AC Grayling, the author of the Humanist Bible has a new book out. This time he takes on religious belief and then explains why Humanism provides a better alternative. It looks like an interesting book. see link here
This post, though, isn’t about AC Graylings book. It is about a comment made in a review of the book by someone I assume to be a fellow Humanist/atheist. http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/02/reviewed-god-argument-case-against-religion-and-humanism-c-grayling
My favorite quote is that that he thinks AC’s discussion on Humanism “feels almost tract-like in its evocation of shiny, happy people having fun in a humanist paradise.” This idea of shiny happy people having fun in a Humanist paradise tickles me and it points to a central problem we have in describing Humanism to people.
It seems so pie in the sky.
We are all good people, we can all just get along if we just put our mind to it. It is ultimately a very optimistic philosophy and so full of compassion and do goody-ness that, yeah – telling people about it makes it seem like we are utopian nuts trying to create a humanist paradise. Except that we aren’t.
We are incredibly practical people and highly effective. When we set our mind to a task, we generally get it done. Because the other side of the Humanist philosophy is personal responsibility and critical thinking and hard work and the embracing of reality. We know that our ideal is unrealistic and isn’t going to happen. We are committed to working toward that ideal anyway, knowing that we ourselves are going to fall short. We think it is worth it to move society and people along just a little bit further towards a more compassionate and just society.
Why? Because the alternative is to give in to despair and to live our lives in such a way that we have nothing to be proud of and to allow the status quo, which isn’t all that great, to continue.
And you know what, our approach, for all it’s crazy idealism is working. We have reason to be optimistic. In the past 100 years, movement Humanists have created a tremendous amount of social change towards equality and justice and respect and dignity and ecological conservation and sexual freedom and medical care, mental health care and more.
We may not be shiny happy people living in a Humanist paradise yet, but we are making progress and that is more than can be said for people who don’t think anything can be done and so don’t try.