Ethicism
#1
A Proposal for Debate

Indian Ethicists

The term Atheist means one who does not believe in the concept of god. While this term expresses what it stands against, it does not clearly express what it stands for. Atheism implies that god and religion are not necessary for one to be a good person. Being good means living a life guided by certain moral values and noble virtues.

I believe the correct term for a movement, which opposes god and religion and promotes goodness, is Ethicism. Even though there seems to be no such word, we can coin it for our use. The core belief of an Ethicist is: A moral and virtuous person does not need a god or religion.

The hypothetical title of an organization such as this could be Indian Ethicist. Or, Indian Atheist-Ethicist. Ethicists should announce a list of common moral values and noble virtues shared by all good people on earth.

It should be noted here that both Buddhism and Hinduism arose to oppose ritual-ridden Brahmanism and to promote ethics. Both of them fell prey to ritualism and greed. To prevent Ethicism movement from becoming another ritual-ridden religion, safeguards must be developed.
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#2
(22-May-2010, 06:14 PM)K. P. S. Kamath Wrote: Indian Ethicists

Dr. Kamath,
I think this is a very important discussion, but there already are people around who are called ethicists. In the ancient scholarly discipline of philosophy, ethics involves the study of one of the oldest and most respected branches- moral philosophy. Thousands of very intelligent and informed scholars have debated morality throughout history. Today, those who debate moral issues from a secular framework are very well known as Secular Humanists (as you already know).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethicist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism

This is why I used an image from the American Humanist Association on the article on morality that you posted.

Quote:The term Atheist means one who does not believe in the concept of god. While this term expresses what it stands against, it does not clearly express what it stands for. Atheism implies that god and religion are not necessary for one to be a good person. Being good means living a life guided by certain moral values and noble virtues.

Secular Humanism was invented over a hundred years ago, Dr. Kamath, this is not new ground. There is no need for us to reinvent the wheel. In your reply to Manjunath who was responding to your article you said:
"As I wrote in one of my earlier articles, Indian society is like an sick old lady who has seen doctors come and go. She thinks, “I know more than this new doctor!”"

I think that statement in the particular context that you used it, applies perfectly to this case. There is a very good reason why atheism is still around today, thousands of years since the first secular moral philosophers preached their ideas. It is the first step away from religion. It's role is different from Secular Humanism and Naturalism. But the bridge between atheism and secular humanism is strong, and has been strengthened in the online popular Freethought movement by moral atheistic humanists for the past 15 years, and by the secular humanists for the past century. Large and influential Freethought organizations such as the Center For Inquiry have been promoting this agenda very effectively. There is a lot of very important and useful literature that can benefit us all.

Quote:I believe the correct term for a movement, which opposes god and religion and promotes goodness, is Ethicism. Even though there seems to be no such word, we can coin it for our use. The core belief of an Ethicist is: A moral and virtuous person does not need a god or religion.

Again, I must insist that this is re-inventing the wheel. Most young atheists who were raised on Dawkins and Hitchens know what Secular Humanism is. This subject is very well discussed, debated and represented online. For example, much of my secular ethics is derived from reading philosophers like Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, John Dewey and Peter Singer. There is no need to start from scratch. In fact, the correct place for this discussion is not the religion forum but the secular humanism forum. So, I would like to move this thread there.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#3
You make good points. I thought I could get away with reinventing a wheel smile
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#4
(23-May-2010, 01:31 AM)K. P. S. Kamath Wrote: You make good points. I thought I could get away with reinventing a wheel smile

I really hope that you don't think that I am dismissing you without hearing you out. I think I am well aware of your noble intentions here. I just want to point out that it is almost impossible to start off a movement like this today, especially when that exact idea is already well-represented under another banner!
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#5
No, Ajita, I didn't think you were dismissive at all. I am not as well-read on this topic as you are. I just wanted to point out that the word Atheist seems so anemic. It is like saying, "I am an anarchist." It raises the question, if you are against something, what are you for? As I wrote somewhere else, if we are to dismiss a religion, which forms the fabric of every society, we need to replace it with something without which there will be chaos. No matter how corrupt religions are, they still offer some morality to people, especially in western societies. We see such degradation of morals in India today, which is being capitalized by religionists. So, merely saying we are Atheists, to me, means little. That is why I believe that without the ethical aspect to it, there might not be much impact on religionists. Also, the word Ethicist is there in the lexicon. I am not sure the word Ethicism exists. Does it?
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#6
Atheism is a default position.It says I refuse to believe in so and so until I am being provided with sufficient scientific proofs.It stresses on the fact that human welfare and living life with good morals and standards is what is required for a human being.Atheist term always been used only in the context of disbelieving in god but it actually embraces more than that.It says let's create a positive world on earth by engaging ourselves in productive activities .Atheism strongly renounce any kind of activity which requires the oppression of fellow human being.So atheism do take care of all the moral implications of human activities and thus atheism tries to define moral attitude through logic and science.
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#7
Quote:The term Atheist means one who does not believe in the concept of god. While this term expresses what it stands against, it does not clearly express what it stands for. Atheism implies that god and religion are not necessary for one to be a good person. Being good means living a life guided by certain moral values and noble virtues.

