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Humanism As A Necessary Component of Atheism

Submitted by Murphy1844 at 2010-09-29 13:49:06 EDT
Rating: 1.23 on 36 ratings (36 reviews) (Review this item) (V)

I was chatting with a friend of mine while we were on our way to our favorite bar about Atheism. He wants to return to school to study graduate work to build on his knowledge of religious studies. The school, and I kind of got a kick out of this, is called “Divinity School.” It’s not religious or biased in any way, that’s just what’s it called. He mentioned that he wanted to do more with Atheism... contribute more to the social movement we’ve both witnessed in the United States.

I suggested that in order to make any difference the term needs to change. The word Atheist or Atheism or Atheist-Movement stirs within many people who don’t know what this is all about a certain disdain (at worst) or complete misunderstanding (in some cases, at best). There’s already an established and, unfortunately unorganized and unfocused group of people, that are Humanists. Please note the capital “H” in Humanist. To avoid semantics and distraction, the lower case humanists had its roots in religious thought. The capital “H” version, Humanist, is the, as one respected (by many) leader summarized “Godless do-gooders.” I liked this part, even though the rest of what she had to say about Humanism was bloated and pretentious. In my view, she hasn’t been able to get out of her own way.

He didn’t like this term. He thought it meant the watering-down of what Atheists are. I disagree completely. After all, there are horrible Atheists out there. Before I give examples, please keep in mind that Atheists are not attached to any moral or political orientation. To be an Atheist simply means that you don’t believe in invisible friends, you don’t believe that the universe was designed with you in mind, and you don’t believe that you live under a supernatural dictatorship that you can never escape from - for all of life living and all of life after life - forever, for eternity. Beyond this, it’s totally fair game. Atheists can be pedophiles. Atheists can be mass-murderers. Atheists can form communist governments based on the misinterpretations of Marx economics and lower the happiness of many, many people. Do these people do this *because they’re Atheists? No.

To be an Atheist simply means, to repeat, that you’ve brushed away the superstitious in favor of reason. Some would argue that reason alone requires faith. I agree. But reason has evidence to support itself. For example, when you are driving and approach a light that is red, it’s reasonable to stop your fucking car. Why? Because there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that there will be cars coming from a perpendicular direction who won’t be stopping their car. Are you CERTAIN that it’s reasonable to stop your car at a red light? Well, to be scientifically objective, certainty doesn’t exist -- but it’s a pretty good fucking idea to step on your brakes if you want to survive and live another day to compete in a multi-player match of Starcraft 2, the most balanced RTS game to ever hit the market, and hopefully get promoted to fucking something besides the bronze league with every god damn opponent ranked as “slightly favored” or even just plain “favored.” Sorry about that.

As I understand, Humanism is an off-shoot (and I argue necessary) component of Atheism. Since Atheism alone doesn’t suggest anything about ones world-view, and since every single Atheist I’ve met is also a Humanist, then we Atheists need a more marketable term. That term would be Humanist.

As Vonnegut has said, and he’s my favorite Humanist of all time, we’re pretty much all in this together. None of us have any idea what the fuck is going on, and many of us are scared to death. Let’s be reasonable, and learn and practise to love anyone around us who is there to be loved. Some Atheists do this and some don’t. But every single Humanist does do this, or at least gives a shit and tries.

Except for the douche-bag Terran MMM motherfuckers who do nothing but spam marines and mauraders and medivacs to rush your base before you can even get comfortable. Those assholes need to burn in hell.

Murphy


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Submitted by monkeyswithguns at 2010-10-05 12:21:23 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

I appreciate your thoughts, but I'm leaning toward a philosophy of modern science, with undertones of viking morality tales. Rape, pillage and loot....with the aid of physics!

Submitted by ampersand at 2010-10-03 22:46:08 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Submitted by SilvrWolf (user info) at 2010-10-03 18:53:38 EDT (#)
Ranking: 1

Submitted by icarus1987 (user info) at 2010-10-03 18:39:04 EDT (#)
Ranking: 0

Why would I bother to tell you?
~~~~~~~~~

Greatest answer to "Are you a nihilist?" EVER.

Submitted by august_sobriquet at 2010-10-03 22:10:50 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Submitted by icarus1987 (user info) at 2010-10-03 21:39:20 EDT (#)
Ranking: 0

august wouldn't get it. Drawing a smiley face on a fold of her fat and taking a photo of it is more her line of humor.
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ho ho. wow! It wasn't THAT funny. You're giving yourself too much credit, as usual.

Submitted by icarus1987 at 2010-10-03 21:39:20 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

august wouldn't get it. Drawing a smiley face on a fold of her fat and taking a photo of it is more her line of humor.

Submitted by SilvrWolf at 2010-10-03 18:53:38 EDT (#)
Rating: 1

Submitted by icarus1987 (user info) at 2010-10-03 18:39:04 EDT (#)
Ranking: 0

Why would I bother to tell you?
~~~~~~~~~

Greatest answer to "Are you a nihilist?" EVER.

