On Identity Preferences - Humanism, Freethought or Atheism
#1
Hi,

I am initiating this thread as a discussion on the why of identity preferences - specifically while many of these terms are often used synonymously; yet different individuals may ascribe to one (or more of these identities) as has been demonstrated before in previous polls.

To kick start it I would like to address why my preferred identity is humanism/ humanist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism ; I believe that humanism is a more inclusive/umbrella term in comparison to atheism which by its very definition is often perceived as what you do not believe in rather than what you additionally do ascribe to. In the words of Einstein “Mere unbelief in a personal God is no philosophy at all.” http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/quot...stein.html
Also, of freethought whilst it advocates skepticism and an emphasis on reason, does the term necessarily also imply a focus on philanthropy/humanitarianism?

In addition, many individuals prominent in science and science writers have been humanists including Bohr, Einstein, Feynman, Fourier, Sagan, Asimov, Salk, Schrodinger and Tesla to name a few http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_humanists

and many have also been recipients of humanist awards http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Hu...ssociation

National humanist organizations such as the British Humanist Association and the American Humanist Association and the international IHEU are also very prominent among non-theistic organizations and in the darwinian natural selection of memes, I would like to know as to why these organizations have progressed in keeping with the term "humanist" as opposed to other alternatives. Given that nirmukta is modeled on the Centre for Inquiry, I believe that conversing with individuals of these humanist organizations could also prove valuable.

Finally of course there are many flavors to non-theism. As Norm R Allen Jr puts it, "It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round, and it takes all kinds of non-theists to make non-theism more attractive to the masses. Let everyone do their own part in their own way."

http://www.instituteforscienceandhumanva...hought.htm
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#2
I think atheism needs to be considered a more individualistic approach and it certainly means belief in reason. The main difference between a theist and an atheist is that many theists justify their behavior on religious grounds whereas the atheist takes responsibility for his or her own action. In India atheists are considered immoral for no reason and reflects the hypocrisy of society. I am interested in Charvaka and his philosophy or thought process. Most of Indian religious material stresses on body being ephemeral and the soul being eternal. These scriptures have not taken human attitude and human psychology into consideration. So what happens is that those following these scriptures are caught up in a struggle between trying to follow what they cannot practice. Indians should first realize that this body is as important as the soul as it is through this body that the soul will gain self realization. The soul by itself is incapable of any knowledge and nirvana or moksa as they call it. I may sound a bit religious but my arguments are for promoting free thought and logical thinking.
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