Silas

Monday, September 01, 2008

Humanism

Went to a Humanist Naming Ceremony at the weekend, and heard the woman overseeing the ceremony say something along the lines of "Humanism encompasses atheism and agnosticism ‑ but is an active and ethical philosophy far greater than these negative responses to religion." That's an actual quote from the British Humanist site here

I'm an atheist not as a negative response to religion, I just don't believe in any God. I don't see me believing that the Universe was created by something I don't understand (but wasn't by a mystical being) as being negative. Nor do I actively attempt to stop other people from having their religious beliefs. If they need religion to explain the wonderful chaos of life, then fine. I don't. As long as they don't attempt to convert me to their point of view, then they can go and kill each other over which one of them has the best invisible magic friend.

The fact that the Humanist Society seem to be taking previous Pagan ceremonies as being proof of the long standing existence of Humanism (on their site, where they explain that they're not planning on abolishing Christmas) irritates me, especially as they seem so determined to show that they're not religious in any way shape or form. They even have, in a list of their beliefs, one that says they don't believe in any sacred texts. Which strikes me as ironic.

But that's not my main beef with Humanism as 'practised' in the UK, oh dear me no. Nor the most ironic thing they've ever done.

The thing that seems to grate the most is that the British Humanists seem to have Polly Toynbee as their president. Polly Toynbee, for the uninitiated is a Guardian columnist. She's also a spectacular liar (as shown rather often by the wonderful Factchecking Pollyanna website - now sadly defunct) and was made to look a complete tit on Question Time quite recently by Richard Littlejohn.

Polly Toynbee is one of the Socialist preacher types. Expects other people to do as she says, as she knows best. But she doesn't follow her own rules. Her kids went to private school while she advocates the state school system. She has a holiday villa in Italy while she advocates we travel less to save the planet from Global Warming. You know the type. She was also a massive supporter of Gordon Brown until it became readily apparent to her that he was completely barking mad and not capable of running the country. It took Polly quite a bit longer than it took the rest of us to notice, so blinded was she by her devotion to Gordon.

Which isn't very Humanist. Or perhaps it is. Who cares?

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3 Comments:

OpenID La Bete said...

A lot of the humanist stuff I agree with but I cannot join any club thjat would have Pollyanna as head (Although they don't pay her, they say).

However I dislike their description of Atheism as negative. Using logic and thinking to work out how the world works is far more positive than following bronze age myths.

The local organisations seem to be a bit more sensible than the national though.

14:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think not Believing in 'the gods' is negative... it's postive... as in I POSITVELY do not believe in 'the gods' and I am a very positive human...

Its raining now and I am late for a meeting and I'll probably get soaked on the way there... and then not be able to find the room... and then not bring my notes... and they'll be wet any way because its raining... and then Russians will probably invade Poland... and then the Yanks will probably nuke Russia... oh and its still raining and we are all going to die of radiation Poisoning... and we'll be wet when it happens...

07:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn't there a 'spell checker' on this comment thnig... see we're all going to die, wet and sick and dead...

07:53  

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