Been thinking …

The funeral I went to recently was a humanist funeral … it was a lovely celebration of the person’s life … very moving … but so final …

Decided to read up on humanism to see why … think it relates to the third part as defined by the British Humanist Association

Roughly speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:

  • trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)
  • makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals
  • believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.

Many humanists are good people, in the sense that they don’t live only for
themselves but help others, give money to charitable organizations, serve
their country, truly care for their family and friends, and don’t wish to
hurt anybody but personally I don’t know how people can live their lives without a discernible purpose to the whole shooting match … is everything attributable to random events, coincidences, and the laws of probability?

Humanist John Dewey (1859-1952), co-author and signer of the Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933), declared, “There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.”

Hmm … There is no room for … absolutes.” Dewey is declaring there are absolutely no absolutes. That is an absolute statement. The statement is logically contradictory. If the statement is true, there is, in fact, an absolute – there are absolutely no absolutes.

No absolutes tends to lead on to “Truth is relative.” Again, this is an absolute statement implying truth is absolutely relative. Besides positing an absolute, suppose the statement was true and “truth is relative.” Everything including that statement would be relative. If a statement is relative, it is not always true. If “truth is relative” is not always true, sometimes truth is not relative. This means there are absolutes, which means the above statement is false. When you follow the logic,these arguments/statements will always contradict themselves.

Further reading on the BHA site throws up the old red herring “When I die  … my soul will go to another place where I will be rewarded if I was good and punished if I was bad … along with many others they have the wrong handle on Christianity as that’s not what the bible teaches at all …

It’s not         works ->salvation

but           grace -> salvation -> works in response

(Eph 2: 8-9 … For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.)

If the works had to come first to be a Christian then why did Jesus tell the other thief on the cross that he would be with him in Paradise? Not a lot of chance to do good works on the cross to earn salvation … Luke 23:43

The humanism take on Jesus from the BHA website (pdf doc) seems to be broadly along the lines of :

Jesus Christ, if He existed at all, was a mere man. He may have been an interesting teacher but he was not divine. He performed no supernatural acts and when he died, he stayed dead like any other man. 

For myself … I think I’m with C.S. Lewis on this one …

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.Mere Christianity

 

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One Response to “Been thinking …”

  1. Linda Says:

    I’m sorry Eve but I opt for a third position on Jesus – that he probably never actually existed but is made up from a number of individual leaders of a variety of Jewish sects. I’m a bit wary of Humanists too and agree there are logic flaws in their arguments. I’m happy to be an out and out atheist 🙂 I think some of us are just not biologically wired for religion. It’s just not in me and that’s fine by me.


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