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Atheism United Posts Link To Our Blog Article

Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom, published in 1894, is a humanist philosophy of knowledge and ethics based on the empirical observation of the mind. So it has value to anyone interested in science more so than blind belief, whether conservative or progressive, spiritualist or atheist, idealist or realist. This includes the secular, agnostic and atheist community, which has a strong interest in science. We have been using twitter, "Ethical Humanism" to reach this community. 

A new atheist online magazine called Atheism United posted a link to our recent blog post "First Impression Judgments Are An Error In Thinking". It is exciting to have attracted interest from the atheist community.

A recent poll shows a 13% decline in the U.S. in those who say they are "Religious" while Atheism is rising around the world. This decline would be expected in our age of science as "We no longer want to believe; we want to know." Philosophy Of Freedom 0.3

Well known atheists/agnostics include Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozaniak, John Lennon and Mark Twain.

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Common survival instincts
We all have survival instincts in common. We stay alive by obeying our needs for food, shelter and water. This promotes competition of the “survival of the fittest” where the weak are left behind.

Common social instincts
Gathering in families, tribes, clans, and nations increases everyone’s chance of survival. We get along by obeying social laws and constructing common social instincts.

Common moral code
As the size of the group increases it becomes more difficult to find common things they all share. This divisiveness is resolved with a common moral code from an Absolute power that no one can dispute.

The common moral code assigns value, worth, and legitimacy to our life. The truth is humans create moral codes, emphasize them, and eventually fight or oppress each other over them. The commands of duty cause the members to turn their backs on the “others” who do not obey the same moral code as themselves.

Obeying physical instincts and external moral codes will always lead to systems of oppression and war. Is there anything we have in common that will not end up causing conflict?

Common world of ideas
We share a common world of ideas. Philosophy Of Freedom 5.8“The concept of a triangle which my mind grasps is the same as the concept which my neighbor's mind grasps.” Without a common world of ideas there could be no philosophy, science or even language.

Within the world of ideas are universal ethical ideals. The “Golden Rule” that one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself can be found historically in some form in almost every ethical tradition.

If we live by ideals individually selected from the common world of ideas and are not ruled by survival instincts or duty to external moral codes, a harmony of intentions is possible. By understanding the ideal intentions of others we realize we are all striving for the “good” in our own way.

“The world of ideas which inspires me is no other than the one that inspires my fellow human beings. I differ from my neighbor, not at all because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we receive different intuitions. He desires to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both draw our intuitions really from the world of ideas, and do not obey mere external impulses (physical or moral), then we can not but meet one another in striving for the same aims, in having the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between human beings who are free.” Philosophy Of Freedom 9.10

reference: Peter Kaufman

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The Values We All Stand For

Society consists of a wide variety of individuals. How can we get along if each is asserting their own individual aims? Moralists believe unity is possible only if we are held together by a common moral code. This leads to the belief in a higher authority, a God, to bestow upon us a moral code that will unite us. (such as Moses and the 10 commandments)

The moralist does not understand that we all share a common world of ideals. The ideals that inspire me are the same that inspire others. We differ because we select different ideals from our common world of ideals. We each desire to live out our chosen ideals. POF 9.10

The America we love welcomes a diversity of individuals striving to express their highest ideals. During the cold war a fearful America retreated more to the Moralist authoritarian view “In God We Trust” as the source of morality, leaving out many humanists --ethical individualists who have a deeper understanding that the human being is the source of morality. This video explains:

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Comparing Feminism And Humanism

Humanists oppose sexism on principle
As an ethical individualist and humanist I “affirm the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom.” 2002 Amsterdam Declaration of the World Humanist Congress

So certainly I oppose sexism since it is another form of prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, only this time based on ones gender. Both men and women can be victims of sexism. Men are expected to be the aggressive, rational, and dominant provider while women are the passive, intuitive, supportive nurturer.

It is impossible to really understand a human being if we judge them according to gender. But men see in woman, woman in men, too much of the others gender characteristics, and too little of what is individual. Gender stereotyping is a barrier to getting to know a unique individual. POF 14.3

Feminists oppose sexism on practical grounds
In practical life sexism does less harm to men than to women. Empirical studies have found widely shared cultural beliefs that men are more socially valued and more competent than women in a number of activities.

Feminists advocate for the rights of the underprivileged gender. The feminist movement fights for more opportunities for women because they are considered to be in the inferior position and need to be raised up to equality. Gender equality will be achieved in practical life by demanding change that improves the life of women.

Comparing feminism and humanism
A humanist will oppose all sexism on principle while a feminist opposes female inequality on practical grounds. Both sides would surely agree in principle that they support eliminating all forms of male or female gender bias. Each person, male or female, has the right to freely determine their activity in life according to their own individual abilities and inclinations. 

