Do Atheists Live By?
Recently a theist asked me what kind of philosophy an atheist lived by. I found that question difficult to answer since we are such a diverse group of people, however I told her that a lot of atheists call themselves Secular Humanists.
Obviously, I was then asked what the hell that meant. I did a little research but I couldn't find a simple, short answer. Do you know if there is an "official" definition of secular humanism? How would you describe it?
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Johan Grahn
Subject: Re: Secular Humanism
Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 3:37 AM
Both Humanist groups have similar position statements. Check the various groups in our Web Guide. Humanism is atheism plus an additional system of ethics -- or, rather, a system of ethics that happens to reject theism but instead holds the human to be the most powerful and intellegent entity with whom we can communicate.
The thing to remember about atheism is that it's always an extremely minor element in any atheist's outlook (including mine, believe it or not). When the subject of gods comes up at all, I happen not to have given assent to any of the god claims. Apart from that, I live my life like any human.
Since theists are making the claims, they are the ones who need to back those claims up -- including the claim that theism has something to contribute either to an individual believer's sense of morality or to a society's overall health. It is inappropriate to take to task someone who does not assent to god claims, considering that the atheist is not the one who has a position to defend.
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