The Philosophy of Humanism
a book by Corliss Lamont
(our site's book review)
Lamont says in this 1997 book that “In my view the Moral Majority is a demagogic assembly of religious fanatics and, like demagogic politicians, needs a demonic scapegoat to rally its followers and to provide a simple, one-word solution for the serious problems disrupting America and the world. The Moral Majority has chosen the social-minded Humanists as its target and aims to destroy them. This malicious campaign is not unlike the wild witch hunt against Communism and alleged Communists in the heyday of Senator Joseph McCarthy.” In spite of the Moral Majority's claims, they were neither moral nor the majority, as many wise people and organizations have noted. They lied, acted spitefully and maliciously and slanderously, made outrageous claims, and spit in the face of our nation's Founders' warnings that it is unhealthy for the nation to mix politics and religion. But, happily, this organization of self-righteous fanatics disbanded in the late 1980s as they began getting exposed as nasty religious fanatics and powermongers.
The Moral Majority has chosen the Humanists as its target and aims to destroy them
Lamont says that “The supreme ethical aim of Humanism is, in fact, [in contrast to the lies from Falwell and his crew] the this-earthly well-being of all mankind, with reliance on methods of reason and science, democracy and love. Humanism incorporates the sound principles of other philosophies or religions. Thus, although it regards as poetic myth the supernatural aspects of Christianity, it incorporates much of the Judeo-Christian ethic as set forth in the Old and New Testaments."
The author tells us that in America and the world we need firm allegiance to the Ten Commandments, such as 'Thou shalt not steal,' 'Thou shalt not kill,' and 'Thou shalt not bear false witness.' He says that the New Testament gospels can contribute a lot to Humanism. Jesus advocated Humanist ideals such as social equity, the brotherhood of man, and peace on earth.
Humanist philosophy rejects supernaturalism and seeks Man’s fulfillment in the here and now
Lamont says the Humanist philosophy rejects supernaturalism and seeks Man’s fulfillment in the here and now of this world. Humanist philosophy has a long and honored tradition in the West. He lists philosophers, poets, writers, artists, and religious prophets which have all contributed: Democritus, Aristotle, Lucretius, Spinoza, Diderot, Voltaire, John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Steve Allen, Isaac Asimov, Erich Fromm—they are all Humanists. So are millions of Americans, Europeans and Asians, even though some do not even know it. Barry Goldwater said in 1981:
“The religious factions that are growing in our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their positions 100 percent. . . . And I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across the country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person I must believe [the way they do]. Who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? This group [the Moral Majority] is a menace to intellectual freedom and to many good causes. . . . To me these arrogant people are the lowest type of Christians and are dishonoring a great religion. They are dishonest, dogmatic, intolerant, and belligerent in their international policies [which promote population explosions and famine and resource wars and abuse and infanticide by denying access to birth control anywhere they can get away with it]. Jesus Christ would not have liked these self-appointed promoters of his faith [and their version of it barely resembles Christ’s version].”
The Moral Majority has been compared over and over to the Ku Klux Klan in their hate, intolerance, bigotry, lying and breathtaking ignorance. Many see them as a hate group. Talibans with crosses as weapons.
The inane thing about right-wing, fundamentalist, extremist, religious bigots is that they are regressive and anti-woman and try to keep the old, reductionistic-mechanistic paradigm dominant forever, regardless of the fact that it’s clear that the planet and its creatures cannot survive very much longer unless there is a switch to the new, ecological-holistic paradigm. They raise suffering to an art form and feel that pleasure—especially sexual pleasure—is sinful. They want men to dominate women and for all child-raising to be done under their harsh authoritarian standards, regardless of the fact that it has been absolutely proven that both authoritarian and permissive parenting methods are harmful and hopeless and only authoritative methods work well.
Right-wing, fundamentalist, extremists want all child-raising to be done under their harsh authoritarian standards
The fact that they are willing to continue to oppress both women and children in the face of scientific proof of the error of their ways reveals the anti-intellectualism of their position. They don’t care about what’s good, what’s right, what’s true, what’s harmful, what causes suffering, what humiliates, or whether science ceases to exist. They are only interested in people being somehow persuaded to follow them, believe in their ridiculous beliefs, and send money to their coffers so they can continue to buy candidates and spread authoritarian misery across the globe. They call this “religion.”
