The views of humanists have been regularly misrepresented and demonized by many over the years (especially within the Christian community). The false claims against humanism and humanists are many and varied. Here are a few examples:
“Humanism is the most fraudulently displayed and dangerous religion in America today. And it is a religion. Please don’t be deceived into believing that humanism is just a philosophy.” – Wilson Adams of Truth Magazine.
Let’s get one thing straight – secular humanism is not a religion. It’s true that the term humanism has many meanings and that humanism comes in a variety of flavors. For this discussion we are talking about secular humanists and religious humanists. Many (I’d say most) atheists are secular humanists (whether they know it or not). These two groups have more in common than you might think.
“Secular and Religious Humanists both share the same worldview and the same basic principles. This is made evident by the fact that both Secular and Religious Humanists were among the signers of Humanist Manifesto I in 1933, Humanist Manifesto II in 1973, and Humanist Manifesto III in 2003. From the standpoint of philosophy alone, there is no difference between the two. It is only in the definition of religion and in the practice of the philosophy that Religious and Secular Humanists effectively disagree.”
Then, there’s Newt Gingrich’s claim that atheists and secularists (aks humanists) are a threat to America.
SAN ANTONIO — Newt Gingrich stood before thousands of evangelical churchgoers Sunday night to deliver a dire warning that nation’s Christian roots are under attack.
“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”
Clearly, Newt thinks secular humanism is a threat to America. But I don’t think he knows anything humanism. He’s not alone in that ignorance. I would guess that most Americans don’t really know much at all about humanism. The ironic thing is that I believe most people are themselves living their lives in accordance with the ideals of humanism. We should encourage our friends to read more about humanism and learn what it actually is. We should ask opponents of humanism to explain what they think it actually is. Then, instead of arguing from a position of ignorance, Newt and his ilk (those currently opposed to humanism) might find that they actually agree with the ideals of humanism. That would be special… A teachable moment indeed.
Do you want to learn more about humanism?
Here’s a bit from the Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933. It’s a great place to start.
“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance…”
“Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? They’re the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. ”
PBS had a great NOVA episode this week on the elements. Check it out!
Written by Apollo2020
I recently visited the Creation Museum just west of Cincinnati, OH. The “museum” was founded by the Australian born young-earth creationist Ken Ham and its stated purpose is to “exalt Jesus Christ as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,” to “equip Christians to better evangelize the lost,” and to “challenge visitors to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord”. The museum is neither scientific nor truly Christian and their message was utterly lost on me. It is however a popular destination, and I was struck particularly by the number of families I saw there with young children.
Should you choose to visit the museum you will be greeted by two armed guards who keep watch outside the building’s main entrance. Once inside, a receptionist offers informational pamphlets and directs visitors to the ticket counter. After purchasing tickets, a photograph “with the dinosaurs” is obligatory, as the museum receives a donation from their sponsoring photo effects company for every picture taken, whether the patron buys a copy or not. Then you’re into the museum lobby and ready to experience a jaw-dropping display of willful ignorance and emotional coercion. It is a desperately oppressive place.
That’s right folks, humans and dinosaurs lived together. Oh, all creatures, including dinosaurs, were vegetarian. That is, until Adam ate the “forbidden fruit” which turned them into carnivores…. no really.
Just below the “clues” was a fossilized dinosaur bone presented with the question of how old it might be. Sherlock Holmes would surely have been proud of your deductive reasoning if you arrived at an age of less than 6,000 years.
In short, this poster suggested that human reasoning is completely invalid outside the context of the bible. What can I say? I think therefore I sin.
Ah, the 7 C’s of a creationist world view. Really they only need one “C” word to sum up their position: “Conform!”.
Here’s one aimed directly at the kids, as if schools are part of a vast conspiracy to hide the obvious truth of fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Please.
If you’re considering questioning the tenets of your Christian faith, think again. If you do, you will DIE! (click the picture to enlarge) And so might a whole world full of people that are also shaky in their beliefs. Oh wait, you’re going to die anyway, just like every other living thing that has ever existed. False alarm.
This is a photo of the wall in what I like to call the “ghetto of sin”. Essentially, a portion of the “museum” was made to look like a poor urban area, and the walls were plastered with articles and news clippings that the curators (I know, an insult to real curators) thought represented evil in the world.
