Humanism and Belief

 

I am a humanist. I guess I should start there.
A humanist is someone who believes in humanism, so what is that? Here is what Dictionary.com says:
noun

1. any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests,values, and dignity predominate.
2. devotion to or study of the humanities.
3. (sometimes initial capital letter) the studies, principles, or culture ofthe humanists.

4. Philosophy. a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.

This is what I believe, for the most part. I have a bit of an issue with the rejection of the importance of belief in God.
Recently, I have had a lot of thoughts on what it is I believe. This has come about due to some conversations I have had with family. I’ve been struggling to figure out exactly what I believe for quite a while now.
I grew up Southern Baptist, but I wasn’t always in a church. We had some interesting experiences that lead us to leaving church. As a household we still believed, but we did not actively go to church. We’d come to realize that you didn’t need to go to a church to believe. I was eager to believe. I would read my Bible, listen to Christian radio stations, and read lots of inspirational books (Left Behind was a huge part of those years, both the kids series, and the adult. Also, The Shack). As I grew up though I started to become more skeptical.
I guess it was in college that my beliefs changed. I read more books and expanded my horizons. I met new people who introduced me to new ways of thought. I realized that I was not a Southern Baptist. I still believed in God, but I didn’t believe in everything. As time went on that continued to change.
I no longer see God as the great thing I’d grown up believing. I like to believe there is a higher power, but whether that’s the God in the Bible I grew up reading, or multiple Gods like other religions believe, I don’t know. All I know is that I believe in the power people have over their own lives.
I am a humanist because I believe people should do good things because they want to help other people. I am still respectful of people’s religions. When my family starts to pray at family gatherings, I bow my head respectfully. Do I actually pray? Not really. Sometimes I’ll think of the reasons I’m thankful in that moment, but I do not attribute my thoughts to God. I don’t care what religion you practice, I will respect it. Will I agree with everything? Definitely not, but I won’t judge you based on your beliefs.
Everyone believes differently. The reason I don’t really associate with a single religion anymore is because I feel that there are truths in all religions. There are also things that I don’t agree with in every religion.
I believe that nobody should judge a person based on their race or who they choose to love. This has been a huge issue within my family and recently made me so angry. I hate it when people use their beliefs in their religion to ostracize people. This came up recently because Beauty and the Beast was banned in several theaters because they made LeFou gay. I didn’t mind this, but many people within the Christian faith were not happy. This is one aspect of Christianity that I can’t stand. Many people who follow the Christian faith, believe that a gay person is destined for hell because they love the other sex. I don’t believe that God would condemn people from the start.
I believe that people should be given equal representation, no matter your race or sexuality. I don’t believe a person of a different sexual orientation will go to hell just because they love differently. If I do believe in God, I believe in one that loves everyone equally. A God that sits back and lets things happen and doesn’t really play a hand.
Ultimately, I believe in people. I believe that is up to people to do the right thing. If you choose to follow a religion, all the power to you. I do not believe that religions should be pushed onto people. I especially do not believe that children should be indoctrinated in religion young. A child deserves a choice as much as an adult. If not more.
People need to believe in something, I understand that, but why not believe in the power that we have as people? Why not believe in the good a person can do? I know there’s a lot of bad in the world, but there’s also a lot of good. Why not let a person choose? Why not let a person be who they were born to be? Why do people put themselves in a box and tape it shut? There is so much more to life than a strict construct. Do things because they’re right. Follow the teachings that make you a better person. Don’t let a single book, which was written by many people and has changed over thousands of years, dictate your every move. Everything is up for interpretation.
I believe in the advances of science. I believe there’s more that we don’t understand. I am not going to let a religion dictate how I treat a person. I am a humanist because I believe everyone should be treated equally. I don’t care what race or sexuality you identify with, I will not judge you based on that. I won’t judge if you decide to believe in God. I will judge you if you use your religions teachings to ostracize a person or group of people.
We’re all human. That’s something that will not change. We are not perfect. To be human is to be flawed. To be human is to be here, living day to day.
I am a humanist because I believe in what we can do for each other.
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