Some of us think of it in quite different terms . . . religion indeed! A fascistic hate group of fanatics isn't a religion. Religion is about love, tolerance, and compassion. The radical right-wing fanatics have absolutely none of these. They were raised in authoritarian ways and therefore contain hate in their souls where love should be. Unconsciously, the reason they want to spread their toxic cult's hate messages is because they are miserable people and are mad that some others are not, so they try to get them to adopt their toxic beliefs so that they will be miserable too. Misery loves company. They are ofen found quoting a very confused man named James Dobson, whose idea of raising children is: One needs to "break their wills" to get obedience. Why does this sound so much like the CIA's Extraordinary Rendition and Detention Program often conducted at "black sites"? He at times sounds like he only wants violence as a response to willful disobediance and unsafe/harmful behavior, but at other times he seems like he's saying to react violently to all "misbehavior." You must win the "war." Spank them “until they cry” he says. He advocates strict, authoritarian discipline, which is not surprising since Dr. James Dobson is a popular right-wing Christian minister. And we say: physician heal thyself! (It is tragic that those with the least wisdom often talk or write the most!)
These bigots are a force of negative power. They are what they claim the Humanists are. On the other hand, the Humanists are exactly the opposite of what the fanatics say they are. They are now, and always have been, a thoughtful, benevolent, humanitarian segment of society who prefer their spiritual side reflects a natural universe, as opposed to a supernatural one. This is their choice, and if it works for them, then more power to them.
The definition of America is a land of the free where we all are ready to defend anyone’s right to believe whatever they want unless they begin infringing on the right of others. This latter is what the Humanists have never done, but what the right-wing religious fanatics have always done. The incredible campaign of lies and smears that the fanatics have foisted upon the Humanists has shown their negative-power, bigoted, dishonest character quite clearly. Some of our country’s Founding Fathers were Humanists, and yet the fanatics are saying that all Humanists (including Carl Sagan) are devils. So if this is a country of devils, why don’t they leave and join up with Iran where the people share this view of America? The rest of us real Americans don’t feel that we’re a bunch of devils. It is the religious bigots that act like devils, using rhetoric so inflamed that unstable sociopaths end up killing doctors and bombing clinics after listening to the words of the demagogic hate-mongers.
Religious bigots use rhetoric so inflamed that unstable sociopaths end up killing doctors and bombing clinics
Fanatical demagogic hate-mongers: the religious bigots act like devils, and yet dare to suggest that Humanists are devils even though Humanists are exactly the opposite of devils
The one happy thing about these extremists is that they keep shooting themselves in the foot. Their appeal to ignorance guarantees that no one with a lick of sense will take them seriously, and only ignorant and mentally disturbed people will listen to their ranting. By showing their true colors to all those who look, they keep their numbers relatively small. On the other hand, with education in its current condition, the number of ignorant people in this country will keep growing. So this is a serious concern.
Extremist religious fanatics keep shooting themselves in the foot—only ignorant and mentally disturbed people will listen to their ranting
It should be noted that most Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Southern Baptists and related sects are not religious fanatics, bigots, hate-mongers, liars, ignorant and dangerous. It’s the right-wing religious fanatics that are this way, and most of these former groups dislike the fanatics as much as nonfundamentalists because they tend to give fundamentalists of all types a bad name. They know that when religion turns to hate-mongering and lying, it’s no longer about God or goodness but about simple, greedy, grasping for power and attention and money. The religious scandals (e.g., Jim and Tammy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart) have shown all Americans, including the fundamentalists, the true nature of the bigots and demagogues. They have so transparently used the Hitlerian methods from Mein Kampf—the Big Lie—that real Americans cringe at the very mention of the right-wing extremists and religious fanatics. True Americans want a democracy of the free, not a theocratic dictatorship like Iran has, and like the fanatics would foist upon us if given a chance. They would claim it was for “God’s glory,” but we all know it would be for their own power aspirations.
Registering for MC search and match
The MC movement is unconcerned either with promoting or discouraging anything about religion. See Why Register for an MC?. Religious and spiritual matters are private matters to be decided by each individual for himself or herself, and the MC movement will never support or discourage anything religious, atheistic, agnostic, or any combination thereof. People can search for MC people of the same religion if they like, or ignore this area altogether.
It is the hope of MCers that the MC movement will be a uniting force that will help the two sides of the Culture Wars see all the things they have in common, and act to mitigate the divisive rhetoric in favor of acting from a position of benevolent common ground. Such ground is composed of the common humanity of mankind, the fact that we’re all in the same Earth-boat together, the fact that MC examples will allow all people to see how they can have a lifestyle that creates love and wisdom and compassion and understanding regardless of the religious or political beliefs of the people involved, and the fact that when life is working well, people don’t have to come from hate and fear and intolerance in their relationships to each other any more.