More of the same.
Adam feeds what looks like a mountain lion. I suspect he is enjoying a tasty tofu snack or perhaps some trail mix. I wonder what vegetarian mountain lions used their claws for.
Again, dinosaurs lived among humans and all the other animals. This one seems to be having a bit of trouble with his pineapple. It’s a shame God didn’t throw in a blender. I bet that would make an awesome smoothie.
One of Noah’s detractors gettin’ trashed on the Ark. Don’t worry, he was later drowned in the great flood. What? He had it coming. You can’t talk bad about God and expect to live.
If you click the image to enlarge, you should be able to read the Ark’s dimensions. Before you start thinking that all the World’s animals couldn’t possibly fit on this vessel, realize that they didn’t have to. That’s right, according to the “museum”, only pairs of the different “kinds” of animals had to board the Ark. So, a single male and female pair of equine animals had all the horses, donkeys, zebras, etc…covered. Pretty clever. I’m still curious about the fish though. Did all the saltwater fish die, or was it the freshwater fish that didn’t make it when the earth was covered by a global ocean for 40 days?
As you can see, the dinosaurs are eager to board the Ark along with all the other worthy creatures. I have to give these folks some credit for being consistent in their delusions.
If you look very closely at the top-right portion of the larger rock you can see one man strangling another. “I told you we should have built an Ark!”… he seems to say.
And, of course, no self-respecting creation museum would be complete without taking a swipe at Darwin. The short version of the creationist position: variation is possible, evolution is not; we didn’t come from monkeys.
More evolution misinformation.
And still more.
This is tiresome.
This was perhaps my favorite (that is, most laughable) part of the experience. The following pictures will tell the tale.
I didn’t know there was something missing. What could it be?
Tags! How could scientists be so stupid? All this time they’ve been looking for evidence when they should have been looking for tags. Somebody should tell the National Science Foundation about this.
I dare not guess.
What a relief! That tag fiasco had me scared.
They were made in clouds and storks dropped them in the Garden of Eden.
Personally, I think my story is more plausible.
Sorry about the glare. It says, “Why is the word dinosaur not found in the bible?” I once heard Ken Ham ask this of an audience. He answered his own question with “Have you ever seen ‘Jet Airplane’ in the bible?”
Aside from not yet being a term, jet airplanes also didn’t exist when the bible was written, just like dinosaurs.
Flintstones? Dino? I think so.
And I’m right!
A video presentation in the “museum” proposed that dragons were actually the last remnants of the great dinosaurs. I can just hear Sean Connery giving voice to this brainy beast’s inner monologue.
And finally we come to the one bit of truth in this place, the gift shop. Here patrons are exploited for the financial benefit of Ken Ham and his organization, Answers in Genesis. Some are driven by fear, others by a desire to satisfy the will of God. They all put their money in the pockets of a man that is shameless in his quest to spread falsehoods and downright proud of his emotional exploitation of others. For a striking example, take a look at the picture and video below.
The words “THE WORLD’S NOT SAFE ANYMORE” were carved into a door that an Abrams tank would have trouble breeching at the entrance to a particularly disturbing section of the “museum”.
I apologize for the initial blurriness of the video. My cell phone doesn’t have the best camera. This section of the “museum” was meant to demonstrate what happens in the world when people fail to believe in the literal truth of the bible. You can hear machine gun fire and screaming in the background. Many children pass through here every day.
I hope that my light-hearted and generally flippant presentation of The Creation Museum will not be offensive to those who believe, or have previously believed, that The Earth was created in literal accordance with The Bible. It is the right of any free person to believe what they wish. However, the presentation of religious dogma as scientific fact is wrong (almost as wrong as the exhorbitant $25 entrance fee), and the commercialization of such a position with a specific aim toward indoctrinating children is doubly wrong. The Creation Museum is a ludicrous place and I have presented it accordingly.
As a final note, I was very hesitant to visit The Creation Museum since it necessarily required me to put money in the hands of people with whom I fervently disagree. Hopefully, my documentation of the experience will satisfy the curiosity of others and convince them that the experience sheds light only on the ignorance, dishonesty, or both of its creators.