James Croft reads ‘The Good Book’ by A.C. Grayling. Genesis, Chapter 3.
Have you ever seen that movie “Piranha 3D”? It’s an idiotic horror film taking advantage of 3D film technology to provide jump-inducing super-piranha swarms (“they swim right at you!”) and gratuitous shots of girls in bikinis. It’s also what popped into my mind when observing the response of parts of the atheist community to an article by one of their own.
Stoles, robes and miters – oh my! Humanists have the worldview most solidly supported by evidence. We are masters and mistresses of the raised eyebrow, satire and wit streaming from our books and blogs. We are often decades ahead on the moral issues of the day.
But let’s face it: the religious have the best clothes.
Why do some people, predominantly religious, hate us so much they are willing to fight to make us second-class citizens? Why do they care who we sleep with?
Sure, it’s about fear, and wariness of difference, and the human need for a scapegoat – all dark aspects of the human soul which bequeath us racism and other forms of hatred. But really, it’s about power.
On Sunday 10th the American Humanist Association’s 70th Annual Conference drew to a close. What did this convocation of American Humanists (and important visitors from around the world) reveal about the state of Humanism in America?
It showed that American Humanism is brimming with potential. And it showed that we must work hard to fulfill it. It is time for a full-throated Humanism with strong foundations. Prepare your voice, and prepare your hands: we have songs to sing, and communities to build.
I love Humanism and I love my Humanist Community. When I say I am a Humanist, I mean far more than that I do not believe in God. To me, Humanism is a visionary commitment to a better world, in which the emancipation of all humankind is not an abstraction but a reality.
And this is why I’m wary of Humanist conferences. Because too often they fail to live up to the ideal of Humanism that I have in my head. So I ask today, the day before this years AHA Annual Conference, who are we calling to, and how will we represent our movement to the world?
On Saturday last week (04.02.2011) I spoke at a counter-protest to the “Social Transformation Conference at Harvard”. This conference featured 3 speakers with deep ties to something called the “Seven Mountains” movement – a virulently anti-gay, anti-Muslim theocratic group. I spoke out to say that it is our duty to confront these theocrats, and to defeat them, to ensure freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and secular government remain among the guiding principles of the United States of America.
“I would suggest that science is, at least in my part, informed worship.”
Who said this? Perhaps you’re thinking it has a sense of the New Age about it, a slight hint of woo. Maybe it’s the sort of thing you might expect Deepak Chopra to say, an amalgam of pseudoscience and feel-good spirituality that is fed to credulous seekers for a “reasonable” price. It’s surely not, you may think, something any self-respecting naturalist would would allow to pass their lips…