Some terms like humanist and humanism have a negative connotation in our culture. Let’s look a little closer at this philosophy. Maybe it’s not as bad as they have led us to believe.
What is Humanism?
“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.” ― American Humanist Association (1)
Humanism is not a religion. It is freedom from religion. Humanism is a mindset that promotes the ethical and equitable treatment of people. And it emphasizes critical thinking and science for solving problems. Are you a Humanist but don’t know it? Let’s look more closely at what this means. We find this philosophy has four fundamental values:
1) All people are equally valuable. It is a philosophy motivated by compassion, promoting inclusion instead of exclusivity. It champions the equal treatment of all races, ethnicities, and genders.
The focus is on fairness and equity. And it champions the basic human rights of all people. These rights include the right to proper medical care, clean water, adequate food, and shelter. It does not support any group’s preferential treatment, including preferential treatment because of religious beliefs.
2) Promotes the long-term care of the environment. All living creatures are valuable with the right to coexist. It sees our role in the world as caretakers of the future. Everyone has a responsibility in the world as caretakers of the future.
3) The health of people, living things, and the environment take precedence over monetary gain and profit. Profit should not take precedence over the health of people or the environment.
4) It Champions the scientific approach to governing and solving problems. The scientific method is the most reliable way to solve complex problems and making the world a better place. It does not support the use of theism, mythology, and superstition as a basis for public policy. It advocates fair and equal access to participatory governance.
What is humanism? It sounds like a philosophy that would benefit everyone. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing. It promotes equality and fair treatment. It uses science to find solutions. And it champions fundamental rights for everyone. It is a philosophy of positive action.
Are You a Humanist?
Do you align with this philosophy? Do you think all people deserve fairness and the ability to live with dignity? Do you think people deserve clean water, food, shelter, and health care? Humanists believe in an inclusive and verdant culture. They champion human rights for everyone and all races, genders, and ethnic backgrounds.
Why do some people think it’s a bad thing? What about you? What is humanism to you? Are you a humanist, after all? Does it seem like a bad thing? Let’s look at why some people think humanism is evil.
Demonizing Inclusion, Fairness, and Equality
It is all about competition. Follow the money. If someone competes for your customers, one tactic is to attack their reputation. If you disparage the term associated with their name, you protect your customer base. You make it off-limits to your customers by proclaiming it as evil. This is the case with humanism. Humanism doesn’t promote sectarianism.
The basis of Western organized religion is exclusivity. The Abrahamic religions (2) of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all promote this idea. Western organized religion has thousands of variations, each claiming to be the correct interpretation. So, to belong to one sect of these religions is to declare war on the others. Everyone outside of your worldview is the enemy of your God. So, you learn to treat them as enemies.
Are you a humanist? Then you will not support preferential treatment based on religious affiliation. You won’t support sectarian exclusivity. You will not align with the philosophy of religious discrimination, gender, ethnic and racial bias.
Where did the negative bias for humanism originate? Western theology adopted these prejudices along with the other beliefs of mystery religions. Western theology is the rebranding of the mystery religions from Babylon, Egypt, Persia, and Assyria. They learned how to demonize their competition from their predecessors. That’s what makes it the wealthiest entity on Earth. What exactly is demonizing?
Demonizing for Profit
To demonize someone or something is a tactic that predates modern history. It shows how a concept can become inserted into a culture’s values. In the Hindu religion, the Devas (the bright lights in the Heavens) were the personifications of Deity. In Assyrian theology, the Hindu deity became the bad Gods or devils of their enemy.
The deity of the Hindu Deva became the Devil of the Assyrians. This concept enabled the Assyrians to conduct warfare using inhumane methods because the Hindus were not human. The term “demonize” comes from this distortion. The slandered Deity of the Hindu later became codified in Assyrian/Persian mythology. It became the basis of the belief system and terminology devils and demons in later Western theological constructs.
So, the attempt to demonize a term is born out of religious prejudice. It’s a ploy to disparage practice that does not align with the Western theological construct. Abrahamic religions control much of the cultural narrative with 4 billion members. So, they demonize Humanism because it threatens their customer base. Above all, it’s a strategy to keep their paying customers, and Humanism is a threat to this cash flow. If you are a humanist, you are an enemy of their cash flow.
