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10-02-2013, 09:35 AM
humanism
question:
one of our members brought his 10 year old daughter to our HAAM meeting
last evening - Humanist, Atheists, and Agnostics of Manitoba. This
morning he is posting a question on our page: she enjoyed the
presentation on astronomy but is asking what the group is all about and
what's a humanist. He is looking for ways to provide her a definition of
humanism that does NOT define humanism by comparing it to 'church' or
religion, since they have never been to church and and she cannot really
make the comparison. I did a quick search on definitions of humanism
and all the ones i found do define it as doing good without god etc.
Does anyone know of a site or video which would explain humanism at a 10
year old's level without comparing it to religion?

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10-02-2013, 01:22 PM
RE: humanism
I think this is a good opportunity for your friend to introduce his daughter to religion. It's a real thing and most people believe in it so it's very important that she understand it.

As I see it, trying to explain it to her any other way would be like trying to explain how a wheel works without a discussion of circles.
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10-02-2013, 01:30 PM
RE: humanism
She does need to be prepared for religion, othwerwise some self proclaimed messiah will blindside her some day... I became an atheist when I was 10, so at 10 one is perfectly capable to think and make conscious decisions about theism and atheism and humanism etc.

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10-02-2013, 04:02 PM
RE: humanism
http://www.americanhumanist.org/Humanism...f_Humanism

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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10-02-2013, 04:32 PM
RE: humanism
I'm with Dom and TriangleJefe - underexposure is not a good thing considering she will soon enter her teen years unprepared to encounter theists at nearly every turn. A good foundation of free thought can really be strengthened with the comparison to a nasty case of religion.

She's 10... Consider I can't believe she hasn't run across religion or at least religious stories already, on her own. Personally, I don't think I would be so over protective and controlling; the kid is liable to dive into theism just for the sake of rebellion. In three years, theist or atheist; she'll be pure evil, anyway.

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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10-02-2013, 09:24 PM
RE: humanism
Humanism: The idea that the existence of people is generally a good thing and we should be nice to each other.

That is it in a very small nutshell really.
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10-02-2013, 09:32 PM
RE: humanism
(10-02-2013 04:32 PM)kim Wrote:  "I'm with Dom and TriangleJefe - underexposure is not a good thing considering she will soon enter her teen years unprepared to encounter theists at nearly every turn. A good foundation of free thought can really be strengthened with the comparison to a nasty case of religion."

I think you make a good point there. Someone in our group suggested reading books by Dale McGowan on secular parenting, and Dan Barker apparently wrote a book aimed at kids. We are going to check those out and see what they advise.

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10-02-2013, 09:36 PM (This post was last modified: 10-02-2013 09:41 PM by Ghost.)
RE: humanism
Hey, fluffy.

Big up to Manitoba!

The following quote is the entry for HUMANISM in John Ralston Saul’s book, “The Doubter’s Companion.” Saul is one of Canada’s greatest humanists. Not only has he received the Governor General’s Award, but he’s married to a former one. He actually used to be called His Excellency John Ralston Saul when he lived in Rideau Hall. His books are all excellent. Anyhoo, without further ado:
Quote:HUMANISM An exaltation of freedom, but one limited by our need to exercise it as an integral part of nature and society.

We are capable of freedom because we are capable of seeking the balance which integrates us into the world. And this equilibrium in society depends upon our acceptance of DOUBT as a positive force. The dignity of man is thus an expression of modesty, not of superior preening and vain assertions.

These simple notions are central to the Western idea of civilization. They are clearly opposed to the narrow and mechanistic certainties of ideology; those assertions of certainty intended to hide the fear of doubt.

Modern humanism appeared in Italy in the fourteenth century with Danta, Boccaccio and Pertarch. It was given philosophical form in the second half of the fifteenth century. Among those who reimagined its shape were Pico della Mirandola, who in his Oration on the Dignity of Man has God tell Adam: “I have placed you at the centre of the world so that from there you may see what is in it.”

