May 27, 2012 by Bill
Now my question: “Why should it be considered “courageous” to write the materials in my columns that can be found in any history book in any library in this country?”
Why is it “courageous” for me to write material that is accepted, and taught in the departments of religion in every major university in this country, or the world for that matter?
For instance, I write: “Our Founding Fathers, Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Franklin. Washington, Paine, were all Deists, classical humanists, who did not believe that Jesus was divine, and they did not believe that the bible was anything other than “literature,” and they did believe that the Christian church was a giant tyranny.” People write me and say “what courage to write like that.”
Well, what I have written can be found in the writings of the founding fathers themselves. It is hardly “courageous” to write facts and truth that are obvious and available in historical records.
Or, I write, “The virgin birth stories about Jesus are mythology, and virgin birth has been a universal theme in all religious traditions.” What courage, people write me. Well, again, it is hardly “courageous” to write what is accepted and taught in religion and literature classes in major universities all over the world.
Now, please think through the word “controversial.” I have lost count of the times I have been introduced as “that controversial religion columnist.”
Again, how can any statement or subject be “controversial” if it is taught and accepted in major universities all over the world?
May 20, 2012 by Bill
In religious humanism, people are the first and primary considerations. People are more important than authoritarian, dogmatic, brittle, religious laws, creeds, rules, theologies, beliefs and man-made doctrines. In a very blunt and direct attack on such absurdities, Jesus placed humans front and foremost.
Nothing must have so infuriated him as to see religious doctrine become more important than people. It was against religious law to feed or heal a person on the Sabbath. With scathing words, Jesus let them know that “the Sabbath was made for people…people were not made for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
Religious laws and institutions are not sacred. Creeds are not sacred. Theological dogma is not sacred. Man-made doctrines are not sacred. Jesus attacked authoritarian religion at every turn, replacing it with a humanitarian, humanistic religion. Jesus’ insistence that “the kingdom of God is within you,” as well as many other Biblical passages, is a clear expression of a non-authoritarian position.
The spirit behind Jesus’ parables and teachings is totally humanistic with a blinding emphasis on the importance of human beings, their needs, their potential, their divinity; pointing the way toward the full development of the human potential for excellence, love and brotherhood.
The vast majority of the evils inflicted upon humankind today are the product of dogmatic, religious authoritarianism – not humanism. If you can bear to read the history of the Christian church after it departed from humanism, I encourage you to do so. The beauty, goodness and justice of humanism will become obvious when placed alongside the hundreds of thousands of people tortured and killed by the authoritarian church. Read more
May 14, 2012 by Bill
The courage it takes to “be true to thine own self” is enormous. We have pressure from all sides to be everything other than our true selves. Pressure is often constant from family, peers, friends, society, relatives for us to be what “they” want us to be. Or that we do whatever it is “they” want us to do. The pressures of society can keep us divorced from ourselves for our entire lives.
One of the giant Federal Judges of our history addressed this problem. Learned Hand wrote: “Since our ancestors rose upon their hind legs to become Homo sapiens there have never been so many people who ate alike, slept alike, hated alike, loved alike, wore the same clothes and used the same furniture in the same houses, went to the same games and saw the same plays, read the same books and magazines, went to the same church and believed in the same God, and yet were all confidently assured that they were individuals and independent.”
There was an American giant of letters. He was admired over the entire world for his brilliance in thought and writing. His name was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He wrote of this problem of being true “to thine own self” in one of his most remarkable and penetrating essays. It is a very simple, direct answer to what you must do if you make the courageous choice to be true to yourself.