Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy With Religion

At selected locations in the US the Living Without Religion Organization has put up billboards with the following message:
 
  
If people follow the link on the billboard they will be taken to a simple statement of Secular Humanism. I'm not sure anyone - believer or unbeliever - could doubt that millions do live without belief in God or religion. 
 
On the other hand, it could truly be said that millions more than that live happily with religion. I'm quite sure the majority of believers would suggest one might be happier with religion - but that is a matter of opinion.
 
In looking over the statement in defense of Secular Humanism - most of which as an agnostic believer I embrace - there are a few of their points that stuck out to me.
 
There was this:
 
We see each other through humanist eyes—as fellow human beings—as cousins—equal in dignity and deserving of compassion and respect.    
 
I agree wholeheartedly with that. However, I'm not sure why that should be taken as more than an ipse dixit statement. I see no slam-dunk reason to regard all humans as "equal in dignity" apart from belief in a Creator who made humans either in His image or perhaps as the highest expression of his work. For example, skeptic James Randi's recent comments concerning so-called Social Darwinism
 
But in general, I think that Darwinism, survival of the fittest, should be allowed to act itself out. As long as it doesn’t interfere with me and other sensible, rational people who could be affected by it. Innocent people, in other words.
 
may be offensive to the sentiments of most of us, but is it illogical?
 
Then there is the following point at the aforementioned link:
 
We accept that our lives will end, but we find hope and take great joy in knowing that life keeps going.
 
Again I find no fault with that sentiment. But again I wonder why that follows, why it would be a general rule that anyone should take "great joy" in the mere fact that life goes on. Wouldn't it be just as logical that, if our lives are limited to this sphere of existence, one should attempt to grab all the pleasure this life has to offer, up to and including what Rand called "the virtue of selfishness"?
 
As regards the matter of survival of death, I am again agnostic (but hopeful!). But I find the concept makes some sense within a framework of belief in God. Perhaps the way our second president, John Adams, put it in a letter to fellow former president Thomas Jefferson:
 
If there was nothing beyond mortal life, you might be ashamed of your Maker, and compare him to a little Girl amusing herself, her Brothers and Sisters by blowing Bubbles in Soap Sudds.
 
Therefore, I could not personally rise to the level of the Secular Humanist, who according to their statement of outlook says:
 
We do not fear the unknown but rather take courage from the wondrous discoveries that have already been made.
 
Like most of us I do have a bit of fear of the unknown. That isn't an unnatural thing, and I wonder how many Humanists proudly say that but still secretly harbor their apprehensiveness.
 
For me a simple belief in a Cosmic Mind brings me hope and thus more happiness than mere nonbelief could. I think that is true of the millions more who are happy because of their belief.

 

2 comments:

  1. "For me a simple belief in a Cosmic Mind brings me hope and thus more happiness than mere nonbelief could."

    Agreed!

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    Replies
    1. Guess I am a bit of an optimist after all.

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