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 Are you a humanist or what? 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2011, 4:53 pm
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ludite wrote:
dont worry diesel I often find my brains leeking through my ears but i stick around for the fun and inerest


:pointlaugh:

ditto here

My thoughts are usually summed up in one or two simple sentences; so, I stay out of these great discussions. They are fun to follow, however.

Let me say that, as a Humanist, I do not mind the word "spiritual". It is the best word I have found to describe how I feel when sitting on a mountain top looking out at the world and feeling that incredible sense of connectedness to everything.

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April 10th, 2011, 3:35 pm
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Let me say that, as a Humanist, I do not mind the word "spiritual". It is the best word I have found to describe how I feel when sitting on a mountain top looking out at the world and feeling that incredible sense of connectedness to everything.

Same sensation on the Alps!

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April 10th, 2011, 5:26 pm
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Blimey! It's been yonks since I last looked at this thread and I think "spiritual" was being debated then.

I fully agree with Sel and Gottard, until there is a better word to describe that emotion one feels in the presence of great natural beauty or faced with a sublime work of art I will continue to use the "s" word.

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April 10th, 2011, 6:04 pm
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Post Re:
Very nice explanation! I think humanist covers it for me too, but I also think the existence of a god is very unlikely, so I wouldn't leave out atheist..

Nick wrote:
John Catt, on the BHA forum, came up with a very good response to just this sort of question, which I twisted to suit my own world view:

I’m agnostic because we cannot prove whether there is a god or not (our understanding of the universe incomplete).

I’m an atheist because I conclude, on the basis of such evidence as is available to me, that there is no god

I’m a secularist because I believe that government should be completely separate from any religion.

I’m a humanist because I believe my life and the universe I live in, transient though they may be, are positive, otherwise nihilism would be the deprtessing outcome.

I’m a naturalist because I believe that because we have evolved from an immensely complex natural system, we can better understand ourselves as humans by looking for answers in nature, not scripture.

I’m a freethinker because I don’t think anything should restrict my freedom to think for myself.

I'm a Bright when you want a catchy new ajective to starta discussion

If I pick just one, I would plump for humanist.


May 15th, 2011, 9:03 pm
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:pointlaugh: :nod:

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May 16th, 2011, 4:35 pm
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I've always found the term atheist a bit odd. Like, my refrigerator is an atheist. I don't have much in common with my refrigerator, but I'm quite certain neither of us has beliefs in gods or goddesses. 'Atheist' is such a wacky word, since you can accurately use it to describe the majority of objects in the universe.

I just don't see 'atheism' as being in any way part of my belief system, any more then acatholicism, aorthodoxsy, aislam, asikhism, ahinduism, ect. You may accurately describe me as a 'amuslim', but as soon as you start saying, oh, yeah, marcos, I know him, he's a amuslim'... then I start getting questions like 'what led you to believe in aislam?', and 'how do the principles of aislam influence your worldview' ect. I may be an amuslim, but that word doesn't say anything about me, except that I'm not a muslim.

(and don't get me started on whether I'm a 'weak' amuslim or a 'strong' amuslim)


I prefer 'humanist'... that more accurately describes what I do believe in a moral context. I like 'naturalist'... but I don't quite see that as a value system... more a statement of fact then anything else.

'Spiritual' is ok... when I was younger I was in a 'christian' group that abused the term, basically doing anything to question the leadership was a sign you were not 'spiritual' enough, so really it meant whatever they wanted it to mean. But in common usage... I would describe just about any Carl Sagan video as 'spiritual' in a way.

The natural world is a big, powerful thing... so there's nothing wrong with feeling some awe over it. Many of the religious... feelings, i guess, for lack of a better word, aren't necessarily bad.. just misplaced I think.


August 8th, 2011, 9:42 pm
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I'm an atheist in the sense that I don't believe in God on either an emotional or intellectual level. I'm not sure if I'm a humanist but it does seem to be the closest description of the way I think about the world. I think that in order to label myself as a humanist I'd have to actually work at it.

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October 11th, 2011, 6:01 pm
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Hi, Trickle. Welcome to the forum.

By "work at it" do you feel that you might have to make a conscious effort that is not part of your basic nature?

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October 11th, 2011, 6:15 pm
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Dave B wrote:
Hi, Trickle. Welcome to the forum.

By "work at it" do you feel that you might have to make a conscious effort that is not part of your basic nature?


It's more that I have to control my natural self.

