Straight from the Humanist’s Mouth

philosophy_discussion

James Croft and Vlad Chituc have both continued to contribute to the discussion of what exactly unites humanists.  Vlad's put up a new post, and James has posted a clarifying comment that I've quoted from below. You seem to think "Humanism" denotes a single, coherent moral system (particularly a metaethical system). He seems to think that it is some sort of equivalent to "virtue ethics" or "utilitarianism" or something.But this is a category error. Humanism, in my understanding, can mean … [Read more...]

Can You Pick a Humanist Out of a Lineup?

human lineup

Vlad Chituc, an atheist who blogs at NonProphet Status, thinks I was right on in my critique of humanist groups yesterday.    He says, as an atheist activist, he's run into similar problems. I’ve tried to pin down specific moral principles of Humanism from various people, and all I ever seem to get is some vague gesturing towards Reason or Compassion, or some philosophical terms like Naturalism and Consequentialism. But that gives me nothing specific.If I have a conversation with someone who … [Read more...]

How is an atheist group like a bridge club?

good without god

In yesterday's Sunday Review section of The New York Times, Susan Jacoby had an essay titled "The Blessings of Atheism."  She's tackling the perceived absense of atheists and secular philosophy in moments of crisis.  Here's an excerpt, but my critique is about something missing in the piece, so you'd better read the whole thing to be fair. One major problem is the dearth of secular community institutions. But the most powerful force holding us back is our own reluctance to speak, particularly at … [Read more...]

Too Simple Skepticism

Over at Bitchspot, a blogger named Cephus has been fisking my About Me section (which I'll get around to updating soon) to try to spot the roots of my errors.  I'm not really interested in counter-fisking, but right near the end, Cephus cogently summarized an argument I've seen elsewhere, that I'd quite like to address.  I'm the double-indent, Cephus follows.So welcome to the conversation. Play nice, but play to win. And don’t be afraid to show your hand. If you’re doing someone a service by … [Read more...]

Telling Better Deconversion Stories

Man walking away from exit sign

A while ago, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist had a post contrasting atheist deconversion stories with Christian conversion narratives.  He thought atheists need to beef up speaking skills to be able to match the intense emotion of Christian "once was lost" stories. A lot of atheists stop believing in god after a long process of introspection. Maybe they read a book or a friend (or, ironically, a pastor) started them down that path, but there usually isn’t a “born again” moment. When we talk abo … [Read more...]

More Beating Up on Lazy Humanism

There was a link to the definition from Webster's that the Council for Secular Humanism highlights at the top of their "What is Secular Humanism?" page (ellipses theirs): Secular. "Pertaining to the world or things not spiritual or sacred."Humanism. "Any system of thought or action concerned with the interests or ideals of people … the intellectual and cultural movement … characterized by an emphasis on human interests rather than … religion." Holy False Dichotomy, Batman!I would never … [Read more...]

Atheist vs Humanist

fill in the blank

As you've noticed, Patheos has rolled out a site-wide redesign, and the best changes have come to the new 'Channel' pages (previously 'Portals') for the different religious groups on the site.  The old portal was kind of a placeholder, and they were holding off on major updates til the redesign.  One question that came up in consultations with bloggers before the rollout was whether our section should be under the heading "Atheist" or "Humanist."  It used to be "Humanist" and I'm quite glad we sw … [Read more...]


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