HUMANIST CORNER March 2020
“Until a woman is recognized as more than just a mother, daughter, and a sister, and is valued as being an individual, I will continue working for our rights.” ”Rakhshanda Naz (Global Fund for women, advisor and activist working to end child, early and forced marriage)
“They say: Belief is important. I say: No, actions are important. Judge by deed not creed.” Robert G Ingersoll (The Great Agnostic)
Permit me one ore quote from Ingersoll. “It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon the book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but for the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have nothing to do.”
Can you imagine anyone uttering these words from the 19th century here in the 21st? But in our own Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles the word god never appears. However things such as justice and equity, the interconnected web of all existence and spiritual growth are emphasized strongly.
My dictionary defines dogma as “religious doctrine that’s proclaimed without proof.” We pride ourselves in being creedless and without dogma. On the other hand, ninety per cent of the world’s people follow one “proof less” denomination or another, all dealing in one way or the other with the hereafter. Their seeds of certainly often setting aside the here and now. Ms Naz, quoted above, hails from a country torn apart by religious fanaticism and much degradation of womankind.
There are growing numbers of “nones”, particularly among the young, but ask most people if they believe in God and the normal response is usually yes. Add “which” god and the matter becomes more complicated. The “spiritual” may have an all-inclusive God or Greater Power. But at its root religion is highly personal, having little to do with drive-in and mega-churches! But Homo sapien is a social animal even though the bible instructs us to go off into our closets to pray.
Blasphemy is the act of insulting, showing contempt or lack of reverence for a god or religion, and criminalized by laws repressing freedom of expression across the globe. Following the humanist life style I’m perfectly willing to accept any notion you may have regarding your faith – providing it does no harm and you don’t castigate or place me in peril for not joining in. The non-religious are often as scattered in their beliefs as their more devout (fill in the blank) brothers and sisters!
Some 120,000 Zoroastrians believe the deceased bodies should be placed on a high tower to be devoured by sun and birds so as not to pollute the earth below.
Fifty thousand Christian Scientists in the U.S. believe diseases are caused not by germs, bacilli or viruses but by lapses of faith.
About one billion Hindus worship a god with the head of an elephant.
An estimated 2.7 million Shintos wave silk and paper streamers in a rite of purification, and new car owners take their cars to a shrine to be prayed over and purified.
Some 1.6 billion Muslims and fourteen million Jews cut the foreskin of baby boys in service to their faith. Let’s not even discuss African states with female versions of the practice!
Mormons, numbering, about fourteen million worldwide, believe ancient Hebrews of America buried golden tablets on a hillside in the United States. These were later recovered and translated with the help of angels.
The 8.4 million Jehovah’s Witnesses deny life-saving blood transfusions to their dying children in the name of religion.
The 1.2 billion Catholic celebrate their faith by eating the flesh and blood of their heavenly savior through spiritual transformation of bread and wine.
Surely it isn’t blasphemy to point out such concepts and rituals widely practiced in this 21st century setting. Indeed, many honest and devout individuals feel the fires, floods, African locusts and the Middle Eastern mess are all part of the “plan.” They’re certainly free to pursue such thoughts in these awesome times of change and fear. But personally, I must side with Ingersoll. Ultimately ALL must be judged by deed not creed. Sorry this ran so long, and apologies to anyone who might have felt slighted by my observations.
HUMANIST CORNER March 2020