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    Thread: Religion Series; Humanism

    1. #1
      Bio-Turing Machine O'nus's Avatar
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      Religion Series; Humanism

      Humanism
      + Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

      Crux:
      Humanism dictates that the most important factor is humans and humane interaction. The propagation of human rationality, reason, ethical treatment, and sympathy is encouraged.

      All religions can be humanist. However, it is fully grasped by the non-theists as humanism sets the humans as the center of rational instead of a God, spirit, or other religious ideals.

      Humanism is also easily mis-interpreted as Utilitarianism. However, utilitarianism logic can be utilized by humanists. It appears to me that the best ethical doctrine of humanists is the flourishing of humanity. I relate this in my "What is the o'nus?" thread as humanism does not necessarily have a gospel.

      Humanism is often best described as the "Golden Rule"; treat others the way you want to be treated.

      Background
      Beginning in the time of the 1800's, the term Humanist began as a more anti-clerical term to separate religious affairs from political or economical. This was a means to use the most economically efficient matters instead of the most religious ideal. Personally, I believe there may be a correlation between humanism and logical positivism.

      The American Humanist Association (AHA) was formed in 1941 as an education program to publicize humanism.

      In contemporary times, it is common for non-theists to embrace humanism. People, such as Richard Dawkins, suggested that non-theists alike ought to embrace the term. As non-theists, atheists, and ilk share the same common ethical ground, it is not uncommon for these people to also consider themselves a Humanist.
      + http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxGMqKCcN6A

      Literature

      Civic Humanism: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/humanism-civic/
      Thomas Paine: http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Paine-C...3151555&sr=8-1
      - Considered a "father" of religious humanity

      Artwork

      Personally, I always view Humanism as the encapsulation of human reason and creativity. The greatest thinkers and scientists who embraces human reason rather than clerical authority. The greatest painting I can think of to represent this is the "School of Athens" by Raphael.

      Spoiler for School of Athens - by Raphael:


      The next favourite Humanist painting of mine is from Frans Hals. An impressionist painter, Frans Hals was a Dutch artist. Combining the ideal of portraits, impressionism, and humanism, I found his "A Man Holding a Skull" to perfectly symbolize Humanism.

      Spoiler for A Man Holding a Skull - Frans Hals:


      Music


      + The best is yet to come - Metal Gear Solid
      - Yes, it is from a game. Honestly, I have no personal justification or reason for this choice other than how it personally makes me feel. Hopefully, someone else will get this vibe.


      + Harmonica's Theme - from the movie "Once Upon a Time in the West"
      - This song represents death to me and the confrontations between men. Duels are just a symbol of the greater altercations that take place in humanity and we must embrace and learn from them.

      What do you think...?

      ~

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      Lack of film there O'nus. :3


      So I'll chip in with what I consider to be a movie with a powerful humanist message.

      On hindsight this is much more existential than humanist, but please don't delete my post

      You touched upon "Once Upon a Time in the West", which is one of my favourite westerns, but I should probably expand on why I find westerns so good for this theme of humanism.

      One of the major themes of the Western is that of duty.

      High Noon particularly boils down to one man doing his duty, and that ultimately, a man is responsible for taking care of his own problems in the world.

      Almost always a male protagonist is confronted with often horrific and brutal events in the world, and near always they have to confront this, often alone, or with friends. The movie "High Noon" exemplifies this perfectly for me (the following is the plot summary from wikipedia, which does it better than I could):



      "Will Kane , the longtime marshal of Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, has just married pacifist Quaker Amy and turned in his badge. He prepares to move away to become a storekeeper. Then the town learns that Frank Miller, a criminal Kane brought to justice, is due to arrive on the noon train. Miller had been sentenced to hang, but was pardoned for reasons never stated. In court, he had vowed to get revenge on Kane and anyone who got in his way. His three gang members wait for him at the station. The worried townspeople encourage Kane to leave, hoping to defuse the situation.

