Register to answer and stay on top of the questions and answers. Sign up to receive the daily digest!
Keep Me Updated!

one moment please...


Welcome to AskAHumanist.com! Anyone can ask questions, but please only answer questions if you are a humanist. For an introduction to Humanism, visit http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism. This is a service provided by the American Humanist Association.

Enroll in the Online Course Positive Humanism: A Quick Guide to Living the Good, Secular Life

Q&A Home Contact Form



Send me a copy of this message
Send Message sending message...

Q&A Home Question

0

votes

image loading...
Peter Bjork

Seasoned Vet

image loading...

Peter Bjork


Seasoned Vet

About Peter Bjork

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
attitudes
empathy
history
morality
positivity
Mon, Oct 06, 2014 - 03:33 PM

How can you be humanists when human history proves that our species is capable of monstrous acts?



11 Answers

1

votes
Answer Accepted!

image loading...
Peter Bjork

Seasoned Vet

Print Mon, Oct 06, 2014 - 03:33 PM
We emphasize human potential because we want to encourage an empathetic frame of mind that brings out the best in people. We want positive attitudes to sustain people so they won’t be intimidated by the fact that the universe wasn’t designed for their happiness.

3

votes

image loading...
Kimberly Czar

Seasoned Vet

image loading...

Kimberly Czar


Seasoned Vet

About Kimberly Czar

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Mon, Jan 12, 2015 - 01:22 PM
I don't wish to be divisive, but feel it prudent to point out than many of the "monstrous acts" in human history were fueled by religion and religious differences, and still are. We are more peaceful and altruistic when we have to take responsibility for our own actions and lives and do not put god ahead of humanity. This is a great article on this very subject.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/06/peace-on-earth-atheism


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

2

votes

image loading...
Bill Haines
Garden State Attitude in the Old Dominion

Seasoned Vet

image loading...

Bill Haines

Garden State Attitude in the Old Dominion

Seasoned Vet

About Bill Haines

"Love well, seek the good in all things, harm no others, think for yourself, take responsibility, respect nature, do your utmost, be informed, be kind, be courageous: at least, sincerely try."
-- A. C. Grayling
Print Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - 02:43 PM
Because human history proves that our species is capable of wondrous acts as well. :)


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

1

votes

image loading...
Jenea Hayes

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Jenea Hayes


Eager Newbie

About Jenea Hayes

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Mon, Mar 09, 2015 - 07:38 PM
I'd like to recommend Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined which lays out a clear case for progress across human history. It shows that our cultures and attitudes can evolve to be more just and more peaceful. It's extraordinary that we can live so densely packed together with as much harmony as we do, really.

That said, I think it behooves us to remember that we all remain capable of these monstrous acts under the right circumstances, and it is incumbent upon us to watch out for those circumstances and either improve or avoid them. We can't become complacent lest history repeats itself!


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

1

votes

image loading...
Ben Rippingale

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Ben Rippingale


Eager Newbie

About Ben Rippingale

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - 08:44 PM
Humanism doesn't claim people are innately good or just.

It recognises we are equally capable of both good and bad decisions & actions, and we need safeguards in place to promote good judgement & actions while minimising bad judgement & actions along with the damage they cause.

Humanism is based on the principles that individually and collectively:

Human life is valuable;

We have control over, and responsibility for, our actions;

Critical thinking and evidence based analysis provides the answers that will allow us to progress most effectively.


It follows from these that a cooperative, inclusive approach to society is the most beneficial for humanity. Right and Wrong are determined by the relationship between any potential happiness and/or suffering resulting from our actions.

Human generated atrocities are examples where an individual or group were prepared to pursue actions to further their own benefit, regardless of the suffering of those they impacted. We collectively attempt to avoid such situations by limiting the power held by any one individual or group; promoting leadership ideals of selflessness and concern for all under their power; and employing punishments for those whose actions demonstrate disregard for the suffering of others.

This contrasts with a religious perspective that there exists a divine being who is the arbiter of what is right and wrong, and if you do what they say then that being won't punish you. Atrocities are the consequence of non-compliance by you, or those around you. You cant hope to avoid it because your suffering will be part of his plan that no-one can understand. However, you will be rewarded for your compliance after you are dead and the ones that committed the atrocities will be punished after they are dead (unless they ask that being to forgive them for the atrocity before they die, in which case they'll be rewarded the same as you - and that is considered fair because His plan is unknowable).


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

1

votes

image loading...
Mark Brewster

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Mark Brewster


Eager Newbie

About Mark Brewster

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - 07:20 PM
How can you NOT be humanist when human history ALSO shows the potential, both achieved and dreamed of, for great advancement? To give up on humanity because of some 'bad stuff' (no matter HOW horrid) is COWARDLY at BEST. Because we are not perfect beings, are we just abject failures? OF COURSE NOT. Because we show goodness (and sometimes even GREATNESS), do we have the potential to advance? OF COURSE!

Do you mow down roses (or cacti, for that matter) because they have thorns?


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Oscar Szántó

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Oscar Szántó


Eager Newbie

About Oscar Szántó

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 05:25 PM
Being a humanist means wishing for the well-being of all humans, meaning we've learned from our mistakes and recognize monstrous acts when we see them. I think humanists have become fed up with the monstrosities and wish to act to construct a better world because of what we, as a species, have done in the past.


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Sandi Morris

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Sandi Morris


Eager Newbie

About Sandi Morris

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Tue, Mar 10, 2015 - 08:24 AM
As a humanist, I have no expectation that humans are perfect or that "if only everyone was a humanist there would be a perfect world." My world view is that humans must take responsibility for their actions and that humans can make a better world by taking ethical action. The fact that some humans are monsters is a perversion, exactly as horrific acts done in the name of religions are perversions.

0

votes

image loading...
Mini Carlsson

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Mini Carlsson


Eager Newbie

About Mini Carlsson

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - 12:24 AM
Humanism is a response to these atrocities.


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Ronnie Kramer

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Ronnie Kramer


Eager Newbie

About Ronnie Kramer

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - 08:32 PM
Humanism is the only credible response to the atrocities committed by humans. Humanism is the only response of unity in the face of the divisiveness of religion, politics, and economic class, which are the reasons precipitating historical atrocities.


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

0

votes

image loading...
Penny Sue Dove

Eager Newbie

image loading...

Penny Sue Dove


Eager Newbie

About Penny Sue Dove

Sorry, this user has not created a bio yet.
Print Thu, Apr 09, 2015 - 07:55 AM
In the beginning life was all about survival. Ever since the first vertebra crawled out of the primordial ooze to the neanderthal taking living in a tribe of other neanderthal's and their future offspring's have had to take steps to survive and those steps have not always been good ones.We are always evolving and learning but evolution is a long and slow process. We still have a long way to go to become a mature species. .
Thank goodness that more and more people are being educated in not just the basics such as reading, writhing and arithmetic but also how to treat others in a respectful way. If we continue to teach our children about and instill ethic's while they are young, I think we may have a chance to make the world a better place today and not wait until we die to get to this heaven so many seem to be obsessed about. I know this probably won't happen in my lifetime but I see a world were there are no wars and we will learn to get along no matter what we look like or were we came from, so when a new baby is born they will live a long and happy life in a world full of wonderful things. Imagine!


Quick Comment On This Answer (no login required):
Your comment below will be anonymously sent to the answer owner, it will not be posted, and you will not get a response.

Send Comment sending comment...

Registered User Comments



About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Contact
 Website Design and Software Copyright 2017, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.