Religious versus Intellectual Humility

I got an email the other day from someone trying to convert me to Christianity. Very nice email unlike some I get. But one thing about it bothered me. She was talking about how humble she is before god and then goes on to be annoyingly arrogant. It might just be me, but it seems extraordinarily condescending to claim to know god’s will to the point you feel justified in labeling your fellow co-religionists as unworthy. Clearly being humble before god does not necessarily make someone a humble person.

Anyway, to my point. When Humanists talk about the importance of humility, we are talking about intellectual humility. And on behalf of the entire Freethought movement I am going to issue a collective “our bad” for not making this point clear earlier. Being intellectually humble means that regardless of how sure you are that you are right, you are open to being proved wrong. And this is important because religious certitude in addition to being really annoying can also be quite dangerous. The only known antidote for religious certitude is intellectual humility

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