Submitted by icarus1987 at 2010-10-03 18:39:04 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Why would I bother to tell you? And children aren't innocent. If you'd ever met one, you would know they are the most disgusting humans alive.

Submitted by august_sobriquet at 2010-10-03 12:49:37 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Submitted by icarus1987 (user info) at 2010-10-01 16:23:33 EDT (#)
Ranking: 0

Geez'a'lou. You're like one of those Wiccans who doesn't seem to understand that people are not misinformed about their religion... they simply don't care.

Atheists are not any more enlightened, intelligent, unique, or special than the rest of humanity. They have not drubbed off the "veil of superstition and ignorance" any more than the sun-worshippers of the 14th century BC. Like all the other religions out there, you rely on a dogma generated and approved by a biased heirarchy of fallible beings descended from a race of monkeys who have only been walking upright for a hundredth of a geological second. Fallible dogma based on fallible measurements of extraordinarily limited and bastardized relics.

There is absolutely nothing that separates Atheists from the hoi polloi, and before you start lecturing me about how Atheists have never started a war based on religion, why don't you crack a book and read a page or two about the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

What did you think this middle school essay was going to accomplish? That the world's eyes would finally be opened, and we could all work together in peace and hippy harmony under the same religious banner. More intelligent, eloquent, and literate people have tried. And the only thing you share in common with them is that you have failed.
---
HAHA

ATTN: Everyone please note that icarus1987, smartest person on uber, has utilized his superior vocabulary, knowledge of history, and reasoning ability to FINALLY end all debate on religion. Everyone should really just STFU from now on. Unless it is about things like fat gay vampires, any other disturbing sexual parody, actually about icky, hating on a stereotype, or harming innocent children in some way, it ain't worth discussing. Are you a nihilist, icarus?

Submitted by YELLOW-MAN at 2010-10-03 10:51:16 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by Milkman at 2010-10-01 17:02:17 EDT (#)
Rating: -2

Even garbage is garbage, and when garbage day rolls around, garbage will put itself out for garbage to garbage garbage garbage.

Submitted by icarus1987 at 2010-10-01 16:23:33 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Geez'a'lou. You're like one of those Wiccans who doesn't seem to understand that people are not misinformed about their religion... they simply don't care.

Atheists are not any more enlightened, intelligent, unique, or special than the rest of humanity. They have not drubbed off the "veil of superstition and ignorance" any more than the sun-worshippers of the 14th century BC. Like all the other religions out there, you rely on a dogma generated and approved by a biased heirarchy of fallible beings descended from a race of monkeys who have only been walking upright for a hundredth of a geological second. Fallible dogma based on fallible measurements of extraordinarily limited and bastardized relics.

There is absolutely nothing that separates Atheists from the hoi polloi, and before you start lecturing me about how Atheists have never started a war based on religion, why don't you crack a book and read a page or two about the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

What did you think this middle school essay was going to accomplish? That the world's eyes would finally be opened, and we could all work together in peace and hippy harmony under the same religious banner. More intelligent, eloquent, and literate people have tried. And the only thing you share in common with them is that you have failed.

Submitted by RoadSong at 2010-09-30 14:41:39 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

