Why I Like Humanism Essays
WASH sponsored an essay contest among WASH members. The subject is, “Why I like humanism.” We came up with some short, memorable sound bites about why we are attracted to humanism.
Why I Like Humanism: No Superstitious Fear
by Bill Creasy
I like humanism because it provides freedom from superstitious fear. Religion, although often said to be about the love of God, is as much about fear. It’s about fear of death, fear of change, fear of doing something wrong that will cause God to dispense punishment, or fear of loosing belief. How can anyone possibly do all the right things in an omniscient God’s eyes? Humanism provides freedom from this kind of fear. We can’t be sure that terrible events won’t happen, but we can be reassured that they are natural events and not caused because “someone up there doesn’t like us.” The events are predictable, understandable, and often avoidable. With humanism, we can pay attention to anticipating events rather than feeling fearful or guilty. We can hope for the best, not fear the worst.
Why I Like Humanism
By Barbara Rich
I like humanism because it is non-constrictive. A humanist has the freedom to not pledge allegiance to any one creed, church, or religious ideology. I, as a humanist, may in good conscience reject boundaries which bind, and embrace the results of individualistic thought, speculation, and introspection.
To me, being secular rather than religious has an almost spatial component to it. Accepting the beliefs of any one ideology limits me in some profound way. I am – or would be were I to succumb – subsumed into something, I am assured, larger than I am. Something stronger and deeper than anything I could possibly come up with on my own, upon intellectual reflection. It would seem to the rigidly righteous that to be “one with god” means being one in a crowd, all professing the same selectively approved approach to life.
Not that being oneself in a herd of denominational sheep, all led by a common shepherd, doesn’t come with a pre-packaged comfort level. But I choose to be curious; a questioning at times, yes, uncomfortable humanist. That is, to me, infinitely preferable to being promised a heavenly afterlife in exchange for the freedom to possess a mind unfettered and unencumbered by dogma.
Humanist Sum, Ergo Humanism Malo
by Steven F. Goldberg
I like humanism because I am a humanist.
Without intending to seem flippant or engage in circular definition, this is the only meaningful answer that I can give to the question of why I like humanism. I do not believe in any gods: does that me an that I “like” atheism, or simply that I am an atheist? Humanism is not something I have chosen, and I did not find it after a lifelong quest for meaning. It is the best descriptor for what I already am – and something I was long before I was aware of the label. Because I reject supernaturalism in favor of critical reasoning and the scientific method, and value the principles of human rights, self-determination, and the compassionate application of technology I am a humanist, whether I like it or not. It is not so much that I like humanism, but that I wouldn’t very much like to be anything else.
Why I like Humanism.
by Steven Lowe
Humanism liberates me from constricting myths and outdated traditions.
It goes further than simply rejecting the flaw of most current religions — supernaturalism. It offers a system, method, and structure with which humans can continually recreate a viable, fulfilling and satisfying life.
Humanism elevates me from being an intellectual and emotional slave, or child, of a master or father god, to being the master of and responsible for my own future.
I find it a viable compromise to competing religious views. It solves the problem of deciding which of the existing, self righteous, “my god is better than your god” world religions can best serve a future, smaller earth where we must see ourselves as earthlings and not as competing countries or cultures.
It provides a face saving way out for adherents of the major traditional theistic cults by rising above the limited regional and cultural solutions to defining man’s role in the universe. Rather than winning the “I’m right and you are wrong” debate…or wars!, it allows one to say “we are all wrong” and declare Humanism as a new paradigm for ethics, morality, and world view or replacement for all religions. Everybody looses but …. everybody wins! That’s progress.
Why I Like Humanism-It’s Reliable
by Bill Creasy
Science is a method for studying events that are reproducible and follow cause and effect rules. We can set up an experiment to see if a particular result occurs in a particular set of circumstances. Religious people argue that science is not the right system to study religion, because God may perform miracles. Miracles by their nature are unreproducible. God does them when he feels like, to whom he feels like, and they can’t be reproduced on demand. Logically, this argument is valid.
But, we have to ask, what does this mean about God? He does miracles if he feels like it, for people he feels like. If you see a miracle, you are one of the lucky ones. If you don’t, too bad for you. But if God is not reliable enough to be tested by science, how can we rely on him to solve our problems? Some people pray and live good lives, and some people pray and they die in accidents of from horrible diseases. Can we rely on God for help?
I like humanism because it concerns people and events in the natural world. We don’t expect to depend on invisible, unreliable deities.
Why I like Humanism
by David Shapiro
What I like about humanism is that the concept is catholic. I am not answering the question of why I prefer humanism to religious belief, because I don’t think of the matter as an either/or choice. I simply don’t have the latter sort of belief, personally. Oh, I would go so far as to say that I entertain it, unlike many of our colleagues, but I grant it very little credence. The next person, though, might well be both a humanist and a religious.
How can a thoughtful person not be a humanist? This is not to belittle the concept, or call it meaningless. Rather, it is a ground state on which all people of good will can agree, to my mind. (Of course, to some deists, the same may appear true of faith in a god, or even worship. Sigh.)
WHY I LIKE HUMANISM
By Tom Harrison
There are many reasons why I like Humanism and they are all expressed in “The Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles”. Aside from perhaps The Declaration, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights, there are no documents that stir my emotions more. If I harbor within me any envy, it is that Paul Kurtz wrote those inspiring words rather than myself. I am deeply moved each time I read them and am proud, in the best sense of the word, not only to claim them as my own, but also to be associated wit h all those who do likewise. Whenever given an opportunity, I say without hesitation that this affirmation expresses, most sincerely, my deepest beliefs.
