Secular Humanism: The Best Post-Christian Alternative                       

Brian Worley                                

I commend those of you that were perceptive enough to realize that supernatural beliefs were not the reality. You discovered that those beliefs were often detrimental, both personally and to mankind as well. Welcome to the brave new world of post-Christian alternatives!  In the Christian worldview many things were determined for you. Briefly, here are three main points that were predetermined for you as a Christian:

1)   Your future (heaven)

2)   Your lifestyle (living /acting like Christ would)

3)   Your authority and otherwise the rules of life (the Bible)

Leaving Christianity isn't for the faint of heart; the Christian's security (although false) provided a comforting life of faith when shielded from free inquiry. In essence, you realized that the sheriff was corrupt and that a higher manifestation of ethics didn't need to wear an ecclesiastical robe. You took those noble inner character traits that define you as a person and ceased to inflate or promote the God of the Bible and "his" enormous ego. Some folks may not be able to understand the new you, but I do, and so do others that have preceded you in your journey from faith!

The Materialistic & Hedonistic Alternatives  

What now? You don't have to do anything after your leave the faith. You can do what many Christian's had suspected were behind your ulterior motives for leaving Christianity and go on to live a self centered, hedonistic or materialistic way of life. That is, if you want to! Great thing about this is that there is going to be no post-life encounter with the "God of the Bible" that you abandoned. No "judgment seat of Christ" or no "casting of your being into the Lake of Fire".  Whatever you do from the moment you leave Christianity is going to be your choice. The things that you do will now will be a reflection of the real you ("from your heart").  Your motivation isn't going to be credited to either Jesus or Lucifer by thinking people.  

It may take you some time to reflect upon what is the "real you" as opposed to the "Christian identity" that you adopted when you accepted Christianity. In my case, I took some time to reflect what aspects were truly mine, and separated them from the subtle but pervasive remnants taken from Christianity. I would urge you to commit these to paper (your principles) to help organize your own thought processes. Furthermore, you might discover that some of those old Christian beliefs might still unnecessarily cling to your decision making process as things become clearer to you when you get further away from Christianity!  

Not everyone who leaves the faith is a humanist. If you want to live a materialistic or hedonistic life this is your choice. You will get no post-Christian "Christian" judgment from me. One difference between the materialist or hedonist and the humanist is taking responsibility for the consequences of our actions. The materialists might make their gains on the back of others without any consideration of the interests of others. While the hedonist's lifestyle of pleasure can create problems that they might evade responsibility for. Both the hedonist and the materialist can take or pillage and "dust their hands" as if to say this doesn't concern themselves, a humanist is different. A humanist takes responsibility for their actions and is genuinely concerned about others. This is quite a contrast from the materialist or hedonist.  

The Atheist Alternative  

Another common post-Christian alternative is atheism. Some might not go as far as atheism but would rather say that they are unsure of things or that they are content to be an agnostic. Agnosticism and atheism are neutral towards ethical systems, for they only address one's position on supernatural deities. Atheism & agnosticism are not lifestyle choices, but merely replies to supernatural enquiries. I had learned this lesson well within the last year while discussing the best ways to reach Christian believers with other atheists.  

My approach to reaching others still in Christianity, in short, is to use reason and talk with them as you would a friend. But I was taken to the 'woodshed" by an atheist post-Christian blogger whom I will call "Boom" for my seeking to treat Christians with common courtesy. Read the unedited quote for yourself:

(Boom's quote)

        Frankly, I just left the "one-size-fits-all" mentality, so whenever non-believers, former ministers, agnostics, "soft" Atheists, or what-have-you, come along and tell me how to handle believers, they are implicitly, if not explicitly, reminding me of one of the things that I despise about Christianity.... i.e.. Telling other people how to act, and using their worldview as the "authority".

        For those who can't seem to remember, "Atheism" means one thing---I don't have a belief in "God"/gods. The end. Aside from that, people are people are people.

       Yes, some non-believers come out swinging and make it a point to get personal, that is, before giving the benefit of the doubt. Well, in a couple of words....tough shit. Again, "Atheism" is lack of belief in deities---it doesn't now, and it never will, claim to be a "trend-setter" for outstanding diplomacy skills. In other words, human behavior has zero relevance to whether "Gods" exist, or not. 

I hate to admit this, but "Boom" was correct with most everything that he stated here. An atheist can say what "Boom" stated herein, but a humanist couldn't. It wasn't too long after this that I knew that atheism just wasn't for me! Now let me say that most atheists are fine moral and ethical examples and treat others with respect, just as a humanist would. But the fact remains that atheism lacks an ethical code or stated more clearly that it is neutral towards ethics. Atheism's worldview lacks belief in God and doesn't address ethical issues. This is why you can have ethical, positive atheists in one corner and have the dogmatic crude atheist holding the same atheist viewpoint. If you leave Christianity and want atheism you are accepting a lack of god belief without any attached moral or ethical systems. Let me make this clear, many atheists are outstanding ethical examples. Most of them could also rightfully claim humanism as well. If you want to identify yourself as an atheist your worldview would have to be inclusive of individuals such as "Boom".  Where "Boom" was incorrect was his stating that this worldview was masquerading as an "authority." I disagree; atheism and humanism are both non-authoritative choices. With the "authority" god out of the picture, we are left with CHOICES. This is the essence of this article. I firmly believe that Secular Humanism is the best Post-Christian alternative for me personally and most Post-Christian infidels as well!  

