Humanism is a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity, of application of new ideas of scientific progress for the benefit of all – Linus Pauling
I’ve receive a lot of mail. Most of it positive, but there is a significant amount that is not. I often get accused of being as intolerant as those I write about. I think that my detractors have failed to understand that what I am intolerant of is intolerance, such as it is. I know that sometimes I come across as arrogant and strident, but when dealing with the fundamental mindset, it is sometimes difficult to remain composed, polite and cordial. While I think that people who believe in the existence of a deity are misguided to one degree or another, I do not think badly of them.
However, those who hold to fundamentalism, particularly fundamentalist Christians and Muslims are the kinds of people I call “wrong.“ I do not claim to be right in my unbelief on a philosophical level. Philosophy involves areas that can be subject to a lot of varied stimuli. Being a secular humanist, belief in the supernatural has absolutely no place in my worldview. There are a few areas where I will make claims to being right in my unbelief, though.
I claim my belief to be right because my worldview does not include killing people for disagreeing with me. I am right in my unbelief because my worldview doesn’t involve the willful ignorance of facts. I am right in my unbelief because the choice to adhere to a system of belief that should be condemned for the havoc it has wreaked upon humanity is consistently ignored. The excuse that the church no longer puts people do death is of no consolation to those who have been its victims over the last several thousand years. What would the reaction of a jury be if an accused murderer used the defense that he or she hasn’t killed for a while?
I speak plainly, and I do so because it is necessary when discussing religion. I don’t mince my words about religious dogma for fear of insulting the orthodox believer because I believe the time has passed long ago for being tolerant of barbarism, be it in action as is with radical Islam or in principal, as is with fundamentalist Christianity. Those who believe in fairy tales need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the post-modern era for their own good. They lack the mental acuity to realize that they are living a lie, that they are placing the trust of their life decisions and the decisions for those whom they are charged with caring for in the hands of a very dangerous and devious mythological being.
Sometimes you’ve got to kick the crutches out from under someone so they can realize that they can actually walk on their own. There exist no problems within the scope of human existence that can be solved through theology.
Contrary to what theology teaches, religion does not strengthen the believer. Without a healthy skepticism and honed skills in critical thought and analysis, believers wander through a jungle of delusion without the tools, strength or knowledge necessary to clear away the tangled growth that enslaves them.
Once these tools are accepted and the gods of our ancestors and all associated dogma and doctrine are abandoned, the mind begins its journey toward complete religious emancipation and the fallacies of religion in its historic, scientific and metaphysical aspects become so apparent that the individual wonders how they ever could have believed such nonsense in the first place.
Religion puts humanity in a place of degradation. Religion teaches that we are nothing but filthy rags in the sight of its gods. It demands that our lives are spent either atoning for all that its gods accuse us of. It demands we obey utterly horrific commands and accept the doctrine of human sacrifice or any combination of these, depending upon which cult one is a member of. And they are all cults.
Religious belief impresses upon its followers that the worth of a human life is not based upon our existence in the here and now, but in the before and after. They fight for the unborn, stating that abortion is the murder of God’s precious creation, but as soon as the child enters the world it is a filthy rag, and does not regain favor in the sight of God until after death. Religion is an active and constant menace to civilization, and in many ways, Fundamental Christianity has no right to condemn the actions of radical Islam. Muslims are only guilty of acting out, otherwise they are kissing cousins. Religion is to the human race as the appendix is to the human body. At one time it was useful, but now it is nothing more than a detriment, and one that can kill in short order.
So, the battle rages on between the religious and the rest of us, whether we call ourselves atheists, secularists, humanists, naturalists or whatever. And as a member of the former group, it is my responsibility to be as outspoken as I possibly can, as clearly as I possibly can and with the intestinal fortitude that is becoming of a member of a group of people who are still very much a minority on this planet. But thanks to the increasing number of those of us who are tired of being nice, we are making headway. While religious belief is well established and fortified, our consistent and relentless interference is making it more and more difficult for the religious to hold us up to the world as being base and degraded individuals.
It is us, not them, who hold the vision for our future as a species because we are earth-bound and our ideals are conceived in reality. The believer, in turn, is mired in delusion. They are convinced that they are heaven bound and thus, have little care for the continuation of our race. As for us, science is our weapon and reason is our ammunition. We have no use for gods, holy books, heaven, hell, souls, salvation, sin, prayer, creed, doctrine or dogma, as these things are about as influential to us as an ice-cube on the surface of the sun.
The collective intelligence of the humanity is the sole result of human inquiry. It is through reason and the exercise of a free mind that overcomes superstition, and if there be a better future for mankind, it will come through us, not through those who are clinging to the last fragments of a decaying system of belief. So, we should not be tolerant, placating nor should we ever forget that religion would have us all staggering backward with a passion. It is our duty to cultivate intellect because the religious are teaching that intellect should be distrusted.
“Men were born for the sake of men, that each should assist the others.” – Cicero