Secular Humanism

The truth is that you were born an atheist. All babies are born with no belief in the supernatural. Social forces made you Christian or Muslim or whatever else you may think you are. Experiencing a great injustice, most people had no choice in the irrational beliefs that occupy the deepest regions of their minds. Somebody made that choice for them. And that somebody likely had no choice, either. Believing they were doing the right and necessary thing, they forced their children to be religious, too. Generations reflexively denying children their right to grow up free of the necessity of irrational and self-limiting idea.

The need for religion that some have supposed exists innately as a product of our natural history is not really a need for religion. It is a universally felt need for community and love. Alienating social conditions and an inadequate understanding of the truth of the world confuses people about the source of their anguish. Human beings are social animals and as such require loving social relations to thrive – social relations necessarily rooted in equality and fairness. Religion is not only unnecessary for acquiring these things, it has proven to be a barrier to building a world community in which these conditions obtain.

There is a better way, a universally meaningful and rational moral system based on objectively given human rights. To be sure, secular humanism may mean giving up the hateful belief system put into you by those who socialized you or that you adopted to fill the emptiness you feel mired in the alienating social conditions of an unjust world. At the very least, it requires you to divorce your belief in the supernatural from your social actions and your judgments about morality. But this is a desirable end; the prejudices of religion carry so much of the hatred that has poisoned the world.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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