Other researchers of the early 18th like Kersey Graves (3), thought the light of the origins would be the end of Western Organized Religion. These researchers underestimated the power of religious indoctrination. Western organized religion adopted theology from religions they later demonized as Pagan or Occult heresy. This kind of demonization is what is happening with humanism and humanism.
Different Categories of Western Religion Devotees
We can divide those involved in organized religion into categories. These groups range from fringe believers to extremists. Each group is subject to varying degrees of activism. The level of allegiance depends on the exposure to groupthink manipulation programming. The more you expose yourself to propaganda, the more susceptible you become too radical ideas.
1) The fringe believer gives the outward appearance of allegiance to the religion. They attend meetings at special celebrations and festivals. These people are the most likely to have investigated their religion’s origins.
Family or cultural tradition holds the fringe believer captive to the belief system. However, they see inconsistencies. Unfortunately, they will go along with many of the negative social biases. They submit to the discriminatory practices even though they understand they are harmful.
People in this group one step away from becoming freethinkers. All it takes is someone to help them find a way out. A process like Comparative Analysis is one way. This is a structured way to examine concepts across different belief systems. This will help them leave behind negative stereotypes and prejudice thinking.
2) The moderate believer attends religious services regularly. They are aware of facts that contradict their beliefs, but they do not investigate them. These people often have family and business relationships intertwined with their religion. This cements the religious devotee to the cultural narrative. They are susceptible to extremist ideas and ideologies. This is because of their exposure to groupthink manipulation tactics.
This group is also apt to follow religious TV and radio programming. However, they can also be a real advocate for truth if you can turn their passion away from religious bigotry.
3) The hardline believer is the person who sees their religion as their identity. They attend more than one meeting a week and take courses to advance their particular religious sect’s knowledge. Because of their passion and devotion to the cult, they become middle-management. They lead small groups and help enforce the boundaries of the belief system. As semi-leaders, they are influential in pushing extremist agenda items. They not only are subject to groupthink manipulation, but they also become the primary tools for motivating others.
4) The extremist strives to become one of the sect’s key leaders. They tend to be articulate, charismatic, and know how to use groupthink manipulation tactics to their benefit. They seek ways to spark controversy, fear, and anger. They stroke strong emotional ties that motivate members to act on their behalf.
They typically attend several meetings a month. They also listen to radio and TV programs, which further reinforce this programming. Their religion becomes their identity.
The “need to believe” overrides any argument or fact that threatens their worldview—religion programs people to reject any idea that threatens their mythology. You will waste your time trying to point out factual and logical errors. All this does is create conflict. There’s a better way to win them over.
Research Findings on Religious Devotees
When we conduct a comparative religious study, we present the four humanism values. We show these values to participants who identify as religious devotees. We don’t tell participants where these four value statements come from. Here are our polling results:
Fringe believers are the most likely to choose the Humanist philosophy as superior to Western religion’s value system. We find about half of the moderate believers will decide the value system of Humanism as superior to those in Western theology. And some hardline believers will choose the four values of humanism as equal to the theology of their particular sect. Those who we identify as extremists reject any value system other than their own.
“Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But, there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.” — David G. McAfee
If you are a religious devotee, this research will help you understand where you fit into the belief continuum. Keeping the fringe and moderate believers from slipping down the slope to extremism is essential for our planet’s future. It’s possible to reverse this trend. We recommend using comparative analysis and the unconventional approach to saving the devotee.
What is Humanism? It is a healthy alternative to religious sectarianism. It does not support the use of religious beliefs for governing. Belief in imaginary friends and enemies is not justification for violence.
Many fringe believers align more with the humanist’s philosophy than their religion. If you belong to a religion because you were born into it, this isn’t your fault. They programmed you to believe in the family religion. Now that you are an adult, it is your responsibility to fix this negative mindset.
Many people hold onto their religion’s identity even though they see the inconsistencies and logical fallacies. Their faith is just a cover story hiding bigotry and prejudice. These people could be freethinkers but are bound by family, friends, or business relationships. Have the courage to take one more step and free yourself from the negative bias and prejudice. If someone asks, are you a humanist? Proclaim, yes I am. Then explain to them what it means.
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(1) American Humanist Association
(2)Kersey Graves, The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, 1881
(3) The Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(4) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia