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
Humanism is not a religion. It is a mindset that places a priority on promoting 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 key values:
1) All people are equally valuable. It is a philosophy motivated by compassion, which promotes 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 the preferential treatment of any group. This includes 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 promotes our role in the world as caretakers of the future. Profit should not take precedence over the health of people or the environment. It promotes our role and responsibility in the world as caretakers of the future.
3) The health of people, living things, and the environment takes precedence over monetary gain and profit. People and the planet before profit.
4) It Champions the use of the scientific approach to governing and solving problems. The scientific approach 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 basic 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 basic 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, then 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 of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all promote this idea. There are many sects within Western organized religion. Each one claims to 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 will not support sectarian exclusivity. You will not align with the philosophy of religious discrimination, gender, ethnic and racial bias.
Where did all this negative bias come from? 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 richest entities on the 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 deity of the Hindu became the bad Gods or devils of their enemy.
The deity of the Hindu Deva became the Devil of the Assyrians. This 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 which does not align with the Western theological construct. Abrahamic religions control much of the cultural narrative with 4 billion members. So, they make Humanism evil 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 thought the light of the origins would be the end of Western Organized Religion. These researchers underestimated the power of religious indoctrination. All the sects of the Abrahamic tradition borrowed from what they later demonized as Pagan or Occult heresy. This is exactly what is happening with the terms humanism and humanist.
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 level of exposure to groupthink manipulation programming. The more you expose yourself to propaganda, the more susceptible you become to extreme ideas.
1) The fringe believer is someone who 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 the origins of their religion.
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 are also someone who can 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 knowledge of their religion. 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, they become the primary tools for motivating others.
4) The extremist often becomes one of the key leaders of the sect or cult. They are always 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 of the sect 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. Their religion programs them to reject any idea that threatens their worldview. 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 values of Humanism. We present them in a blind comparison with the values of people who identify as religious devotees. We don’t tell participants what philosophy these four value statements come from. Here are our polling results:
Fringe believers are likely to choose the philosophy of the Humanist as superior to the value system of Western religion. We find about half of the moderate believers will choose 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 continuum of belief. Keeping the fringe and moderate believers from slipping down the slope to extremism is important for the future of our planet. It’s possible to reverse this trend. We recommend using comparative analysis and what we call 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. It does not support the belief in imaginary friends and enemies as justification for violence.
Many fringe believers align with more with the philosophy of the humanist than their religion. If you belong to your 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 who hold onto the identity of their religion even though they see the inconsistencies and logical fallacies. These people are close to being 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.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey (2). Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.
(1) American Humanist Association
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia