The Humanist Challenge revised
When we wake up and realize there is no such a thing as a god, it is not good enough to stop there, fellow humanists, There is the matter of our culture, ingrained into us over the last twenty centuries plus. A culture that rests on the premise that there was a deity, created by and serviced by man. This probably worked well as we reached out to form civilizations but has long since been rendered obsolete. Just as we had invented phlogiston and ether so we too had invented a god to explain away anomalies, but once aware of the properties of gases we no longer needed phlogiston and once Einstein showed us a better theory, we no longer needed ether to explain why planets were not clustering so we dropped those items. Now we should have also dropped the god thing too, for there was now sufficient evidence to explain our existence without that icon but here is where something ugly occurred.
The culture that had encouraged scientific exploration suddenly became one that rejected science out of hand—examples of Copernicus and Galileo come to mind. Why? I guess at this but I think the power and prestige that the male had inherited under the god theory was just too much to give up. Our male leaders then set out on an obstinate, determined course to preserve their pretentious image every which they could. The price has been high.
Recently some very well educated professors in a very liberal country, all aware of women’s advances in the modern world, still thought it reasonable to segregate women in a hall if the speaker so preferred. I suspect that because of their authority and stature they felt such a decision would be deemed reasonable. Probably said what many guys will say about this “that it’s no big deal.” Now see how easily culture can distort our view of reality? These are leaders of universities, our highest level of learning and probably half their potential students are going to be women! And all that brilliance cannot see the reality before their eyes.
Now see why we really need to reject that culture ?
Granted,that culture has been evolving into a more progressive one as time passes, but we can see by these actions and those of the Republicans and the urge to enforce Shari law that powerful groups still feel they have the right to special privilege based on gender alone, so it looks like it will be a long, very long struggle through many centuries to achieve the free and just world that most humanists want. We need it now.
So where does that leave us? If we reject that culture out of hand, what are going to be our rules of behaviour, of ethics ? Well this is the challenge that we must face. We need to develop our own culture, one created by man AND woman, based, I’d suggest on a mixture of experience and scientific evidence, reminding ourselves of our innate empathy towards our own species.
Yes this is a challenge and it requires ALL of us to think about what we would like to see in a brand new, refreshing culture to best act as a guideline for all of us for the many years to come.