We’re all in the same Earth-boat together
When authoritarian/conservatives and permissive/liberals join MCs and both end up trading obsolete relationship strategies for authoritative parenting, P.E.T. knowledge and practice, Winning Family Lifeskills, and good self-talk as needed, they’ll realize that representing poles on an authoritarian-permissive continuum serves no one and that the dialectical transcendence of this thesis and antithesis via synthesis not only transmogrifies hostility into synergy and polarization into cooperation, it also makes orthodox-authority adherents realize that there’s no need to hate progressive-democracy adherents (and vice versa)—they’re merely people following what they truly believe is the best moral-ethical course. See From The Empty Nest—A Traditional Conservative Male Tells All and A Woman, Always Ahead Of Her Time, Helps The World Catch Up.
The MC movement is a “big tent” entity with plenty of room for orthodox beliefs as well as progressive and democratic and humanist beliefs. Recognizing the authority of gods, churches, religions, fathers, or whatever isn’t mutually incompatible with MCs. Neither is opting (like Carl Sagan, Erich Fromm, and millions of others have done) for a natural spiritual outlook rather than a supernatural one.
The MC movement is a 'big tent' entity with plenty of room for orthodox beliefs as well as progressive and democratic and humanist beliefs
But bigotry, demagoguery, hate, intolerance, violence, negative power, autocratic parenting, and trying to force beliefs down the throats of the unwilling are mutually incompatible with MCs. MC people believe that the Enlightenment and reason and learning from experience and science and knowledge and the Information Age and the Third Wave are all indicators of benevolent progress, so when factual knowledge about relationship enhancement, parenting enhancement, and lifestyle enhancement evolve as part of the wealth of human wisdom, MCers are not shy about incorporating such knowledge as a way of enhancing the lives of individuals, families, and eventually the world (by example, not by the discredited social transformation methods of programs, policies, bureaucracies, hierarchies, and social engineering).
MCers avoid discredited social transformation methods like programs, policies, bureaucracies, and social engineering, and they shun social engineering 'superheroes', preferring to let each individual and family choose to do their own social transformation
MC people don’t sit around finding incompatibilities between religion and science, between orthodox and progressive, between liberal and conservative. Instead, they find commonalities; they find uniting concepts; they find synthesis; they find that relativism is a scientifically necessary stance that doesn’t have to be jammed uninvited into the area of morality, especially since any thinking person can see that there are many moral absolutes worthy of respect and compliance. We need not see these latter as authoritarian conscience morals dictated from gods, fathers, or churches if we are of a progressive-relativist bent. Since when can those of humanistic conscience (read Erich Fromm) not accommodate the best of absolute morals in their autonomous beings? In actual fact, they do this automatically as part of self-actualization. Whether or not they are adherents of natural spirituality or supernatural spirituality, they have serious, intrinsic, moral natures that they follow diligently.
It wouldn’t be surprising if many of the orthodox continue to believe—for the time being—that all morality must have a supernatural basis, in spite of all the historical and contemporary evidence to the contrary. But, although they may be from Missouri they’re not from Dummy Lake. Once MC lifestyles show beyond a shadow of a doubt that Fromm was right all along, and that good morals are as compatible with progressive/humanistic people as they are with orthodox/authority-deferring people, they will begin to drop their anachronistic, counterproductive, polarized thinking patterns in favor of acknowledging the evidence in front of their eyes. “Someone or some entity told me I’d better act good and I respect the authority of that person or entity” is an acceptable basis for morality just as “The values that I’ve evolved autonomously in relationship to my humanity, my world, and my fellow man guide me to act good and my doing so is an intrinsic part of me being me” is an acceptable basis.
When orthodox people become autonomous and self-actualized, they often realize a surprising fact: even though they still believe in orthodox authorities, they no longer have the feeling that they’re behaving morally “because the authority I respect said so”; they do it because that’s who they are and that’s what they choose to do because such morals are part of who they are and how they manifest being one with mankind and the world. Such people soon find that the new, ecological-holistic paradigm starts making more sense to them and the old, mechanistic-reductionistic paradigm starts looking anachronistic.
Maslow used to say that the resolving of seemingly incompatible polarities such as the ones just discussed is part of what characterizes self-actualized people—people who learn to see clearly from being states rather than foggily from need states. (See Toward a Psychology of Being.) And that is one of the things MCs will help evolve in their members. This will allow them not only to relate wonderfully to one another but to communities and the world as well. All this could be called spiritual; or it could be called humanitarian. One could even call it Humanistic if one wanted. But who could argue that it is not a wonderful thing?