Every now and then, I’m prone to thought experiments. It’s an attempt to relate to other perspectives as a lens to examine my own thinking. Most times it eventuates in intellectual naval gazing, but I have time to kill. This one started as a way to be less judgmental of people.

I’m quick to glance at a person’s life and pronounce “how can you call yourself a Christian?” I’m quick to rationalize such a pronouncement under the heading “I’m as hard on them as I am on myself”, since even a cursory glance at my own life makes me shudder anytime someone describes me as a Christian. So I’ve been allowing the grace of “where would they be if they weren’t a Christian to temper my thoughts/judgments.

(Including with myself: a friend of mine, an agnostic, thanked “whoever I’m suppose to thank” that I was a Christian, otherwise, I’d be the fifth horseman. He went on to describe me, in love mind you, as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, which was an odd bit of spiritual truth when you take Christ as the Lamb in question).

So now I’m coming at this from the perspective of my belief of how I’d be without religion. So let’s say that I’ve removed religion from my worldview lens (note: I HAVEN’T. THIS IS A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT), what would be the ramifications of a humanist worldview for me? Basically, I’m trying to think of why I’d want to be a “good” person and the lofty idea of “for the betterment of mankind” isn’t cutting it, so I’m going to need some of the ideas fleshed out a bit.

The quandary of my little thought experiment is that as problematic as faith in God can be, I have no faith in humanity (other than my faith in our ability to use any idea—race, religion, nation—as a weapon/destructive force).

For the humanists in the house, would you describe yourself as a humanist (with the idea of a belief in humanity and its ability to progress as a whole) or an individualist (meaning that you believe in yourself, the power of the individual, with enough individuals empowering themselves humanity progresses – which may take us into Ayn Rand territory)?

And then, two more questions, one on an individual level one on a social level:

-how would a humanist philosophy attempt to shape and form me as an individual? I understand do not steal, murder, lie, rape as universals in order to run a society; but for me as an individual, how would it address an idea like “greed” or what would be the motivation to be loving?

-on a social level, how would this shape social mores? Even an idea like monogamy or being married til death do us part, seems like things we’ve decided to buy into, but don’t—humanistically—have a good reason to do.

[I’m in a real questioning mood. There’s an ongoing conversation on the message board about how would atheists react if God was incontrovertibly proved and on the flip side, for Christians, what if the resurrection was incontrovertibly proved to have never happened. All merely thought experiments, but the discussion’s been interesting.]

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