Latest post of the previous page:Maria wrote:
For me, the fact that humanism is not a religion or faith is so important that it's worth being irritatingly pedantic about. Besides, in my experience it is perfectly possible to have a bit of fun while being pedantic. Though I admit I have always had great difficulty convincing anyone else of that ...It may be technically accurate that we don't have a religion or faith but to me it seems a bit pedantic for the purpose of this quiz which, after all, is just bit of fun.
It's difficult to see how they could be reconciled, I admit. But humanist principles are not carved in stone. Individual humanists and humanist groups can and do from time to time produce a list of such principles, but they vary quite a bit, and they don't carry any real authority. Because there is no humanist authority, and that's very important, I think. It makes humanism a very different type of belief category from the religions. As a group of humanists we may agree that a particular behaviour is immoral or acceptable, but we don't do that because Humanism (or the BHA, or the IHEU, or a particular book or document ...) tells us to; we do it on the basis of reason, experience, compassion, etc. To me, that's a significant distinction. And it allows for variation. It allows for a humanist to believe that abortion is immoral, or that capital punishment is acceptable, or that the state should not provide social security ... or a host of other things that I may vehemently disagree with. And even though I find it hard to imagine any humanist believing that homosexuality is immoral or "out of harmony" in this day and age, I can believe that there were humanists (worthy of the name) who thought that in the past, on the basis of the shared values of the time. And if we were to meet such a humanist today, we wouldn't simply say, "How can you believe that? It's against humanist principles," would we? We would use reasoned argument to persuade him/her to change his/her mind.I think "humanism as a category" does already address the majority of those questions. I don't see how regarding homosexual behaviour as immoral, or restricting/punishing divorce or favouring prayer and spiritual healing "to the exclusion of conventional health treatment" can be reconciled with humanist principles.
My beliefs about abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc., haven't changed since I became a humanist. In fact, I haven't become a humanist; I've merely recognised that the word fits me rather well. For me, it's descriptive rather than prescriptive. And in my view, if we start wanting humanism to address specific questions like the ones in the quiz, then we're trying to turn humanism into something that is prescriptive -- in other words, something very much like a religion.
Hey, you're not a tabloid subeditor, are you?I deliberately worded the thread title mendaciously to attract attention.