You know, I can remember as a child, that the term, values had a meaning that had form and substance about it. In other words, most (the majority) of the people I ran across held the same, basic ideas in terms of right and wrong. That basic idea is that truth is truth, regardless of how much a person likes to believe otherwise.
I realize that I come from a very politically incorrect time in history, as far as the definition has meaning today. That’s the value system of the era in which I was born and raised. Just a side note, it is the same, basic value system that has been in place throughout the majority of human history.
Today, not so much.
DISCLAIMER: The author is not completely unbiased on the subject matter under discussion.
Values, Morals, and Ethics
My take on the secular humanist belief system boils down to this. There are three very important attributes in any belief system that must be considered. These attributes are values, morals, and ethics. Let’s take a look at what the secular humanist worldview believes about these three, core attributes of humanity.
To quote Paul Kurtz, a noted secular humanist, and I quote: “We believe in the ‘right to privacy.’ This includes freedom of conscience and belief; sexual preference and lifestyle, reproductive rights, contraception, and abortion; euthanasia and death with dignity.”
The way I interpret Mr. Kurtz here is that his description of values is that privacy grants human beings the supreme freedom to believe anything they wish without harboring any guilt of having broken some law or rule that exists outside of their own making. Is this truth or is it wishful thinking on the part of the secular humanist?
“‘I just don’t like red-headed people so they need to be exterminated,’ someone might suggest.”
Mr. Kurtz also includes sexual preference and lifestyle to be a guilt-free, individualized, and socialized construct that does not revolve around external value rules. Secular humanism subscribes that mankind is an animal, no better in value than that of the beast in the field. That being so, this freedom to indulge in bestiality (also known as zoophilia) is approved as long as the humanist doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. Does this appear to be short-sighted in terms of such behavior having a diverse affect on the psyche of others that is not seen at the time? Do you agree with this end product of humanism’s guilt-free sexual expression?
Reproductive Rights, Contraception, and abortion. The humanist worldview sees the world through a lens that values human life in many cases to the same standard of the beast. If it is not productive to the standard of the current culture, it is expendable. The term expendable, of course, would revolve around a subjective value that is subject to the whim of the individual. This would appear to make human life as valuable as the subjective thoughts of those in power at the time. Does this thinking resonate with your current worldview?
Euthanasia and Death. Secular Humanism suggests a subjectivism in terms of killing the worthless in the population based on age, limitations, and attitudes. These and most any other subjective reason that society as a whole or individual political or military regime declares unfit would also be possible from this worldview, could it not? Does that appear to point to positive human value or just the opposite? I suppose it all depends on your method of regarding such things, but does your own, particular worldview place mankind on the same level as the beast in the field or in the wild?
Friedrich Neitzsche once said, “You have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, it does not exist.” That being said, (by Neitzsche, not me), there is no doubt that he means that the term morals is whatever a person deems it to mean — as long as the person believes in his own mind that he is hurting no one. Since everything is subjective and self-centered within the worldview of secular humanism, little doubt is left regarding the belief of the humanist in terms of hurting others. It could easily be argued by the one being hurt, however.
This being the case, the term morals is viewed as subjective rather than objective — which is the age old debate between secular and non-secular worldviews. We could discuss many instances but I feel that you get the idea without my over analyzing things further. Let it suffice to say that the moral relativist can become a moral absolutist the moment another person does or says something to which the relativist does not agree with. It’s rather amazing how innate, absolute truth can come to the fore, isn’t it, when it doesn’t satisfy?
Secularism, again, points to the subjective and personal belief of the person and societal belief of the culture surrounding that person. This means that ethics is relative and subjective in the eyes of the secular humanist. Is it possible that humanists are confusing tastes for truth? By that I mean, sure — it’s possible for two people to disagree about their likes and dislikes of a color, a taste, a look, a book, etc. But tastes are not the same as truth, are they? Is killing a person because a person doesn’t like them justify it? Would this not be an example of tastes rather than truth?
“I just don’t like red-headed people so they need to be exterminated,” someone might suggest. That is how the person feels. It’s what the person believes. Belief is not always truth. Does personal belief justify the murder?
Again, what is truth? Is it how a person personally feels about something or how a society desires to behave? Is it something beyond mankind that sets what is right or wrong?
Our time has, again, come to an end! We shall continue our study of secular humanism and its particular worldview lens in our next post.
Won’t you lease answer the question below and help this blog to serve its intended purpose?
Until next time!
QUESTION: WITHOUT EXPANDING ON YOUR ANSWER, DO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE HUMANISTS CONFUSE TRUTH WITH PERSONAL TASTES?