I am aware that I don't always make decisions or judgements as rationally or impartially as I could do due to prejudices or emotions such as anger. I consider this flaw to be a natural part of being human and something which I need to consciously work on to control so that it doesn't control me and lead me to false conclusions or improper actions.

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October 11th, 2011, 10:29 pm
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Know what you mean, Trickle. Providing no -one is seriously or unecessarily hurt and, if it is appropriate and there is a chance, you apologise, Iis that not just being human? We all have our dark side, I would be very worried about any person who claimed that they did not.

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October 12th, 2011, 10:41 am
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Yes it's just a part of being human so therefore I consider it to be part of my basic nature. More specifically I feel that there are aspecs of being human which are generally easier to avoid with as long as a person is willing to learn about them and be sufficiently reflective to realise their errors such as in the case of argueing against a strawman position which the other individual(s) doesn't actually hold.

So I consider being a humanist something I have to work at because I have to be more actively self-reflective in order to avoid making errors such as the one above.

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October 12th, 2011, 6:52 pm
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Not meant in quite this context I think but Socrates is reputed to have said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I think reviewing, in a rational way, ones actions is one way of learning about oneself. It would be an onerous burden to try to act in a perfect way all of the time, we would never really achieve anything.

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October 12th, 2011, 7:02 pm
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I don't think I would want to summed up in a single word - surely I am more complicated than that! I am probably technically incorrect, but one reason I am happy with the label humanist (along with tall the others like atheist, rationalist, stamp-collector etc) is that I like the 'borderlessness' the word humanism conjures up. I like to think that as a 'humanist' I care about all humans, regardless of 'tribe'. I contrast it with all the forms of parochial tribalism I see too much of.

I would not claim to free of tribalism, but I do not see it as virtue. I am proud to be British, but I don't see that as an excuse to denigrate others. It really means I hold Britain to a higher standard than I do anybody else. I want Britain to be an example of all that is good, not the master of anyone. Needless to say I am often disappointed in that! In my use of the word Humanist, a humanist should care just as much about suffering in Bangladesh as they do about suffering in Brighton.

One reason I don't like 'humanist' is that I have quite a soft-spot for animals too! Something else worries me - if vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?


October 12th, 2011, 7:37 pm
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Dave B wrote:
Not meant in quite this context I think but Socrates is reputed to have said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I think reviewing, in a rational way, ones actions is one way of learning about oneself. It would be an onerous burden to try to act in a perfect way all of the time, we would never really achieve anything.


Perhaps also a little out of context too but Stephen Jay Gould points out in the book I'm reading that absolute objectivity wouldn't be of any use because without some subjective bias towards a prefered answer we wouldn't accomplish anything in science because there would be no idea to test. I agree with this and his comment that the history of science when honestly portrayed as rather more rought around the edges is far more interesting than the fully objective and rational (And ultimately false) picture of science that some attempt to portray.

As you say perfection would stifle much of the innovation and enjoyment to found in life.

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October 12th, 2011, 7:40 pm
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keithprosser2
Something else worries me - if vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
:smile:

Vegetarian is derived from the Latin word vegetus meaning lively or vigorous, and nothing to do with eating vegetables :wink:

Edit.
Maybe a vague inference that eating veg is more healthy.

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October 12th, 2011, 7:47 pm
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Interesting, Alan, just a coincidence that Mr Brotherton coined the word to mean as you say. I think that is a case of being too clever and causing lasting confusion. So true "vegetarians" are allowed to eat eggs and dairy produce if they wish, hence the growth of the "vegan" movement - dietary fanaticism of a kind!

Any way, surely if "vegetarians" eat vegetables it would be "humanitarians" that eat peoples? :D

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October 12th, 2011, 10:00 pm
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"You are what you eat."
So, if I only eat vegetarians,....


October 12th, 2011, 11:41 pm
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Dave B wrote:
So true "vegetarians" are allowed to eat eggs and dairy produce if they wish, hence the growth of the "vegan" movement - dietary fanaticism of a kind! :D


Vegetarianism is not a cult, there is no 'allowing'. For most it's a personal ethical choice.

Although I've posted it here before Roger McGough's short poem comes to mind:

there are fascists
pretending to be humanitarians
like cannibals on a health kick
eating only vegetarians.


October 13th, 2011, 11:57 pm
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I had lunch with a vegetarian today. He had a quarterpounder with cheese, but assures me he doesn't do it regularly.

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October 14th, 2011, 12:50 am
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For me, it's enough to say I'm an atheist or an anti-theist. Labeling my positive positions into one (Humanism) seems rather reductive. Maybe i will convert :)


December 10th, 2012, 2:16 am
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