16 December 2007

Humanist Symposium

If you just want to browse through, the Symposium is here. At the last one, I didn't find a single article that I really liked, but this one has a lot of good stuff. My picks below the fold.

This is an excellent article, discussing secular philosophies and the problems with some of them, with some stabs at a solution. It is quite long, but well worth the read.

Next we have an article discussing disagreement, with the suggestion that people look rationally at the disagreements.

And I like this one, discussing making meaning for yourself rather than waiting for some external agent to impose it. I disagree that the universe has no mind. It has billions of minds on earth alone! `/^

My final pick is this discussion ego, pride and loneliness. Also long, but well worth the read.

So why do I enjoy atheist and humanist writing? Because it places emphasis and responsibility on each individual person, not on some external agent. I despise the lack of balance in the typical Christian approach of crediting God for all the good and blaming oneself for all the bad. I also despise the reverse position, of blaming religion for all the bad and crediting the good solely to secular sources, but that, I think, is an understandable backlash against the more common nonsense.

The Tao does not assign blame or credit, nor claim either for its own. The Tao just is. Blaming God or sin or Satan, those are convenient excuses that allow people to evade responsibility for their own actions. Whatever the reason, if I did it, I am responsible for that action. I can whine about my "sinful nature" all I want, and that one fundamental fact does not change. I can scream to God or Tao or Avalokiteshvara all I want and that fact still does not change. It's not a question of blame or forgiveness. It's a question of responsibility.

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