Looking forward to your feedback on this next section of my book! Click below for parts I and II:
What are the most important values to humanists?
Try not to do harm. Tell the truth, help the less fortunate, and seek justice in all its forms. Be generous with your resources, have courage, be fair. Try to achieve dignity.
Use your power of reasoning. Be aware that earth is our only home; preserve and protect it. Be inclusive, not exclusive in matters of race, minorities, women, sexual preference, religion, financial status, nationality.
Do humanists believe that a god is necessary to create values?
No. Humans are quite capable of developing values that lead to a happy life
Are values timeless? Can they and should they change?
Values do change. For example slavery, now unacceptable everywhere, was once considered morally acceptable by almost all religious people, including Christians. Values do change.
How do humanists regard the Golden Rule?
Every religion’s sacred book includes The Golden Rule. It is easily understood by all. The good person tries to live up to the Golden Rule in both its positive and negative parts. The positive part: treat others the way you’d like to be treated. And the negative part: don’t do things to others which you would not want them to do to you.
The Golden Rule is basic to all who want to pursue a good life.
Does the Golden Rule, a basic moral law in almost every religion, require or involve a god of any kind?
How do humanists regard the values espoused by Jesus, Mohammad and leaders of religions?
The major religions of the world are most proud of their leaders when they encourage their followers to be compassionate, caring and generous. Humanists share these same values.
Morals, ethics and goodness
Where do our ethics come from?
Humanists believe ethics come from human needs and human interests, tested by experience. They believe values are derived from social contracts that “work,” having proved they are the best way to treat others and to get along together. Over thousands of years, humans have learned things NOT to do. And things TO DO to have a safer and happier life. Humanists believe our values come from our experience as humans trying to live together in harmony. Since humanists want a safe and happy life, they believe in values like truthfulness, courage and compassion.
What is “morality” to a humanist?
Morality is about promoting human advancement. It’s about improving people’s lives, building a better world, and demonstrating concern for the happiness of others, while maintaining a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong.
Morality is all about helping others live a better life, and alleviating their unnecessary suffering. (Unfortunately, some suffering is inevitable.)
Morality is about doing things that make you proud of yourself.
What elements are not included in a humanist’s definition of morality?
Morality is not about religious books, heaven, hell, punishments, sinners, saints, promises and threats.
What do humanists believe “being good” is not?
Reading a holy book, attending a church service, reciting an oath, worshipping, praying, invoking a deity, blindly following the dictates of an organization, living in fear, attending a certain school or college, participating in unique customs, wearing religious jewelry and displaying religious ornaments.
How do humanists know what is right and what is wrong?
Human experience tells us it is wrong to murder, steal, cheat and lie. Humans do not need a book to tell us these things. Neither do we need a book to tell us that it is right to be honest, caring and truthful.
What motivates a humanist to do good and be good?
The same as anyone else: doing good makes you feel good about yourself.
Being good can contribute to:
- Less stress
- More confidence that you are making good choices
- More self respect
- More friends
Why would a person who does not believe in God want to be good?
Humanists do not believe that the only way you can get people to act decently is to promise them eternal reward (heaven) or threaten them with eternal punishment (hell).
We are better off aiming for cooperation than aiming for selfishness. We must cooperate and get along with others; we need to give and take.
What is “pay it forward”?
We may not realize it but we are constantly aware that our behavior may be seen and evaluated by others, for better or worse. We can “pay it forward” meaning that I will help you in the hope that it will encourage you to help someone else. It feels good to give to others, whether or not we get anything in return.
Does it make any difference whether a person is good without God, or good with God?
Not to a humanist. But it certainly does make a difference to millions of others.
What non-religious organizations have “creeds” that might be termed humanistic?
Almost all service clubs have creeds that embrace people of all religions. Rotary International is one. It has 1.2 million members in 132 countries. Its creed is “The Four Way Test” which asks, “Of the things that we think, say or do:
- Is it the truth?
- Will it be beneficial to others?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
What notion of absolute morality has been used to justify almost every war ever fought?
“The one true God is on OUR side!”