Dear Kamath,
I agree with you that the word "Atheist" does not literally mean much except for expressing an opposition to acceptance of the cocept of god.
But I do not agree with the generalization that "Atheism Implies that we can be good without god"
I also tried to use the word "Atheism" in the sense suggested by you, but found resistance in acceptance - not just from theists, but also surprisingly from Atheists...!!!
This problem has been faced by many Atheists before us and they have tried several alternative "words".

For example.....

Gora (Founder Atheist Center, Vijayawada-1940) coined the Phrase "Positive Atheism" (See http://www.positiveatheism.org)
The Phrase "Ethical Atheism" (I do not know who coined it first) - is also used by several atheists.
The word "Humanism" from the literary tradition has been gradually gaining importance in the 20th century.
Paul Kurtz coined the word "Secular Humanism" (http://www.secularhumanism.org) to separate Humanism from its "religious roots"
Some people use the word "Ethical Humanism" also.

I prefer the simple single word "Humanism" as representative of a life-stance which is an alternative to "Theism" for the following simple reason.

The people following "theism" - try to be "good" for the love (and/or fear) of something called god.
The pepole following "Humanism" - try to be "good" for the love (and/or fear - in case) of Other Humans.

So, here we are not talking about Ethics per se, but the very basis of Ethics.
For the Atheists, the very basis of Ethics is Human society.

In the Indian Context, the religious ethical basis need not necessarily be "god", but it is more to do with "param" - which is "after the life on earth". The non-religious ethical basis on the contrary is to do with "Iham" - which is "concerning the life on earth"

So, the atheist life stance can be refered in India as "Aihika" - However, because of derision attached to it, by the religious and because of the attachement of unethicality driven by hedonism to it, It may not sound a good word to use.
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#8
(27-May-2010, 09:09 PM)drnbala Wrote:
Quote:The term Atheist means one who does not believe in the concept of god. While this term expresses what it stands against, it does not clearly express what it stands for. Atheism implies that god and religion are not necessary for one to be a good person. Being good means living a life guided by certain moral values and noble virtues.

Dear Kamath,
I agree with you that the word "Atheist" does not literally mean much except for expressing an opposition to acceptance of the cocept of god.
But I do not agree with the generalization that "Atheism Implies that we can be good without god"
I also tried to use the word "Atheism" in the sense suggested by you, but found resistance in acceptance - not just from theists, but also surprisingly from Atheists...!!!
This problem has been faced by many Atheists before us and they have tried several alternative "words".

For example.....

Gora (Founder Atheist Center, Vijayawada-1940) coined the Phrase "Positive Atheism" (See http://www.positiveatheism.org)
The Phrase "Ethical Atheism" (I do not know who coined it first) - is also used by several atheists.
The word "Humanism" from the literary tradition has been gradually gaining importance in the 20th century.
Paul Kurtz coined the word "Secular Humanism" (http://www.secularhumanism.org) to separate Humanism from its "religious roots"
Some people use the word "Ethical Humanism" also.

I prefer the simple single word "Humanism" as representative of a life-stance which is an alternative to "Theism" for the following simple reason.

The people following "theism" - try to be "good" for the love (and/or fear) of something called god.
The pepole following "Humanism" - try to be "good" for the love (and/or fear - in case) of Other Humans.

So, here we are not talking about Ethics per se, but the very basis of Ethics.
For the Atheists, the very basis of Ethics is Human society.

In the Indian Context, the religious ethical basis need not necessarily be "god", but it is more to do with "param" - which is "after the life on earth". The non-religious ethical basis on the contrary is to do with "Iham" - which is "concerning the life on earth"

So, the atheist life stance can be refered in India as "Aihika" - However, because of derision attached to it, by the religious and because of the attachement of unethicality driven by hedonism to it, It may not sound a good word to use.

Dear Dr. Bala

You have addressed this problem very well. Until a more comprehensive word is discovered, which basically embraces the idea of Atheism combined with Ethicism, we will need to be satisfied with whatever we have smile

I was not trying to start a new movement, as suspected by Ajita. I was merely trying to bring into the picture another aspect of Atheism. Thanks for your response.

Prabhakar
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