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  1. #1

    Default Humanism the basis for the world's religions and philosophy

    What do you think of the statement in the title of this thread? Do you think it has any validity?

    I read about how Eric Fromm was supposed to have suggested that this was so in a recent book about him, it was something which seemed like an overstatement of Fromm's own view at the time but when I think about it it was the view of Feuerbach in his anthropologic analysis of Christianity and religion and his view impressed Marx, Engels and Freud, so its possible.

    I dont think that it is the basis but I do recognise that it is an important part of a lot of religion and philosophy, I also think its marked or notable the religions or philosophies of which it is not a part of is a much diminished part.

  2. #2
    Sniffles
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    Actually I would reverse the order: Humanism is a reflection of religious and philosophical insight.

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    Senior Member captain curmudgeon's Avatar
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    While humanism may have been an element of these, incorporated to varying degrees, I think that the claim that humanism is the basis for religions simply is not the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Actually I would reverse the order: Humanism is a reflection of religious and philosophical insight.
    Me too bud

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    Senior Member Sanctus Iacobus's Avatar
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    Humanism would be the opposite of spiritual belief in God, would it not? You probably think this is too simple, but bear with me.

    The only exception to this is Christianity, in the sense that humans are made in God's likeness, however faith must be placed in one human, Jesus Christ, and not humanity as a whole. In fact, according to Christianity, the religion of humanism was what formed with the fall of mankind... that is, we no longer put faith in God, but in ourselves.
    Good intentions are not enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanctus Iacobus View Post
    Humanism would be the opposite of spiritual belief in God, would it not? You probably think this is too simple, but bear with me.

    The only exception to this is Christianity, in the sense that humans are made in God's likeness, however faith must be placed in one human, Jesus Christ, and not humanity as a whole. In fact, according to Christianity, the religion of humanism was what formed with the fall of mankind... that is, we no longer put faith in God, but in ourselves.
    That's correct. Well said.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanctus Iacobus View Post
    Humanism would be the opposite of spiritual belief in God, would it not? You probably think this is too simple, but bear with me.

    The only exception to this is Christianity, in the sense that humans are made in God's likeness, however faith must be placed in one human, Jesus Christ, and not humanity as a whole. In fact, according to Christianity, the religion of humanism was what formed with the fall of mankind... that is, we no longer put faith in God, but in ourselves.
    The humanistic dimension in Christianity is a continuity from Judahism, only Jesus revealed that the radical reciprocity between God and man was not restricted to a single choosen race, the Jews, but opened up to everyone.

    I think that the doctrines of original sin and "the fall" are more popular with the opponents of Christianity than they have been historically with Christians, with the possible exception of some of the more radically neurotic sects, none of the Irish monastic or scholarly traditions could have spread the word that sins could be forgiven if it wherent the case or even come up with classifications, original, mortal, veneal etc.

    It isnt an insignificant thing, certainly it lead to a lot of confusion and was a major part in the protestant schism and wars that followed in that stead, although I tend to think that books such as Confessions of a Justified Sinner or even Erasmus' discourse with Luther on Free Will provide useful examples that it didnt dominate the minds of all Christians and leave them in a position of either self-loathing or superiority complexes.

    The question in one sense comes down to whether God made man or man made God, its very easy to believe presently that man made God, although I think we all have the legacy of the thinking set in train by Descartes, itself a response to studies of refraction, ie that your very eyes could fool you and appearences are not what they seem. Essentially in this model everything starts with the mind and stretches out from there. Although when you think about it that is patently not the case. There are objective natural laws outside of and besides their perception by or rationalisation by the human mind.

    The humanism of religions, theist or deist ones anyway, might consider man great etiher because of the reciprocity with God, including either God's communication with the prophets or God's incarnation as a man, Jesus, or because mankind is a pale reflection of angels, the heavenly host or avatars.

    A strictly atheist humanism would see that as an impoverishment of man, instead suggesting that whatever is great within theist or deist systems, what is venerated, is infact man's best qualities alienated or seperated from himself and attributed elsewhere.

    I think there are also third positions between the two which remain humanistic, that God or the Cosmos is not in any sort of reciprocity with mankind, although mankind has a special role to play because he is conscious and his very existence is a dilemma for mankind.

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    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanctus Iacobus View Post
    Humanism would be the opposite of spiritual belief in God, would it not? You probably think this is too simple, but bear with me.

    The only exception to this is Christianity, in the sense that humans are made in God's likeness, however faith must be placed in one human, Jesus Christ, and not humanity as a whole. In fact, according to Christianity, the religion of humanism was what formed with the fall of mankind... that is, we no longer put faith in God, but in ourselves.
    There's a difference between Theocentric Humanism and secular humanism.

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    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I think a lot of early religions were more about umm.. primal subjects rather than philosophical per se. Some gods revolved around having a succesful harvest. "Screw the philosophy. We just want to eat." Gods and goddesses of the hunt, of fertility, of harvest, of war. If there's a basis for religion, it's more about survival. And before that, subjects that tapped into our most basic fears on survival.. like death. Not death as an idea, but death as a daily reality.. loosing people close to you. There's evidence of primitive humans burying their fellows, which must have had some ritual/religious basis.. but was it philosophical? Maybe one guy in that whole group could be called philosophical - the shaman or druid.. the medicine man.. probably a crazy guy who sampled all of the herbs and told a lot of funny stories... that, in turn, became a basis for their religion.

    I'll try not to indulge in my imagination here. I have no proof if that's what he did or not. I think philosophy is relatively recent though (err.. by recent, I mean, the past 3 or 4 thousand years).

    Anyways, I don't know if any of it can be called humanism. Unless you just want to say humanism is the totality of the human experience. Some early religions were probably dealing with very basic needs. I doubt very many had a fleshed out concept about the goals or destiny of all humanity though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    What do you think of the statement in the title of this thread? Do you think it has any validity?

    I read about how Eric Fromm was supposed to have suggested that this was so in a recent book about him, it was something which seemed like an overstatement of Fromm's own view at the time but when I think about it it was the view of Feuerbach in his anthropologic analysis of Christianity and religion and his view impressed Marx, Engels and Freud, so its possible.

    I dont think that it is the basis but I do recognise that it is an important part of a lot of religion and philosophy, I also think its marked or notable the religions or philosophies of which it is not a part of is a much diminished part.
    The first humanist was Erasmus, a christian priest.

    Yes, Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (1466 – 1536), known as Erasmus of Rotterdam, was a Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, and a theologian.

    Erasmus was a classical scholar who wrote in a pure Latin style and enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists." He has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian humanists."

    Today a world class university bears his name, and across Europe students compete to enter the Erasmus Programme, (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students), a.k.a. the Erasmus Project .

    In his day Erasmus was immensely popular across Europe, where he wrote and lectured extensively. His status could be compared to a celebrity or a rock star of today.

    And what is most interestaing is that his church, the Roman Catholic Church, never censored any of his writing or lecturing. And so it is plain the Roman Catholic Church sees itself as part of the great humanist tradition.

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