Towards a More Authentic and Coherent Understanding of Atheism and Organised Secular Humanism: By Donovan Reynolds.
Professor Richard Dawkins turned spirituality upside down when he wrote the book â€œThe God Delusionâ€. Before that I had read other books but none had ever shaken up my world for the better. It gave me a bedrock of understanding who I was and unravelled the mystery of human secularism as a decent and credible system of belief. Prior to that, I had grown up in a Jamaican religious conservative society and my religious curiosity was tamed by rapture hungry evangelist conjuring up a constant died of vengeful death by fire in an eternal hell furnace. However my discursive spirit spurred on my stubborn curiosity about the mismatched chronological world of creationism and evolutionary biology. But I was repeatedly tamed by religious hocks persistence of smothering me with the trenchant idea of believing by faith in a blinkered way.
Professor Richard Dawkins is an atheist and he is a vice president of the British Humanist Association, and a supporter of the Brights movement. The Brights movement is a social movement that aims to promote public understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, including equal civil rights and acceptance for people who hold a naturalistic worldview .He is well known for his criticism of creationism and intelligent design.
In his 1986 book The Blind Watchmaker, he argues against the watchmaker analogy, an argument for the existence of a supernatural creator based upon the complexity of living organisms. Instead, he describes evolutionary processes as analogous to a blind watchmaker. He has since written several popular science books, and makes regular television and radio appearances, predominantly discussing these topics. In his 2006 book The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that religious faith is a delusion he describes it as “a fixed false belief”. As of January 2010, the English-language version has sold more than two million copies and had been translated into 31 languages. It has been a centre piece of literature on the bookshelf of a number of Humanist globally like me as a source of comfort and a buffer against the argument of the religious right and the venom of hatred and scaremongering that they often spew out.
Atheists, like me are a misunderstood breed .We face moralistic prejudice verbal and in extreme cases physical assault and imprisonment but we are not alone in our viewpoint of a godless world. The propaganda of us being arrogant devil worshippers is wearing thin and unwarranted. I have embraced my faith identity as an atheist but persons who question religion spawn a variety of other terms or identities, including, humanist, secular humanist, freethinker, objectivist, rationalist, naturalist, materialist, agnostic, sceptic, apathies, or even naturalistic pantheists or classical deists, and so on. In fact I use the term humanist to introduce myself usually in a hostile dialectic setting in order to maintain the shape of my face.
Humanist similar to myself belief that this world is the only one we have and that human problems can only be solved by humans, humanists have often been very active social reformers. Compassion and a sense of justice are not unique to religious people. Most humanists embrace the philosophy that identifies pollution, militarism, nationalism, sexism, poverty and corruption as being persistent and addressable human character issues that is incompatible with the interests of our species. Most humanists believe in democracy, open government and human rights, and support action on world poverty and the environment. The basic and most credible tenet of secular humanism is the focus is on doing good and living well in the here and now, and leaving the world a better place for those who come after.
At the core of our belief we promote public understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements? We fail to gain public recognition that those of us who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance on a global scale. The humanitarian appeal that we raise along with our charitable work often goes unnoticed. Itâ€™s been an up hill struggle to educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of the difficult humanitarian appeals that others shy away from in order to preserve the moral integrity of their religious faith. Our members have gone into the trenches on their own raise a number of humanitarian concerns globally about Aids, Famine and social deprivation, poverty, religious hatred, homophobia, sexism, racism etc. We are found in every social organization globally from Green Peace, Amnesty International and the Red Cross without drawing attention to ourselves or being self congratulatory.
Itâ€™s not all been rosy as an Atheist as we face criticisms internally and externally and we expect to be held up to scrutiny. At a presentation at the atheist Alliance International Convention in 2007 journalist and noted atheist the late Christopher Hitchens likewise found it a “cringe-making proposal that atheists should conceitedly nominate themselves to be called â€œbrights.â€ Anti-humanists, such as Jean-FranÃ§ois Lyotard and Michel Foucault, have asserted that humanism posits an overarching and excessively abstract notion of humanity or universal human nature, which can then be used as a pretext for imperialism and domination of those deemed somehow less than human. Philosopher Kate Soper notes that by faulting humanism for falling short of its own benevolent ideals, anti-humanism thus frequently “secretes a humanist rhetoricâ€. Rapture hungry evangelist from the pulpits of the religious right make a more scathing attack on us by spewing condemnation and aggressive hate laced generalizations that are unfounded and stomach churning we are branded as false profits, the devil incarnate, fitting only for the everlasting furnace of hell. Itâ€™s a good thing that we neither believe in heaven or hell or we would have been frightened into heaven condemned to a life of a boring and unhealthy diet of milk and honey.
I hope this article has garnered some new understanding and debunk some of the silly myths around Secular humanism. It is a heady concoction but I have tried to simplify its core tenets. Like the philosopher Dwight Gilbert Jones I am a crazy romantic and quasi idealist. I believe like him that Humanism may be the only philosophy likely to be adopted by our species as a whole. He however cautions that â€œit is thus incumbent on inclusive Humanists to not place unwarranted or self-interested conditions on its prospective adherents, nor associate it with religious acrimonyâ€.