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HUMANISM IS NOT A DIRTY WORD
Wayne Everett Orgar
A few years ago, I added to my library a booklet entitled, "What-They-Believe. Secular Humanism." It was published by Back To The Bible in 1990. Those of us who grew up in a fundamentalist environment will recognize this organization as one of the early premier radio evangelistic enterprises. Needless to say, the booklet attempts to show that secular humanists are evil and doomed to hell. Of course, this is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.
Allow me to quote some passages from this booklet. "The atheistic view of secular humanism is fast becoming-if it has not already become-the unofficial state religion of the United States, for it is taught in the public schools from kindergarten through the graduate level." The booklet's conclusion is, "Worldviews in North America have shifted from theism to atheism-and even to pantheism of the New Age Movement. Freedom of speech for the believers of biblical Christianity is being lost."
When I look around our country, I see thousands of churches, religious organizations, religious magazines in public libraries, religious TV and radio stations, and many religious educational institutions. Churches get free fire and police protection because they pay no taxes on property. In what part of the country are they noticing this lack of freedom of speech? Who is claiming to be a victim now?
Given the scientific illiteracy of many Americans today, I doubt that secular humanism is controlling our public schools. For one thing, every child would know by age eighteen that the earth is 4.5 billion years old, not 10,000 years old. This fact has been demonstrated independently in laboratories around the world for at least the past three decades. The facts of evolution would be as commonly known in America as they are around the rest of the educated world. Our country is the laughing stock of Europeans when it comes to evolutionary facts being taught in school.
For the past twenty years or so, I have heard humanism blamed for all the evils on our planet by individuals such as Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson. They have imagined a conspiracy by secular humanists to take over the country. They think our government is comprised of mostly secular humanists. Don't I wish it were so! If secular humanists had taken over the government, the first thing to go would have been the National Prayer Breakfast. Secondly, the chaplains in Congress would have had their salaries reduced to $0.00. Let those highly verbal legislators pray for themselves on their own time.
Admittedly, there is a great deal of confusion about what humanism is. I have even heard atheists misrepresent the philosophy. It is probably not a good idea to turn to a fundamentalist booklet to learn about secular humanism. I suggest reading The Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles and Values. These twenty-one statements give you the basics of secular humanism in clear language. You will learn that secular humanism is based on moral principles, a concern for other humans, the scientific method, and the lack of evidence for anything supernatural whether you call it god, spirit, or energy.
In closing, let me quote the 20th principle. "We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality."
Oh, and by the way, atheism isn't a dirty word either.