On the practical side of gender rights, more social changes need to be made for woman, but this shouldn't prevent supporting the rights of men in areas where men face gender discrimination. Otherwise feminism would contradict itself by seeming to be a gender biased movement.


Gender identity

While there are real biological differences between the sexes, gender is generally considered to be a social construction. Gender socialization begins at birth and occurs through family, education, peer groups, and mass media. Repeated socialization over time leads men and women into a false sense that they are acting "naturally", rather than following a socially constructed role.

Each human nature is unique. Human beings must be allowed to decide for themselves what social roles are suited to their particular nature, and not be judged if these roles do not fit what others consider appropriate gender behavior. POF 14.4

Only an individual knows what lies within their own "natural disposition". Nonconforming gender people face discrimination, oppression, and violence for not adhering to society's traditional gender roles. That is why LGBT rights is a human rights issue.

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How Do We Move Beyond Social Tribalism?

Feeling of commonality
One of the essential elements of friendship and of a healthy society is a feeling of commonality. Our commonality with others splits us into groups according to race, ethnicity, nation, family, gender, church and spiritual group.


Separation into tribal circles

When we feel many differences with others our social connections fracture and we retreat into smaller and smaller circles. The separation into tribal circles is a major problem around the world. Look what it has done to American politics. Traditional and contemporary tribalism keep us divided and creates competition and conflict.

Still, we all need friendship and we all need human connections. We can't survive or thrive as individuals without friends. What do we all have in common that allows us to connect with everyone, even those outside our own tribe?

Community of the world of ideas
Social community between all human beings is possible because of the community of the world of ideas. What makes human beings unique is what we all have in common –thinking. As thinking human beings we all have access to the universal world of ideas.

Our thinking reaches out beyond our separate existence and relates itself to the universal world-order, according to Rudolf Steiner in his Philosophy Of Freedom. There is no other common element in the separate things of the world, no personal God, force or matter, other than the ideal content which thinking supplies.

Unity of absolute principle
“In so far as we think, we are the All-One Being which pervades everything. We are conscious of an absolute principle revealing itself in us, a principle which is universal.” POF 5.8

Unity of mind
“There is only one single concept of 'triangle'. The concept of a triangle which my mind grasps is the same as the concept which my neighbor’s mind grasps.” POF 5.8

Unity of world
“It is futile to seek for any other common element in the separate things of the world, than the ideal content which thinking supplies. All attempts to discover any other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain for ourselves by the conceptual analysis of our percepts, are bound to fail. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind will, can be accepted by us as the universal principle of unity in the world.” POF 5.9

True individuality
"By means of thinking we take part in the universal process of the cosmos. By means of feeling we withdraw into the narrow confines of our own being." "True individuality belongs to the one who reaches up with their feelings to the farthest possible extent into the region of the ideal." POF 6.8

reference: John Seed

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Top 5 Reasons To Study The Philosophy Of Freedom

Top 5 Reasons To Study The Philosophy Of Freedom

1. It is Science
Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is the result of introspective observation of the human mind following the methods of science. The subtitle is “A Modern Philosophy Of Life Developed By Scientific Methods”.

The Philosophy Of Freedom is not philosophy as such, but rather a description of Rudolf Steiner's experiences on the way to freedom. It does not give a definition of freedom that we merely memorize, but points to a place where freedom originates --the conceptual realm of universal concepts-- where free thinking, pure and unbiased, can be experienced.

“What I was really trying to do in The Philosophy of Freedom, was to locate freedom empirically, and thus put it on a solidly scientific basis.”

2. It is Freedom
Steiner divides the question of freedom into free thinking and free morality. Intellectual freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perception (the outer appearance of the world) and our conception (the inner working of the world) with knowledge.

Moral freedom is achieved when we bridge the gap between our perceptible unfree nature (built up by nature, society and religion) and the concept of free individuality (ethical individualism) through the course of one's development with the expression of our ideals in life. To become a free individuality we need to have a clear understanding of what free individuality is. POF 9-11

True freedom is only achieved when knowledge and morality are united. (morality informed by knowledge) POF 10-1918 Addition

3. It is Thought Training
Incomprehensible!…. Baffles the experts!….. You’ll never finish it!….. It’s a tangle of thought!….
These are the comments on the disappointing experience of readers when Rudolf Steiner first published The Philosophy of Freedom in 1894.

