Humanists can find moral learning everywhere. And yes, that does include the Bible. My attention was drawn to 2 Corinthians 13 today. Don’t ask why. Keep in mind that I am an atheist in addition to being a Humanist, so when I read things about prayer and god etc I tend to translate them or skip past those bits and look for the gist behind it all. I also haven’t actually read all of Corinthians so I don’t know the context of this section. But just having read the short section of 2 Corinthians 13 there are some really nice bits. Specifically verse 7: “But we pray to God that you may not do evil, not that we may appear to have passed the test but that you may do what is right, even though we may seem to have failed.” The point is to not do evil. Not so that we look good, but because not doing evil is the right thing to do. As a Humanist I can agree with that even though I don’t agree with most Christians about the nature of evil. I think Kurt Vonnegut once said that being a Humanist means doing good without expectation of reward or punishment after you die. Same basic sentiment when you think about it.
Verse 11 is also good. “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” I like this not because it enjoins us to come together to pray – but it calls on us to come together to live in peace and to encourage one other to be good people. Again, this is something as a Humanist I totally agree with. That is my vision of how I would prefer the world work. And it is one of the reasons why I write this column and my podcast. I think we all need ongoing encouragement to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment in service to the greater good of humanity.
Humanist moral lesson of the day: Do not do evil.