Most specialists devoted to the HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY now describe humanism in highly technical terms as a movement which revived classical Greek and Roman texts and devoted itself to detailed studies of language and definition and translation. In this way they reduce a revolution to their own level of modern SCHOLASTICISM. But the original humanists were, above all, set on attacking the original scholastics. They sought out the classical texts not in a scholastic desire to study the past, but with a determination to use classical ideas against oppressive mediaeval rhetoric.

The humanist path was filled with writers seeking new ways to communicate with larger audiences in clear language. And the element of doubt was always there. In the early sixteenth century, Erasmus seemed often to stand alone as a moderate voice attempting to hold the religious extremists, Catholic and Protestant, back from their desire for blood. The same belief in balance which carried Erasmus could be found in the Enlightenment. Yes, these eighteenth-century thinkers spent a lot of time defining concepts. What interested them, however, was not proving they were right, but being in tune with reality.

As the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth, it became obvious that a new wave of ideologies was going to reject doubt as a weakness, as ignorance, as irresponsibility; indeed as subversion. Perhaps this explains why the ideology of REASON and its various minor manifestations, such as Marxism and Capitalism, have so easily swept humanism off centre stage. They have all the fears of uncontrolled ideas and so use their absolutism to manipulate certainty and force with ease. Balance, on the other hand, requires care and time and, of course, the embracing of uncertainty. Humanism’s seeming weakness in the face of ideology is not surprising. Narrow certainty always appears to have a short-term advantage over balance and doubt.

The curious thing about ideologies is that their promise, being eternal and all-encompassing, is therefore impossible, and therefore provokes constant short-term emergencies. In order for the day to be saved, the citizen must react with passive acceptance. Passivity is required because it is believed that the individual, left to act freely in a crisis, will do the wrong thing.

For the humanist, short-term problems are not a crisis. They simply represent reality with all its complications and contradictions. And the citizen’s reaction to reality is not expected to be passive, for the simple reason that human nature is neither a problem nor something to be feared. “We’re not interested in a world,” as René-Daniel Dubois puts it, “in which to be human is a weakness” Human nature is a positive force to the extent that it is in balance.

But a balance of what? What is this equilibrium that the humanists seek?

A reasonable list of human qualities might include: ETHICS, common sense, imagination or creativity, memory of history or experience, intuition and reason. The humanist tries to use all of these. But what does it mean to be in balance?

The Athenians didn’t know about the structure of the atom, in which several poles are held in a self-maintaining equilibrium, not by what we would call either a physical or a logical structure but by tension. The tension of complementary opposites. Our qualities, seen as a whole, resemble an atom. The moment one quality is cut free from the others and given precedence over them, this imbalance will bring out the winner’s negative aspects.

This ethics in power quickly turn into a religious dictatorship. Common sense couldn’t help but subside into pessimistic confusion, as if wallowing in the mud. Creativity into anarchy. Memory into the worst sort of monarchical dictatorship. Intuition into the rule of base superstition. And reason, as we have seen over the last half-century, into a directionless, amoral dictatorship of structure.

But if imbalance, which we call ideology, can so easily sweep balance aside, has humanism ever been anything more than a marginal refuge for idealism? That, of course, isn’t a question. It’s an answer structured as a question and it reflects the standard ideological approach towards humanism.

It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal. The promise of prosperity in the exploitation of cheap, often child, labour.

There are big ideologies and little ones. They come in international, national, and local shapes. Some require skyscrapers, others circumcision. Like fiction they are dependent on the willing suspension of disbelief, because God only appears in private and before his official spokespeople, class leaders themselves decide the content and pecking order of classes, experts choose their facts judiciously, blood-ties aren’t pure and the passive acceptance of a determinist market means denying 2,500 years of Western civilisation from Athens and Rome through the Renaissance to the creation of middle-class democracies.

Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection and their fear of debate.

-John Ralston Saul, “The Doubter’s Companion”
Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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10-02-2013, 10:19 PM
RE: humanism



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10-02-2013, 10:55 PM
RE: humanism
thanks, but it's a bit heavy for kids Wink

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