"To be an Atheist simply means, to repeat, that you’ve brushed away the superstitious in favor of reason."
~~~
Easy to say, harder to do...

Submitted by SilvrWolf at 2010-09-30 12:14:00 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Most of the flaws within your piece have already been pointed out below. More importantly, why is there a label applied to religious vs. non-religious types anyway? It's the same as painting someone as a liberal or conservative. Only mindless drone zombies believe 100% in one or the other. Those who actually think and use their may-or-may-not-be-God-given ability to reason should, by definition, be excluded from the label, as they most likely don't believe/disbelieve everything 100%. Agnostics are not "fence-sitters" (coincidentally labelled by you, creating a third variable to your discussion). They are people who realize they don't even have all the questions yet, much less the answers, and as such, abstain from making a judgment. As the word itself means, "the view that the truth value of certain claims is unknown or unknowable" or more simply "without knowledge". Atheists, by definition, do not believe in ANY deities (i.e. atheists vs. theists), therefore any self-proclaimed atheist who claims that they don't discount all deities is in reality an agnostic and are labeling themselves incorrectly.

Submitted by ampersand at 2010-09-30 11:57:43 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Like the guy below me said, this was terribly written, but your intentions are good and it struck a nerve in me so I'm compelled to respond.

If your stance is that you don't know if there’s a god but you want to be a good person and love other people either way, there already exists a term for what you are: Buddhist. If your stance is that you know there is no god but you want to be a good person and love other people either way, you're just a kind atheist. If I were you I would do away with the urge to define myself any further than I have to.

What really struck my nerve though was the bit about the traffic light and this sentence in particular: "To be an Atheist simply means, to repeat, that you’ve brushed away the superstitious in favor of reason." The debate between science and religion is not one of common sense (ie dont run a red light). It is a debate of what things are not covered by common sense. If you are not intending to suggest that it is common sense then you are simply a bad writer and I forgive you because I am also a bad writer.

But I think you *are* suggesting that science>religion *is* common sense ("brushed away the superstitious in favor of reason"), and this I take severe issue with. You think that science is rooted in truth and that religion is rooted in faith. But from where I stand, science is rooted in faith just as deeply as religion, thus the search for a Grand Unified Theory (if you don't know, as things stand now, our theories of the fundamental forces of the universe do not play well with one another at an atomic scale). In fact one of the most groundbreaking results of the collective reasoning of all homo sapiens is that given a particular system, there are always statements which are true within said system but cannot be proven by the axioms of that system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6del%27s_incompleteness_theorems).

To put it to you simply it is a question of primal cause. On the time domain science goes backwards from present day through the formation of the cosmos, through hyperinflation to the big bang. But then what? On a volume domain we start with humans and go down to organs, cells, molecules, atoms, particles, smaller particles, smaller particles, smaller particles etc. Where does it end? In the other direction we go to planets, solar systems, galaxies, groups, clusters, superclusters, universes, multiverses etc. Where does that end? On a language domain we can start from English and track it back through more and more fundamental languages through binary to the prime language, math (though my faith tells me there must also be a zeroeth language).

Math is the bedrock of all science but, unlike its offspring languages, math has a hole. Division by zero. We all sort of accept this hole because we learned about it in second grade when we were very impressionable. But it seems to me like a fundamental flaw. And an important reminder that math is not a set of rules it is a model. And it has no more answers and just as many dogmatic zealots as religion.

There are already new theories that refute the big bang and propose cyclic, fractal models of time (in line with Mayan and Hindu cosmologies among others). And it seems that every other month a different theory or proposition of Einstein is poked full of holes. And every other day some article comes out stating that scientists have discovered that such and such herb, which has been used for medicinal purposes in china for 4000 years, has health benefits. I remember a psychology article which stated that scientists had finally figured out that a firm grip on reality is actually bad for you health. Their whole thesis amounted to 'Don't look down'.

I could go on and on but I've already gone on too long. All roads end in faith. If you think you've reasoned your way to the truth then you just haven't followed your reasoning far enough yet. Stop searching for definitions, check your sense and reason at the door, and come join the party. Its a wonderful world.

Submitted by rob_berg at 2010-09-30 11:47:57 EDT (#)
Rating: 2


http://www.ubersite.net/m/94912#2198810

heh, sometimes I manage to leak some interesting shit into this here septic tank of a site.



Thanks again, Cap'n.

Submitted by CaptainThorns at 2010-09-30 11:43:13 EDT (#)
Rating: 0


Submitted by ICO at 2010-09-30 05:19:23 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Add to this the fact that, like you said, atheists can only be termed by what they don't do, and you've got the reasons why atheists are called atheists.

People need to man up and respect the names they're given. Gamers don't want to be called gamers, assholes don't want to be called assholes.

Submitted by ICO at 2010-09-30 05:16:23 EDT (#)
Rating: 1

This was horribly written.

I agree with the first review, but seeing as most of us Westerners come from Jeebus' loving arms (that have failed to prove effective for at least 2000 years), and the US is stíll stuck on endless religion repeat for a lot of people, atheists are a minority. Minorities are most easily termed by what they are not. Everyone does this in some situations.

