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Switch to Forum Live View Why I Like Being a Religious Humanist
7 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2008 - 9:25PM #1
yarvin
Posts: 10
[QUOTE="Noel Cheer"]While secular humanists call for 'no religion', religious humanists call for 'better religion'.[/QUOTE]

It's been almost two years since I've left the LDS church.  If there's one thing I can say, it's that I've done a lot of reading since then.  And while I hesitate at this point to definitely say "I'm this" or "I'm that," I'm pretty sure that I am a religious humanist, and will be one for a long time yet to come.

Like secular humanists, I think morality is about human virtue, not about obeying commandments.  I highly doubt that supernatural forces intervene in the world.  And I think that the religions of the world are created entirely by human beings.

But where secular humanists see religion as unnecessary baggage, I think religion can and should express, poetically, the highest ideals of human life.  Rather than trying to explain the world, religion should be an attempt to understand our place in the world, and to put that into practice.

Not everyone would benefit from religion, but I doubt that we have, as a species, outgrown the use of myth, ritual, and a sense of holiness.  I simply think we need to be honest that our myths are myths, and do not in any way truly capture the Divine, if there even is such a thing.

I like this, because it allows me to be intellectually honest while I pursue emotional and spiritual fulfillment.  I find it hard to honestly believe in a personal God or supernatural forces.  But I tend to find purely secular philosophies too dry and too focused on material comfort.

It also gives me flexibility.  Once you realize that religion is a human creation, it's not too far to realize that we can and should continue to create and recreate it.  Religion can become a dynamic force rather than static one, relevant rather than archaic.  This also means that the dilemma of choosing between different religious traditions is a non-issue.

My main influences have been John Shelby Spong, Joseph Campbell, Sam Harris, and especially the paper/speech by Noel Cheer, "The Religion of the Willful Disbelievers." (Audio can be found on this page)
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 04, 2008 - 9:25PM #2
yarvin
Posts: 10
[QUOTE="Noel Cheer"]While secular humanists call for 'no religion', religious humanists call for 'better religion'.[/QUOTE]

It's been almost two years since I've left the LDS church.  If there's one thing I can say, it's that I've done a lot of reading since then.  And while I hesitate at this point to definitely say "I'm this" or "I'm that," I'm pretty sure that I am a religious humanist, and will be one for a long time yet to come.

Like secular humanists, I think morality is about human virtue, not about obeying commandments.  I highly doubt that supernatural forces intervene in the world.  And I think that the religions of the world are created entirely by human beings.

But where secular humanists see religion as unnecessary baggage, I think religion can and should express, poetically, the highest ideals of human life.  Rather than trying to explain the world, religion should be an attempt to understand our place in the world, and to put that into practice.

Not everyone would benefit from religion, but I doubt that we have, as a species, outgrown the use of myth, ritual, and a sense of holiness.  I simply think we need to be honest that our myths are myths, and do not in any way truly capture the Divine, if there even is such a thing.

I like this, because it allows me to be intellectually honest while I pursue emotional and spiritual fulfillment.  I find it hard to honestly believe in a personal God or supernatural forces.  But I tend to find purely secular philosophies too dry and too focused on material comfort.

It also gives me flexibility.  Once you realize that religion is a human creation, it's not too far to realize that we can and should continue to create and recreate it.  Religion can become a dynamic force rather than static one, relevant rather than archaic.  This also means that the dilemma of choosing between different religious traditions is a non-issue.

My main influences have been John Shelby Spong, Joseph Campbell, Sam Harris, and especially the paper/speech by Noel Cheer, "The Religion of the Willful Disbelievers." (Audio can be found on this page)
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 14, 2008 - 6:46AM #3
ElCid22
Posts: 1,156
Hope you're still out there. I feel much the same way about my faith. I consider myself an ecumenical Christian with a Catholic background. My focus is on Jesus, and the humanism and direct spiritual dependency on Him alone that He taught His disciples. I'm more interested in the Incarnation, as a spiritual center-point, than the post-Incarnation. In fact, I've grown weary of Christian sectarianism. Granted, my approach doesn't do much for strengthening any particular Christian organization or institution in society, but at this point, it's the best I can do. I'm tired of listening to issues addressed in church communities that have little or nothing to do with Jesus. At some point, we must let go of tangential matters.
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6 years ago  ::  May 29, 2008 - 3:17PM #4
Agnosticspirit
Posts: 9,244
Hello Yarvin, hoping you're still around - I love Joseph Campbell! He clarified why people create their religions. I used to think it was all bunk but now I understand it's a human need to create their gods. If religions didn't exist, we'd make'em. :)

I'm just hoping we'll evolve to create kinder, gentler gods.
Tribalism, ethnocentricism, racism, nationalism, and FEAR is the Mind Killer... >:(

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