Robert Ingersoll: Sounds Like Humanism

(via American Humanist Association Tumblr)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://twitter.com/morgantj FookedonHonix

    Why must I be happy?

    “Happiness is like a cat. If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing up against your legs and jumping into your lap.” – William Bennett

    • C Peterson

      Why must I be happy?

      You don’t have to be happy. If being sad is what makes you happy, go for it. Wait…

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        i actually like being happy. but i am too aware of certain things to be so, most of the time. i am unhappy about the state of politics, the influence the religious have on society, the economy, the environment…

        it’s hard to be happy all the time, unless you have your head in the sand. i wish i had more power and influence so i could change some of these things, or more people who were willing to join with me in making change happen.

        • C Peterson

          You kind of have to wonder if you can really appreciate happiness if it never goes away. Maybe it would be kind of empty, like living with electrodes in your pleasure center? This always seemed like yet another problem with the Christian vision of Heaven.

          • Emmet

            I like the definition of happiness that says it is peace.

            Like chicago dyke, I’m too aware of the crappy things in our society – to her list of “the state of politics, the influence [some] religious have on society, the economy, the environment…” I’d add also the influence of the materialist or “moral Darwinist” worldview on society – and am a little bit overworked and underpaid, so am not happy happy joy joy all the time, but I am peaceful about it all. And (you knew this was coming, didn’t you?) it’s Christ who is the source of that peace. And, per Ingersoll, I’ve certainly found that the time to seek peace is now, the place to seek it is here, and the way to find it is to seek to help others find it. I don’t, however, see it as the only good, and as always and anyway, wonder how atheists (and humanists) define “good”.

            • Randay

              You do know that Robert Ingersoll was one of the most important agnostics in the 19th century and a most sought after speaker, don’t you? If believers think today’s atheists are “strident”, they should read Ingersoll to understand what it means. He said that the atonement was “the enemy of morality.” “Good” is function of human society and changing social values and thus changes over time. Good reads are Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil” and “On the Geneology of Morals.” Another good book is B.F. Skinner’s “Beyond Freedom and Dignity”.

              • Emmet

                Yep. I was just referring to the words in the above picture, removed from Ingersoll’s other writings.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I want to be happy
    But I won’t be happy
    Till I make you happy too.
    Life’s really worth living
    When you are mirth giving
    Why can’t I give some to you?
    When skies are gray
    And you say you are blue
    I’ll send the sun smiling through.
    I wanna be happy
    But I won’t be happy
    Till I make you happy too.

    From No, No, Nanette, lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach, music by Vincent Youmans, 1924.

    Simple wisdom is timeless.


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