      Kane and his wife leave town, but fearing that the gang will hunt him down, Kane turns back. He reclaims his badge and scours the town for deputies—even interrupting Sunday church services—but while many townspeople profess to admire Kane, only a fourteen-year-old boy is willing to lend a hand. His deputy, Harvey Pell, resigns. His former lover, Helen RamÝrez, supports him, but there is little she can do to help. Disgusted, she sells her business and prepares to leave town. Kane's wife threatens to leave on the noon train with or without him, but he stubbornly refuses to give in.

      In the end, Kane faces the four gunmen alone. He guns down two of Miller's men, though he himself is wounded in the arm. Helen Ramirez and Amy both board the train, but Amy gets off when she hears the sound of gunfire. Amy chooses her husband's life over her religious beliefs and kills the third gunman by shooting him in the back. Miller then takes her hostage and offers to trade her for Kane. Kane agrees, coming out into the open. Amy, however, claws Miller's face, causing him to release her. Kane then shoots and kills him. As the townspeople emerge, Kane contemptuously throws his marshal's star in the dirt and leaves town with his wife."



      I've bolded what I think is key here. Kane has a duty to perform. he could choose to run, he could choose not to fight, as his wife and religion would tell him, but he chooses to stand alone against an overpowering enemy. The 'good' people of the town and the churchgoers refuse to help him, mainly out of fear, and as the clock slowly gets closer to noon, when the enemy will arrive, he becomes more and more alone and desperate, but he never runs away, and he stands to fight, because of some deeply ingrained morality within him, that seems to be deeper and more profound than the simple laws of the people and religion around him. It's a human thing.





      And this is something we can take from and admire about humanism. There is no Deus Ex Machina or overwhelming certain power behind Kane, like a God. Nothing special or magical. Just one man doing what is the right thing to do, regardless of the consequence. Regardless of heaven or hell or social rejection or opinion.

      In fact, the true light of the story is human courage in the face of adversity and evil. And Kane highlights perfectly how this is something intrinsic to humans. A courage and will supported by nothing more than doing the right thing. Not for a God or a religion, but because it is right.

      High Noon goes a little bit beyond Humanism though and can really be considered an example of existentialism in film. It's pretty perfect in that sense.

      Also of note is the actions of his wife, choosing to save her husband's life over obey her religion, which I think speaks for itself.
      Last edited by Car˘usoul; 01-10-2010 at 09:33 PM.

    3. #3
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      So what is being discussed here? I mean, I know it's about humanism, but that's about it. What particular aspect?
      John 3:16

      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Noogah View Post
      So what is being discussed here? I mean, I know it's about humanism, but that's about it. What particular aspect?
      Read the first post and the companion "religion series" thread by Onus.

      They spell it out pretty clearly.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Car˘usoul View Post
      Read the first post and the companion "religion series" thread by Onus.

      They spell it out pretty clearly.
      Oh, I see.

      I don't think these things will gain much popularity here.
      John 3:16

      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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      The one who rambles. Lucid_boy's Avatar
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      Jesus christ
      William shakespear

      Don't entirely discount my post for saying this but;
      If humanism is the empahasis of human kindness and the human experience, than I can think of no greater a humanist than Jesus himself. If you take away all the religious dogma srounding him and just look at the human christ, he seems to me to be the ultimate Humanist. His doctrine literally created the golden rule that o'nus mentions. Another cool historical humanist (I know this wasn't a mentioned category but these men certianly contributed to our culture) would have to be shakespear (sp?) his writings seem to me (if you look beyond the literal) all about the human experience.


      Infinitly greater than you are... Damn that missing E.

    7. #7
      BICYCLE RIGHTS Catbus's Avatar
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      I'm surprised there's been no mention of Kurt Vonnegut, I always thought of him to be one of the most popular contemporary humanists.

      http://worcester.humanists.net/site/node/54


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    8. #8
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      ^I concur.

      i.e. - "The Sirens of Titan", perhaps?
      http://i421.photobucket.com/albums/pp299/soaringbongos/hippieheaven.jpg

      "you will not transform this house of prayer into a house of thieves"

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      Quote Originally Posted by Catbus View Post
      I'm surprised there's been no mention of Kurt Vonnegut, I always thought of him to be one of the most popular contemporary humanists.

      http://worcester.humanists.net/site/node/54




      why don't you write a piece on him then?



      or you, acatelalelaelalalaphobic

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      Quote Originally Posted by Lucid Boy
      If you take away all the religious dogma srounding him and just look at the human christ, he seems to me to be the ultimate Humanist.
      Problem: Jesus says that no human is good, and all humans need him.