People who believe in Zeus (and thereby his entire pantheon) are ancient greek polytheists.

Submitted by Cakes at 2010-09-29 23:08:26 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

None of us have any idea what the fuck is going on, and many of us are scared to death. Let’s be reasonable, and learn and practise to love anyone around us who is there to be loved.

-

I like this ideal. (You) being an Atheist/Humanist, would it be too much to ask what you are most “scared” of?

I'm not trying to play Hannibal Lecter, the question is sincere. I’m Atheist-Lite: an Agnostic. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

Submitted by Cakes at 2010-09-29 22:43:47 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Before I give examples, please keep in mind that Atheists are not attached to any moral or political orientation.


-

You do recognize the absurdity of this (hopefully mis-worded) statement?




Submitted by Yozz at 2010-09-29 21:26:18 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

I love Snark too. I can't wait to meet him so we can discuss atheism while drinking beer, smoking bowls and eating babies.

Submitted by simple_catalyst at 2010-09-29 20:36:49 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by rob_berg at 2010-09-29 20:06:28 EDT (#)
Rating: 2


I love Snark.

Submitted by Snark at 2010-09-29 17:33:45 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

You love me so much.

Submitted by YourNameHere at 2010-09-29 17:25:50 EDT (#)
Rating: 1

fag below

Submitted by Snark at 2010-09-29 16:58:00 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

I'm an atheist and I eat babies... which is pretty much what it means.

(Don't tell anyone)

Submitted by X54 at 2010-09-29 16:34:01 EDT (#)
Rating: 1

"To be an Atheist simply means, to repeat, that you’ve brushed away the superstitious in favor of reason."

No, that's not what it means. It means you don't believe in God. Period. That is the only "component" of atheism. And the word, "atheist" should not be capitalized unless it begins a sentence. It's not a proper noun.

Submitted by FALLEN at 2010-09-29 15:48:11 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

he loves you sarge

Submitted by SgtHartman at 2010-09-29 15:22:08 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by Foolproof (user info) at 2010-09-29 14:18:42 EDT (#)
Ranking: 2

Submitted by SgtHartman (user info) at 2010-09-29 14:15:37 EDT (#)
Ranking: 2

agnostic is the way to go, atheist is too hard of a stroke, thats basically saying that you know for SURE that thers isnt a jeebus.

The agnostic approach is more fitting its the "im not fucking sure, and neither are you" approach.
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Then what is the balance for the religious.

After all, they say they know for sure that there IS a god.
----------------------------------
Thats my point, for either side to say that they are sure is wrong. They arent sure, they are taking a faith and turning it into fact. For them it works. For me, I know that there's too much information on either side to come down with a choice either way. To say that I'm a "fence sitter" is a compliment. I certainly would never be arrogant enough to say that I was positive about how the world works. Is there something wrong with not making the decision at this point in my life? Why say that I'm sure either way when I'm not?

Submitted by loki at 2010-09-29 15:09:10 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

I refuse to allow my lack of a belief in an invisible eye in the sky to be defined by those who do. We don’t have a term for people who don’t believe in Zeus now do we?

Also I thought it was amusing in whatever religious poll they just did that I saw somewhere out there on some news site (MSNBC maybe) showed that so call atheists scored higher than religious folk on some core questions about religion.

By the way your first sentence sounded like you were on your way to an atheist bar which sounded funny.

Submitted by Thunder_Jock at 2010-09-29 14:31:01 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

You are right, humanism is an integral part of atheism and that's what makes atheism a religion.

Submitted by Foolproof at 2010-09-29 14:18:42 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

Submitted by SgtHartman (user info) at 2010-09-29 14:15:37 EDT (#)
Ranking: 2

agnostic is the way to go, atheist is too hard of a stroke, thats basically saying that you know for SURE that thers isnt a jeebus.

The agnostic approach is more fitting its the "im not fucking sure, and neither are you" approach.
---
Then what is the balance for the religious.

After all, they say they know for sure that there IS a god.

Submitted by Murphy1844 at 2010-09-29 14:17:44 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

That's a huge misconception. Atheists never ever ever say they're certain that there is no god. That sort of arrogance is misplaced, and belongs fully on the religious people.

Agnostics are just fence-sitters. That, or they think Atheists are certain like you mentioned, and therefore call themselves agnostics.

Submitted by Murphy1844 at 2010-09-29 14:15:58 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Couldn't agree with you more Foolproof.

Submitted by SgtHartman at 2010-09-29 14:15:37 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

agnostic is the way to go, atheist is too hard of a stroke, thats basically saying that you know for SURE that thers isnt a jeebus.

The agnostic approach is more fitting its the "im not fucking sure, and neither are you" approach.

Submitted by august_sobriquet at 2010-09-29 14:12:40 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

but, some humans are just so shitty. how does Humanism deal with that? Can a humanist advocate for the killing of shitty people or would the shitheels just have to be respected and ignored?

Submitted by Foolproof at 2010-09-29 14:08:56 EDT (#)
Rating: 2

What's the term for somebody that doesn't believe in Santa Claus?

The Easter Bunny?

Tooth Fairy?

Great Pumpkin?

It's complete bullshit that the term "atheist" even exists.

It's even more bullshit that talking to yourself, believing in ghosts and magic, and worshiping the invisible aren't the actions with the social stigma.


Hey, if you want wild bears eatin' your children and scarin' your
salmon, that's your business. But I'm not gonna take it! Who's with
me?

-- Homer Simpson
Much Apu About Nothing