The humanist religion worship humanity. It expects humanity to play the part that God played in Christianity and Islam, and that the laws of nature played in Buddhism and Daoism.
The well known religions has some great cosmic plan that gave meaning to the life of humans. Humanism reverses the roles and expects the experiences of humans to give meaning to the cosmos.
According to humanism, humans must draw from within their inner experiences not only the meaning of their own lives, but also the meaning of the entire universe.
The primary commandment of humanism is: create meaning for a meaningless world.
Now you may ask, how did this all started. To grasp the depth and implications
of humanist revolution, consider how modern European culture differs from medieval European culture.
In 1300, people in London, Paris and Dublin did not believe that humans could determine by themselves what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong.
Only God could create and define goodness and righteousness.
Although it was widely accepted that humans enjoy unique abilities and opportunities, they were also seen as ignorant and corruptible beings.
Without external supervision and guidance, humans could never understand the eternal truth and instead would be drawn to fleeting sensual pleasures and worldly delusions.
Medieval thinkers pointed out that humans are mortal and their opinions and feelings are as fickle as the wind,
Today I love something with all my heart, tomorrow I am disgusted by it, and next week I am dead and buried.
Absolute truths and meaning of life must therefore come from a superhuman source.
This view made God the supreme source of meaning and authority. This is integral as whoever determines the meaning of our actions – good, bad, evil, wrong – also gains the authority to tell us what to think and how to behave.
God’s role therefore affected every facet of daily life. Suppose in 1300, in a small English town, a married woman took a fancy to the next-door neighbour and had sex with him. As she sneaked back home, hiding a smile and straightening her dress, her mind began to race: ‘What was that all about? Was that bad or good morally? what does it imply about me? Should i do it again’.
In order to answer these questions, the woman was supposed to go to the priest ans ask the holy father for guidance.
The priest was well versed in scriptures and these sacred texts revealed to him what exactly God thought about adultery. Based on the eternal word of God, the priest could suggest avoid eating meat for the next seven days, make a pilgrimage to the Holy mother of God. And it goes without saying that she must never repeat this dreadful sin.
Today things are different. For centuries, humanism has been convincing us that we are the ultimate source of meaning, and that our free will is the highest authority of all.
From infancy, we’ve been bombarded with a barrage of humanist slogans counselling us: ‘Listen to yourself, follow your heart, do what feels good’.
Accordingly, when a modern woman wants to understand the meaning of a fling or an affair, she’s less prone to blindly accept the judgements of a priest or an ancient book.
This partly explains the changing fortunes of the institution of marriage. In the middle ages marriage was considered a sacrament ordained by God. An extramarital affair was consequently a brazen rebellion against both divine and parental authority.
Today, people marry for love, and it is their personal feelings that give value to this bond. Hence, if the same very feelings that once drove you into the arms of one man now drive you into the arms of another, what is wrong with that? your new lover might provide an outlet for the emotional and sexual desires that are not satisfied by your spouse of twenty years. Why not enjoy it?
But wait a minute, you might say. We cannot ignore the feelings of the other concerned parties. The woman and her lover might feel wonderful in each other’s arms but if their respective spouses find out, everybody will probably feel awful for quite some time. And it leads to divorce, their children might carry the emotional scars for decades. Even if the affair was never discovered, concealing it could involve a lot of tensions, resentment and growing feelings of alienation.
The most interesting discussions in humanist ethics concern situations like extramarital affairs, when human feelings collide.
What happens when the same action causes one person to feel good and another to feel bad? How do we weigh these feelings against each other?.
Modern people have differing ideas about this but no matter what their stance, they tend to justify it in the mane of human feelings rather than in the name of some holy scriptures and divine commandments.
Humnism has taught us that that something can be bad if it cause somebody to feel bad. Murder is wrong not because some god once said, ‘Thou shall not kill’. Rather, murder is wrong because it causes terrible suffering to the victim, to his family members and to his friends…..(to be continued)