Why I like Humanism
By Mike Reid
Humanism is a rubric under which free thinking people can present universal social values unobscured by the fog of religious superstition. Most religions claim morals such as the respect for the life, property, and comfort of others as their own and hold them as divine precepts. However, these most basic and essential of human values predate all currently practiced religions and are found in every culture. They probably began as a set of social norms that made it easier for our remote and pre-human ancestors to live together and cooperate for the common good.
Humanists live moral lives not because we expect a reward in an afterlife for doing so or fear the wrath of a vengeful god if we do not. We adhere to morals because we know that they are essential to human society. Unlike religious fundamentalists, humanists cannot resort to a subjective interpretation of some vague passage in an ancient holy book for moral license to commit acts of violence or selfishness. Unlike a religious doctrine, Humanism provides no fig leaf to cover bigotry and intolerance with a veneer of respectability.
I like Humanism because absent religion, we are left just with the basic human values.
Why I Like Humanism: My Secular Humanist Philosophy
by Roger A. MacGowan
My philosophical beliefs are summarized in the following list of principles:
- Promote the advancement of human welfare.
- Promote justice, compassion, equal opportunity, and the encouragement of one another in human relations.
- Promote the advancement of knowledge, science, and technology.
- Promote the dissemination of scientific knowledge and truth.
- Promote ideal, progressive, secular national governments and world government.
- Promote environmental protection and enhancement.
- Promote philosophical naturalism (the natural world is all that exists and there is no supernatural creation.)
- Promote respect for all life on Earth and recognition that all life is interrelated, having evolved initially from simple chemical antecedents.
I like humanism because its primary goals are the advancement of human welfare and the promotion of justice, and also because humanism promotes the realism of science. I believe that human progress results, to a considerable extent, from advances in technology and scientific knowledge. I believe that humanists will always seek ideal, progressive, secular national governments and world government; and I believe that secularism is an essential prerequisite for stable, good government.
In conclusion, I regard Humanist philosophy as a pillar of ethical thought, and a sound basis for social progress.
Why I like Humanism
by Peter J. Nuhn
I am a Humanist by choice,
And I would prefer to keep it that way.
My parents were self avowed agnostics. Once I came home claiming I had been saved. My father didn’t get upset or miss a beat. He looked me straight in the eye and smiled when he said: “Son, I think that is great. I’ll make a deal with you. If you die first, you come back and tell me about it, and I’ll believe too.” That was the first and only discussion on religion I had with my parents. It was also the end of my being saved.
I never attended any church services with my parents. The last religious service I witnessed occurred near the end of my undergraduate days. Some friends of mine dragged me one night way out into the wilds of West Virginia and in a holler I witnessed a book burning. We went because two sisters I knew very well were taking part. When they turned and saw me and the others I was with, those two sisters shot us looks of pure hatred, like they would murder us if they could. That experience shook me to the foundation of my humanity and made me drastically aware of the fear, hatred and ignorance found in zealotry.
I have made it a practice to stay away from zealots, religiously since then. Why am I an atheist? Freedom. Freedom to decide for myself between Spirituality vs. Reason. Freedom to decide for myself between fictitious deities and the true nature of our world. I choose Reason over Mythology.
WHY I LIKE HUMANISM
by Roy Wampler
As a child at Sunday School, I enjoyed hearing the fantastic tales of Noah and the ark, Daniel in the lion’s den, feeding a multitude with only five loaves and two fish, healing the sick, raising the dead.
But as I approached maturity, doubts arose about the miracle stories and certain religious dogmas. A song from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” rang true: “The things that you’re liable to read in the bible, it ain’t necessarily so.” Often I walked past a cemetery where a massive portal proclaimed THE DEAD SHALL RISE AGAIN, but this message seemed highly dubious.
A scriptural verse states, “When I was a child … I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” My reading of Bertrand Russell’s “Why I Am Not a Christian” finally enabled me to put away childish things — to see that religion is based on fear, and that humanity’s progress has been advanced by freethinkers and impeded by rigid dogmatists.
Humanism can’t draw on the wizardry of supernatural stories (including “Left Behind” novels), but its clear vision holds tremendous potential for benefiting future generations. I like Humanism because it makes sense.
Why I Like Humanism
by John Watson-Jones
I like Secular Humanism for the same reason that I like one particular fairy tale and one particular bible passage: my whole world view must be based on truth.
Hans Christian Andersen wrote “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” whose main moral, to me, is the importance of thinking for oneself. And, in Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus supposedly preached the importance of building one’s house on rock, not sand.
Well, Humanism is the only world view I know of that sincerely incorporates the search for truth, science really, as a guiding principle. No outdated dogma here, or conflict of faith and reason. All religions can be seen in their historic context. In a lifetime of atheistic belief, not once, even for a moment, has my faith in Humanism wavered. No need to see the world with supernatural clothes. Humanism stands firmly on bedrock.
Why I like Humanism
by John Pitman
I like secular humanism because its spirit is that of palms up instead of thumbs down–an embraced affirmation as opposed to a perceived negation.
(Well, all right, I confess…The real reason I like secular humanism is that I can watch the X-Men movie Sunday morning and therefore revel in a cinematic thrill instead of wallow in dogmatic swill.) ; > ))