25th April 2013

“Humanism is an atheistic philosophy which affirms the value of reason and views ethics as emerging from shared human values and experiences rather than a divine law-giver.”

Paul Taylor

6 Responses to “25th April 2013”

  1. WPJ Says:

    I would change PT’s quote after “experiences” in the fear that lovely succinct words might not be accurate. They should be “and a rational analysis in the quest for truth”. A belief in a divine law has no empirical foundation and loses this, therefore it is not justifiable and should be abandoned.

  2. Jeff Says:

    Sinjin, et al.

    Just catching up on back issues, so to speak, after an absence of a few days. Comment to Sinjin’s last of the 22nd:

    Cliff avoidance requires a bit more than just common sense, it also requires the ability to walk away from a full beer when he sits down next to you…

  3. D Says:

    In his book, The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism, A.C. Grayling presents the argument that Humanism is a minimalist philosophical outlook and not a philosophy.

    “. . .a philosophy is a fully fleshed out affair, consisting in a detailed view of the world, of humanity in it, of the relationship between human beings and the world, and of human beings with each other. All the great philosophies have a metaphysics that underwrites the ethics they urge. But humanism requires not commitment to teachings beyond its two fundamental premises, and it imposes no obligations on people other than to think for themselves.”

    He lists the two premises as, “The first premise is there are no supernatural agencies in the universe, and the second, connected, premise is that our ethics must be drawn from, and responsive to, the nature and circumstances of human experience.”

    My questions are:
    1) Does adopting and accepting the premise that there are no supernatural agencies in the universe supply the metaphysics underwriting humanism to make it more of a philosophy than a minimalist philosophical outlook?
    2) The nature and circumstances of human experience clearly show that in contrast to the first premise, some people do believe in supernatural agencies and to what extent should a humanist extend their ethics in response to this fact?

  4. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    ROFL Jeff, you are correct sir!

  5. Sinjin Smythe Says:


    As a philosophy, Modern Humanism is typically naturalistic, rejecting belief in anything supernatural and relying upon the scientific method for determining what does and does not exist. Modern Humanism is often described as Naturalistic, Ethical, Democratic, or Scientific Humanism

    Modern Christian Humanism is the attempt develop a human-centered philosophy of ethics and social action within a framework of Christian principles. Christian Humanism recognizes that Modern Humanists have many common principles, concerns, and roots, which contradicts the fundamental Christian principle that God must be at the center of one’s thoughts and attitudes. The Jefferson Bible, constructed by Thomas Jefferson, the doctrine or philosophy of Jesus would be an example of faith stripped of philosophy: Essentially Modern Christian Humanism.

    In essence a humanist is a humanist on some levels. Extend your ethics freely.

  6. D Says:


    If the first premise of humanism is, “no supernatural agents”, the first premise of christianity is the divinity of Jesus the term christian humanist is a contradiction in terms.

    To my understanding Jefferson (+ Paine and a several others) were deists. Jefferson took the divinity out of christianity with his bible, but apparently the deists still believe in at least one supernatural agent, just not as the major religions do in all of the various details. This does not seem to fit with something termed “christian humanism”, modern or otherwise. Jefferson, while he believed in a creator and admired Jesus very much as a wise man, was no christian.

    Epicureanism, which Jefferson also showed strong tendencies towards, seems to be the closest theist philosophy to modern humanism. Belief in the existence of supernatural agencies that are completely removed from human existence and interaction with them does seem to force one to a humanist form of ethics by removing any tendencies from divine command. However, this still does not fit with the non-theist requirement in defining modern humanism.