Once we come to the conclusion that there is no such a thing as a god, we suddenly find ourselves without any standards of ethics or morals in place. Our culture has been immersed in religion for more than two millennia and it is difficult to separate those mores that derive from practical experience from those derived or at least influenced by religious dogma. Rejecting the religious doctrines that we have formerly depended on means that we now have to develop our own standards of behaviour, etc. And, since there are only the two Magisterium -science and religion– we naturally turn to science for answers and thus was born modern Humanism.
Now we’re all set, right? .Well, not according to Carl Coon and others–giving up on god is but the first step–getting all that decayed sludge out of our heads is a life time project. It turns out it is not always that easy to cleanse our brains of past beliefs and prejudices, after having been brought up in such a religious environment,
In particular, religion’s obsessive need to oversee sexual activity -particularly to keep women under careful control— has been heavily indoctrinated into our psyches. By inducing shame and guilt in us from early childhood on, we have developed an almost instinctive distaste for overt signs of sexual activity. And the cost is high- -over sixty women were murdered in Vancouver while we looked the other way.
Yet one still sees some Humanists around who look with some discomfort on homosexuality, abortion and prostitution, suggesting it is not all that easy for us to cough up all that sexual sleaze injected into our skulls when we were very young and vulnerable.
Another area we need to keep working on , as I see it, is to extricate ourselves from the anthropomorphic point of view. Time to recognize ourselves as a part of something much bigger, as part of this amazing stream of biological life
Similarly we should not be talking about whether a god exists or not, but rather why the god theory does not make any sense. We keep playing into religion’s hands if we keep borrowing their phrases, arguing from their point of view. Arguing with religionists about the bible, for instance, makes no sense for someone who dismisses the book as not worthy of discussion..
And most important, now that scientists, aided by modern computers are increasing our knowledge base almost exponentially, we are going to have trouble just trying to keep up. Science has discovered so much more about our genetic makeup and about how our brains work, that we are faced with the need to keep readjusting our world view to suit. So, as Carl Coon suggests, giving up on the god thing is just the start. Not for us the comfort of principles written in stone one can blindly, unthinkingly follow For the Humanist, scouring the cranium of old decayed knowledge and replacing it with ever fresher information is a lifetime project.
We need to create our own culture., not lean on the existing religious cultures. If you read Derrick Jensen’s book: ”The Culture of Make Believe.” you’ll begin to see that our existing cultures are mindlessly, unnecessarily cruel. We Humanists need to give the world something better than that.
The Culture of Make Believe, Derrick Jensen
Paperback: 720 pages Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (Mar 1 2004) Language: English ISBN-10: 1931498571 ISBN-13: 978-1931498579