A friend sent me a link to this article: CBC has a video article article showcasing what they consider to be the greatest miracles of 2010. Wow, I am not sure where to begin with this rather odious piece of journalism, but here goes… Miracles are a funny thing, and not in a way that should make anyone laugh.
Wikipedia defines a miracle as an unexpected event attributed to divine intervention. Sometimes an event is also attributed (in part) to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader.
While wikipedia is not the final place to go for definitions, it is normally a good place for a general consensus. So, using this basic definition, let’s examine the events surrounding our plane crash survivor. For example, the number one miracle was titled “Sole Survivor”. It is a story about a man who survived a plane crash. He was the only one of 104 passengers and crew to survive. And CBC labelled it a miracle. Do we see the problem here? Where is the divine intervention? I am sure there are 103 families who would disagree that a miracle occurred.
It may seem like semantics, but the word miracle implies divinity and religion, giving undue credence to superstitions and myths that have hindered free thought, blocked scientific advance, and killed countless people in an attempt to remain relevant and force controlling beliefs upon the masses. Religion has followed us since the beginning of our species’ existence, mainly through the indoctrination of our young, when they are the most impressionable. (Here’s an article that explains more about this )
As for the age-old adage about humans not judging events this way, all the dubious, sugar-sweet soothing messages about “god working in mysterious ways” or “it isn’t our place to question him” doesn’t make the foul medicine taste any better or the fertilizer used to grow the story any less offensive.
Our children are permitted to stop believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, but are encouraged – and in many cases forced – to profess belief in outdated superstitious myths with no burden of proof by organizations that don’t even pay their fair share of taxes.
Received this years ago in an email. I brush it off and share it each year, just for giggles!
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, and without prejudice or consideration, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the secular practices or religious persuasion of your choice, with respect for the secular/religious persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice secular or religious traditions at all; and also my wishes for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Canada a great cultural mosaic, (not to imply that Canada is necessarily a greater cultural mosaic than any other country or is the only nation with a cultural mosaic), and without regard to the gender, nationality, race, creed, colour, age, height, weight, intelligence, voting preference, physical ability, food preference, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting, you also accept and agree to these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wisher accepts no responsibility for any unintended emotional and/or physical discomfort, disruption or stress these greetings may bring to those not subject to societally sanctioned or unsanctioned seasonal emotions, beliefs or traditions.
Philosophical arguments/rants of this nature are caused by the human race’s incessant need to categorize and label everything. In truth, ‘environmentalist’ would indeed be a better label than ‘Humanist’ if we find ourselves forced to assign a label, since in reality, humans are just one small part of the entire environmental system as a whole. Yet ‘environmentalism’ is not only within the domain of atheists & humanists, it contains Christians, jews, voodoo worshippers, Wiccans, and many others. So what can we do? Maybe look at the basis for each of these labels and see where we stand?
‘Atheism’ is the non-belief in a deity or group of deities, whereas religion proposes belief in a deity or deities as well as leadership at a philosophical level that includes a structure for behaviour and society. Humanism also promotes a structure for behaviour and society. This author’s argument that “the tenets of humanism do not represent a radical departure from those of any major religion” is very true! However, in this case, also very misplaced. In essence, the major tenets of Humanism step in where Atheism ends.
It is without a doubt that the human race has evolved to a point where it can think rationally beyond the here and now and at a higher order than simply “must feed, hungy now”. Because of this, (most) humans are able to understand that for a species as intelligent, industrious, populous, and potentially destructive as we have become, a set of ‘guidelines’ that ensure a peaceful co-existence are highly desirable.
Atheism by itself does not provide that system of values and ethics by which society should conduct itself. It simply proposes that there is no higher power that is responsible for everything (or at least that there is no evidence pointing to that, depending on how deeply your belief runs). In contrast, Humanism encompasses a much more philosophical viewpoint that includes an ethical framework that is not inherent within Atheism, yet complements it very nicely.
As the title states, Humanism is a framework for humans, not the entire planet. Because Humanism places humans in the center of importance, it is not a perfect philosophy, but it is one that is generally for the good of all and is the best available for those who are ‘non-religious’ or ‘non-believers’ until everyone begins to think of humanity more as a partner than as a master within this planet’s systems. Also, Humanism is not necessarily anti-religious. Some ‘fundamentalist’ atheists sometimes forget that not everyone who is an atheist or humanist is or ever cares to be a geneticist or biologist.
So, for anyone to argue against the need for a set of governance rules in any type of advanced civilization is illogical, and contrasting atheism to humanism in this manner is no different than arguing that an apple is not an orange.