!! The funny thing is that he's learning BBC English while he's learning biology... ;^)

Paul Sunstone said...

Thanks for including my posts in the Symposium, Chanson! You've put together an excellent one.

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Paul, and thanks for your excellent posts, not to mention the award!!! :D