      Humanism says good humans can be good.

      Big difference.
      John 3:16

      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    11. #11
      Bio-Turing Machine O'nus's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Noogah View Post
      Problem: Jesus says that no human is good, and all humans need him.

      Humanism says good humans can be good.

      Big difference.
      Wrong.

      Humanism does not make any claims about "good" or "bad" but just that flourishing of human nature is ideal.

      ~

    12. #12
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      Nonetheless, humanism focuses on the humans. Christianity focuses on Christ.
      John 3:16

      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Noogah View Post
      Nonetheless, humanism focuses on the humans. Christianity focuses on Christ.
      Jesus was a man.
      acatalephobic likes this.

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      The one who rambles. Lucid_boy's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Noogah View Post
      Nonetheless, humanism focuses on the humans. Christianity focuses on Christ.
      I would argue that jesus was focused on helping mankind achieve what would ultimately be considered a utopia. Christianity is about god, Jesus was about love and man helping man to become better.

      Either way, we should try to focus on humanism, not what jesus was or wasn't...

      Quote Originally Posted by A Roxxor View Post
      Jesus was a man.
      So was tina if you've heard the song *lol* Anyway, back to humanism.

      Another historical humanist would have to obviously be Gahndi? He worked for the improvement and benefit of mankind, though he was not focused so much on the human experience. How about Descartes? A psychologist? He seemed pretty focused on mankind.
      Last edited by Lucid_boy; 01-21-2010 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Added to post.


      Infinitly greater than you are... Damn that missing E.

    15. #15
      strange trains of thought Achievements:
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      Jesus, the man, was a revolutionary.

      That being said, I would honestly hate to derail such a well-intended thread into pointless argument...

      So, again, this:
      Quote Originally Posted by Lucid_boy View Post
      Either way, we should try to focus on humanism, not what jesus was or wasn't...


      For once let's try to come together instead of finding pointless pigeonholes to force us apart, shall we? Isn't that the point of this thread, and ultimately of all human interaction...?
      Last edited by acatalephobic; 01-22-2010 at 08:08 AM.
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      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Car˘usoul View Post
      why don't you write a piece on him then?



      or you, acatelalelaelalalaphobic
      Atelophobic?

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    17. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      Aw man.
      No.

      But that's what I get for making up words I guess.

      And by the by, that doesn't even sound like a real thing to me.
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    18. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by A roxxor
      Jesus was a man.
      I hate to take things off topic again, but just to clarify:

      Jesus was God in human form.

      Right, so, carry on.
      John 3:16

      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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      The Thin Red Line for me personally is a very humanistic film. particularly considering it's a war movie.

      The movie basically concerns the various soldiers in a company headed for Guadalcanal, in the Pacific Theater of the second world war. This is one of the more famous Pacific battles.

      Anyway the movie charts the internal dialogues and emotional feelings and thoughts of various soldiers throughout the battle of Guadalcanal until they finally leave, and the themes it presents are not entirely satisfying, but still totally humanist.

      The movie starts with us being presented with the goings on in a small native village in the pacific, where one of the main characters [Pvt. Whitt] is staying before being shipped to Guadalcanal. Here we are shown a very primitive way of living, by these people, they live a simple communal existence, unaware of the great world war, the great evil, which consumes the rest of the globe at the time.

      The main crux of the movie is the juxtaposition of this peaceful and nature based existence, with the titanic clash and brutality of two fully developed nations going to war.

      Before landing at Guadalcanal, two of the main characters have a dialogue, and something to this effect is said:

      "There's not some other world out there where everything's gonna be okay. There's just this one, just this rock."

      This is in reference to the horror and unfathomable suffering around them in this war.

      Private Witt, having been living this Idyllic existence with the native people of the island, says

      "I seen another world. Sometimes I think it was just my imagination."

