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Re: [atheists-59] Re: Dundee on Humanism

From: MJ ☥ ח.
Sent on: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 4:55 PM
Yeah Zach, I agree with you about the dilemma, but I won't be involved
in hammering out the solution so I don't care and I think it's going
to be a very long time before that question really needs to be
answered where there are no churches in the community.  So, I find
most pragmatism in Amanda's reassurances that it will be hammered out
a long the journey.  There is no way to sidestep it, but I don't see
why it even needs to be reolved.  Humanism is supposed to be
ultimately about being rational and thinking critically.  Debating the
role of religion within the Humanist and Atheist circles doesn't seem
to be contributing to encouraging rational thought within the public.
One of my things is that I don't care what someone's affiliation or
identity is if it's just token.
I think a better focus would be to encourage (as with the separation
of Church and State) that no matter how irrational someone might be
about creation and the afterlife, that this is as separated as
possible from his actions in the public sphere.  It seems to me that
for a great many, they are able to separate the nonsense of the Bible
from the physics of the modern day world that they take part of
constantly.  In many ways, we fortunately are very secularized.
About the 30 something percent of the population that is seriously
demented, I have no idea...
One of my goals is to eventually have a critical thinking course be
mandatory in every junior high or high school of the country.  Then,
within a few generations, let's see how big that percentage is.
Community is extremely important.  Bonding with people and knowing
that they care about you so I'm in no hurry to end the churches while
there is no similar replacement, but we know that it's not necessary
for everybody, and while there are those who need that or religious
a few people reminded us on Sunday that religious aspects already
exist with the Unitarian Universalists.

On 4/24/07, Zachary Bos <[address removed]> wrote:
> Dear Amanda:
> I take your point, but there are those of us who suspect that any community
> organized around "questions of ultimate concern" (i.e. the meaning of life,
> morals, etc) rather than more pragmatic issues (e.g., economic welfare;
> professional affiliation; geographic proximity, neighborhoods) will
> inevitably enable top-down dogmatism. The old congregational model seems to
> make sense to me, where the "church" actually functioned more as a townhall
> and meetinghouse than a location of worship.  The Orange Books of Humanism
> International focus so much on societal change that there is scant attention
> to the absence of community ties that religion provides but that humanism
> has so far failed to deliver. Kurtz's Secular Humanism is likewise a
> cultural movement, rather than an implementable model for bringing people
> together. Look, I've gone from one topic to another rather quickly. Here's
> my point: there are strong moral reasons not to promote the establishment of
> communities that resemble the religious model, regardless of taste. There
> are likewise strong moral reasons to establish communal institutions that
> fill the same social niche as local religion once did. With my understanding
> of its various incarnations, I do not see how Humanism will sidestep the
> first problem or provide a solution to the second.
> -Zachary
> The point I made is that whatever we think of the issue of religious as
> opposed to secular humanism we can work together in coalitions and continue
> to work out these issues.
> The second point I made was that we all agreed that we wanted to build a
> humanist community.  The degree to which the trappings of that community
> involved things that felt similar to religion was a matter of taste.  We
> should all go out and build humanist communities that suit our different
> tastes.
> --
> This message was sent by Zachary Bos (member profile:
> http://atheists.m...­) from The Boston Atheists
> Meetup Group.
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