Religious-Centred World Views: No Universal Suffrage Allowed?
One of my chief grouses with regards to morals and ethical codes is that, for some convoluted reason, religion has always owned an automatic pass and claim moral high ground, despite the fact that in many cases, religion should not be given sole autonomy in many social issues we face today.
Take free speech, for example. Advocates of free speech understand that free speech is a form of universal suffrage simply because it is free - no one should stop you from speaking your mind, regardless of whom you are criticizing. That also means other folks are also free to criticize you based on your comments, and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, religion makes it a point that you can criticize anyone, man, woman or gay, or any corporation, but not religion. Religion is taboo; it gets a "Get Out of Jail" card so much so that if a Pope lies that condoms will aggravate the AIDS pandemic in Africa, they get away with out nary a whimper from the media and generally escape public outrage because it is generally socially unacceptable to criticize the "infallibility" of the Pope! Draw some funny cartoons of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, and watch as mayhem and maelstrom breaks out in almost every Muslim-dominated city on the planet. If the pious Muslims have their way, pretty soon blasphemy will be officially deemed illegal under UN law. Say goodbye to your rights..........
Religious morality and concepts are conjured and manufactured not with the welfare of the average Joe on the street in mind: They are rigid, segmented forms of philosophy and in some cases, tyranny that enforces rules and regulations based on the sensitivities and whimsical behavior of imagined deities. As such, when Religion sets it store in society's consciousness, it cares little for the fates of the people it seeks to dominate: The Pope doesn't really give two hoots about the life of a pregnant 9-yr old child who is heavily pregnant with twins thanks to the monster of a stepfather who rapes her, neither does he give a shit about the rape. The Pope tells Catholics that abortion is wrong because a imagined sky deity mandates it.
Furthermore, religious-centre worldviews do not fuss over the lives of folks in this existence: They are more concerned with the afterlife: If you die, you are supposed to be judged by whichever deity that you pray to, and if you are deemed "virtuous" you might get to spend eternity in a utopia known as heaven. The opposite of which, an eternal abyss of suffering awaits.
Secular Humanism: Man's Welfare Comes First
Secular Humanism deals with how we, as homo sapiens, interact with our fellow human beings and the world around us: Rather than indulge in the business of satisfying the mojos of imagined deities (Most of which are designed as nothing more than bigots and mass murderers), secular humanism deals with rationalism, truth and the welfare of man.
From the Council of Secular Humanism:
Secular Humanism is a term which has come into use in the last thirty years to describe a world view with the following elements and principles:
- A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
- Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
- A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
- A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
- A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
- A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
- A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.
While religious folks often lampoon criticisms at secular humanists because we lack a deity to account for in our lives, the problem with religion-centered worldviews is that using God as a platform to solve society's ills is the fastest way to fail.
From ill-fated bans on alcohol to the abstinence-only religious education classes, religion has failed to implement good, viable policies on our behalf because they are not designed with humans in mind in the first place.
After all, Gods do not live our lifes. We do.