      What Private Witt means here, I interpret, is that in his experiences with the native village, he has maybe glimpsed a vision of humans living together, with no unneccessary suffering or hatred. A world in which human interaction and community is everything, and is beautiful alone. Nothing more is needed. No wealth, no war, no Gods, just people, human beings, living with each other, and experiencing the world.

      But is this world real?

      This screenshot sums up alot of the feel of the movie:

      Spoiler for quite large image:


      The contrast the movie creates, between man in a peaceful state of nature and man in an advanced war, is not as simple as all that though.

      Questions are raised; Can mankind ever be free of conflict and suffering? Although the first part of the movie charts an arguably simplistic comparison, of nature and beauty in contrast with man created horror and war, we are shown later scenes from the same village, with natives fighting, and arguing, dying.

      Is this idea of human peace and community just a fantasy, just like Private Witt's imaginings? And if it is, why does it feel so possible, feel so close, but just out of reach? Why is it so tantalising?



      The issues aren't simple, and "The Thin Red Line" doesn't try to preach a straight answer, because there isn't one.


      What we are shown, is the sense of longing and despair of the character, seeing how mankind has developed, somehow, from this primal and often beautiful simplicity, to a situation in which millions of innocent young people can be butchered efficiently, by people they don't know.

      Now, I think this movie is humanist, because it addresses the real nature of human interaction. Can human beings ever live in peace. It tempts us with moments of absolute human peace and tranquility, before snatching them away, and leaving us only with the harsh and desolate brutality of modern war. In one intense scene, in the middle of a great gunfight to take some Japanese Bunkers, the camera focuses on a small bird hatching out of it's egg in the long grass, as the war rages.

      Is Private Witt's "other world" real, or is it imagined? The movie doesn't answer this for us, it makes us ask the question, and I think that's how a movie should be. Never preachy, but always asking.


      There are many other themes to the movie, I think it's highly layered, but I've specifically picked out the particularly humanistic part of it here. If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend it.



      Relevant quotes from the movie [yes, they're a little pretentious at times]:

      "This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doin' this? Who's killin' us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've known. "



      "I remember my mother when she was dyin', looked all shrunk up and gray. I asked her if she was afraid. She just shook her head. I was afraid to touch the death I seen in her. I couldn't find nothin' beautiful or uplifting about her goin' back to God. I heard of people talk about immortality, but I ain't seen it. I wondered how it'd be like when I died, what it'd be like to know this breath now was the last one you was ever gonna draw. I just hope I can meet it the same way she did, with the same... calm. 'Cause that's where it's hidden - the immortality I hadn't seen. "



      Dead Japanese Soldier: "Are you righteous? Kind? Does your confidence lie in this? Are you loved by all? Know that I was, too. Do you imagine your suffering will be any less because you loved goodness and truth? "
      Last edited by Car˘usoul; 01-24-2010 at 02:38 PM.
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    20. #20
      Bio-Turing Machine O'nus's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Noogah View Post
      I hate to take things off topic again, but just to clarify:

      Jesus was God in human form.

      Right, so, carry on.
      Of course, you must realize that every religion has a form of humanism within it.

      Your demonstration to argue this is interesting as it would suggest that you think humans are nothing of ethical concern but that Gods ought to take primacy over every single ethical concern.

      In that case, you might as well enforce the mythical ethics of the medieval and ancient times.

      Do you not see the fallacy in what you are trying to argue?

      Humanism is within all religions for one reason alone; humans invented them. How the religions utilize them is up to them (eg. Jesus suggests ways for humans to interact with each other).

      To argue that a religion is not humanistic is to argue that the religion is inhumane.

      ~

    21. #21
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      Quote Originally Posted by Car˘usoul View Post
      The Thin Red Line
      Seems interesting, I've put it on my 'to watch' list.
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      - No sir, I'm a dreamer.

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      Ah, so this is what humanism means! Not bad, not bad. Making life better for all instead of being a selfish snob. Personal beliefs aside, this is actually a good "religion" (and I use quotation marks because I know some Humanists don't consider this to be a religion) to be followed.
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