March 22, 2009

The 34th Humanist Symposium

Welcome to the 34th edition of The Humanist Symposium! It is time to replenish your sense of awe, restore your confidence in humanity, and above all else, promote humanism as a viable alternative to superstition and delusion. That's right, the reality-based community has much to offer and this is a great forum for sharing some of it.

Beyond Atheism

Let me say at the outset that I love the idea of promoting atheism. It is something I try to to regularly here at Atheist Revolution. The trouble is, those of us who understand the meaning of atheism (i.e., the lack of theistic belief) recognize that it is not anything that really can be promoted. Promoting atheism is promoting the absence (or at least reduced influence) of something. To promote atheism means little more than to advance the idea that religious belief is irrational and has tremendous destructive potential.

This is a viable starting point, but we need to have something besides just less religion to offer. We need to go beyond atheism. It is not enough to demonstrate the myriad problems associated with religious belief; we must help people find meaningful secular alternatives for meeting many of the needs currently met via religion. Just because we have managed to do this for ourselves does not mean that we will be effective promoters. Greater effort is needed.

This is why I am finding my excitement for The Humanist Symposium renewed. This blog carnival is not about critiquing religion or mocking the superstitious, although my regular readers will know that I occasionally indulge in both. No, this carnival is about promoting humanism. With humanism, we have something that can be celebrated and promoted. Think of it as the yin to atheism's yang. We need both.

To the atheists who oppose humanism (and I've encountered more than a few who are mildly hostile to the humanist philosophy), you may replace it with whatever you like. The point is that you have something real to promote.

The Posts

I am happy to present, in no particular order, the posts from this edition of the carnival:

Restoring a Sense of Awe and Wonder
Celebrating Us
Meaning and Humanism
On Religion
Postscript

What these excellent posts demonstrate, at least to me, is that many atheists are already comfortable with the idea of going beyond atheism. They recognize that no gods are necessary and have stripped such superstitions away to find an amazing world. They are well on their way to crafting a meaningful secular identity. To be sure, atheism is a valuable part but it is not the whole.

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If your submission was not included in this carnival, either I did not receive it or I determined that it was not a good fit with the guidelines provided by Daylight Atheism. I did not write these guidelines, but it is my job to enforce them as carnival host.

The next edition of The Humanist Symposium will be held on April 12, 2009, at Psychodiva's Mutterings FCD. To submit a post for consideration, please use the Blog Carnival submission form.

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