- Published on Friday, 03 April 2009 13:11
- Written by Bill Broderick
- Hits: 1420
Humanists stand out from the crowd for one simple reason — they don’t believe in gods. They don’t believe in supernatural entities. What that means is that they don’t buy the whole ball of wax that goes along with gods, such as divine revelations, souls, life after death, angels, demons, and all the doctrinal trappings that most religions bring to the table.
In other words, we think that what we see in the here and now is what we get. We humanists are content with that. We don’t want any more. That is not to say that we won’t work for the best possible life for ourselves and our loved ones. In fact, we want the best for everyone! But that’s it. We don’t look beyond the grave for some kind of hereafter where the souls of the dead are weighed to ascertain their worthiness to share in the joys of some kind of eternal life in heaven or, conversely, to be plunged into a fiery pit to suffer eternally in hell.
I’ve never been a very strong believer in religion, but I know people who were. Fundamentalists, particularly, find it a great relief when they finally become convinced that the world and universe is natural. All natural. No gods, no devils, nobody looking over their shoulders to see if they’re naughty or nice. Nothing but the physical forces that give rise to all the phenomena of which we are cognizant.
Humanists have never felt the need to try and force other people to their way of thinking. We have never built any dungeons, never forged any chains, never devised any instruments of torture, never frightened little children with stories of hellfire and damnation if they don’t believe or aren’t good.
Apart from all that, humanists are much like other people. Some of us drink and smoke. Some of us don’t. Most of us live honorable and worthy lives. We try to do good in the world. Many of us are pacifists and don’t believe in war. We think there are better ways to resolve human problems.
Even though we don’t believe in any deities, we still try to live moral lives. We must be doing a good job of that because the atheist population of our prisons is less than 1 percent. Conversely, our jails and penitentiaries are chock full of people who profess to believe in religion. Since non-believers represent approximately 23 percent of the general population, we must be doing all right morally to have such a small representation in our jails.
Humanists tend to be more tolerant than believers. We don’t condemn people because they are different. We think homosexuals are okay. We don’t mind that some women have abortions. We think an atheist prime minister or president would be just great. But then, us humanists, we’re beyond belief!