It seems that the positive & ethical atheists always have to defend themselves against what are often false claims of unethical behavior. While diplomacy skills and ethics aren't important to atheists like "Boom", other atheist have to defend their honor as atheists due to some following "Boom's" crude atheist example. Atheism has room for both types of personalities, humanists don't! Atheism tolerates the duality on ethics, humanism doesn't. Why should an ethical atheist have to defend themselves on the account of such folks as "Boom"? This is because "Boom" properly resides between the guidelines of atheism. "Boom" doesn't qualify to be a humanist with his distain for diplomacy and ethical behavior. Secular Humanism rejects the supernatural and has the ethical concerns as well! Secular Humanists have already addressed their rejection of the supernatural and don't need the entanglements that the atheist continues to struggle with! Dissatisfied atheists might want to consider dropping the atheism identity altogether and join the secular humanists! It just depends on what crowd you want to be associated with!  

The Religious Humanist Alternative   

Several have asked me to consider the religious humanist viewpoint as a lifestyle. This would be understood to mean the Unitarian viewpoint. The Unitarians haven't asked me, nor have I approached them. Those that had asked me to consider this were not affiliated with the Unitarians, but they reasoned that a former minister might find room to dwell in underneath the Unitarian umbrella since they are so inclusive. Maybe they are correct, but I have no desire for a churchy atmosphere. My "off and on" button works on cue,  I'm not turning back lest I turn to stone (laughs)! I had gotten well acquainted with the Unitarians while working for the picture company Olan Mills years ago. They were nice people, but just not for me. Beyond the churchy atmosphere, I personally think that they are too inclusive. I am somewhat opinionated and feel more comfortable in a secular humanist group, rather than a religious humanist setting. This doesn't make me more "correct" or better than my fellow humanists; once again this is just one of the options that a humanist has to choose from.  

Should you decide and choose religious humanism, many Christians would probably confuse you with a religious liberal that had switched churches due to some type of "church split". You remember all of those church splits from your church days, don't you? We as de-converted Christians have come out of the church, no need to return to the scene. I remember something that I was once taught while in "preacher's classes". That is: "when you are so much like the others, you are not different enough to command others to come your way".  Think about it!  

Many folks have the tendency towards a Phlegmatic personality and have a tough time making a decision. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but one needs to look within and determine which is the best of the Post-Christian choices available for you and then make a decision. For you the de-converted Christian, there is no need for you to stall or to fritter your time away, a good secular humanist organization already has the structure in place and is a great place to join with likeminded individuals whom desire to build humanity. It is better than being a loner!

Secular Humanism: The Best Post-Christian Alternative  

If you choose atheism and maintain your ethical values, you will always have to apologize for "Boom" types of atheists. Is this what you want? I am not going to carry that flag! I see very little hope for mankind in atheism because of the crude atheists like "Boom" that neutralize the good that the positive and ethical atheists do. What atheism lacks, secular humanism has in abundance. Secular Humanism offers realistic hope and deserves your support. Atheism is somewhat of a landing spot for many of those that are not yet familiar with humanism.  

I think the unbalanced repetitive "killing of the straw man" activity leads to burnout. Many of you have that special post-Christian passion, I urge you to re-invest that energy and use it to build humanity! I can tell you that I don't want the epitaph of my tombstone to read, "Brian sought to destroy religion". I would rather have people remember me as a guy whom sought to build humanity. I think that this is the cure for burnout that some experience after repetitively "killing the straw man"!  

Perhaps you are currently blogging or have your own website, great! But ask yourself, are you only tearing down something (religion)? Are you seeking to build something beyond your own internet creation? These are tough questions to ask of one's self! I've asked myself these questions and this is why I have decided to re-group and to build a post-Christian bridge to Secular Humanism! Can we build this bridge together? It would not offend me at all to see others express the same desire. If you think that this is an attempt to "replace" or to fill something else in the place of religion then you have misunderstood my intentions. I think it to be a wonderful alternative, not the only one.

The best article (in my opinion) outlining the humanistic options that are available to people was written by Fred Edwords and this has been posted on the Ex-minister.org website. The essay is entitled "What Is Humanism?" I read this with sheer enjoyment and came to realize that many of us de-converted Christians were already humanists although we didn't know it at the time. Secular Humanism is the best of the post-Christian alternatives that we have. I urge those of you in America to consider the American Humanist Association . To those outside of the US, you should browse the International Humanist and Ethical Union's website to find where the closest humanist organization is.  I have been very impressed with the professionalism of both the AMA and the IHEU and I heartily recommend them!  

Brian Worley     Ex-minister.org    January 31, 2009     All rights reserved.


 

 



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