The book is intentionally composed in a certain way to broaden and deepen the readers thinking. Each chapter expresses a variety of views leaving the reader free to arrive at their own conclusions. It is independent thinking so we cannot rely on familiar terms and images but must instead make an effort to “intuitively” grasp the universal concepts pointed to by the words. This training in the realm of universal thought is the thought training required to attain freedom.

“The primary purpose of my book is to serve as thought training, training in the sense that the special way of both thinking and entertaining these thoughts is such as to bring the soul life of the reader into motion in somewhat the way that gymnasts exercise their limbs.”
4. It is Humanism
Rudolf Steiner's philosophy of life recognizes the "human individual as the source of all morality and the center of all life" POF 9.12 and that “if we all really draw from the world of ideas, and do not follow physical or spiritual impulses” we find that we all share the same ideals and can get along within a harmony of intentions. POF 9.10

“A personal God is nothing but a human being transplanted into a Beyond.”
POF The Consequences Of Monism

5. It is not Anthroposophy
The Philosophy Of Freedom is independent of the speculations of Anthroposophy. It is a Science Of Mind that is verifiable to any normal person who can recall their thinking processes and think about thinking. Anthroposophy is different. It is a Science Of Spirit that requires extremely rare clairvoyant thinking capacities to verify its findings.

Near the end of his life, Steiner suggested that The Philosophy of Freedom would outlive all his other works. It stands on its own completely independent of his later spiritual research and organizations,

“You will find nothing at all in The Philosophy of Freedom that is derived from clairvoyant communications of spiritual science.”

“this book occupies a position completely independent of my writings on actual spiritual scientific matters... What I have said in this book may be acceptable even to some who, for reasons of their own, refuse to have anything to do with the results of my researches into the spiritual realm.” POF, 1918 Preface to the Revised Edition

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Review of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom Chapter 11 
WORLD PURPOSE AND LIFE PURPOSE (The Destiny Of Man)

Purposeless Universe
The universe is ruled by a harmony of laws that we can discover. But there is no purpose to the universe because cause and effect is neutral and without purpose. Purpose is only possible when we have an idea and envision the action before we act.

Only human action is purposeful
Everything is formed causally and lawfully, including the stars, plants, animals and machines. Because something is formed according to law does not make it purposeful. Only human action is purposeful when the human being sets the laws of operation, the idea, the motive, of the action. We envision the result, as an idea (law), before we act. Only we can determine the law of our action, while everything else is merely determined by law.

How Do You Find Meaning In A Purposeless Universe?

13.1 Believe in a God
You can believe in a wise God who knows what is best, then all you need to do is find out what God intends for the world and act accordingly. Or you can give up childish superstitions that supernatural beings are looking over you and will take care of you, deal with reality as it is, find meaning and live a purposeful life.

11.4 Avoid Imagining Purpose In Nature
It is very easy to invent imaginary purposes in nature. The naive mind knows how we bring about an event, and from this he concludes that nature must do it in the same way.

11.5 Laws Of Nature
Purpose is only found in human action. Look for laws of nature, but not for purposes of nature.

11.6 Purposes Of Life
Life purposes which are not set by humans for themselves, are not legitimate. Nothing is purposeful except what the human being has first made so, for there is purposefulness only through the realization of an idea.

11.7 Human Destiny
Human life has only the purpose and the destination that the human being gives it. To the question: What is my task in life? The only answer is: the task we set for ourselves. My mission in the world is not predetermined, but at every moment is the one I choose. I do not enter upon life's voyage with a fixed route mapped out for me.

11.8 Only Human Beings Realize Purposeful Ideas
Ideas are realized only by human agents. Consequently, it is illegitimate to speak of the embodiment of ideas by history. All such statements as "History is the evolution of human beings towards freedom," or "the realization of the moral world-order," etc., and so forth, are untenable.

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Call to ban autonomous killer robots
A few weeks ago the Future of Life Institute released a letter signed by more than 1,500 artificial intelligence, robotics and technology researchers calling for a ban on 'killer robots' which are only a few years away from becoming a reality. Among them were physicist Stephen Hawking, technologist Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and philosopher Noam Chomsky.

Autonomous weapons target and fire weapons without human intervention. They might include, for example, armed quadcopters that can search for and eliminate people meeting certain pre-defined criteria. They do not include cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones for which humans make all targeting decisions.

Global killer robot arms race
The concern is that unless these autonomous weapons are banned now a global killer robot arms race is virtually inevitable, or may already have begone. The United States is a leader in this technological development. Several other countries – including China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom – have also been involved.

Brings up ethical questions
What value are we putting on human life if we delegate the responsibility for deciding who lives and who dies to machines? Do we want to give robots the means and authority to inflict violent force on us? Yikes!


Ban killer humans and killing humans

I can't imagine the US agreeing to give up a technological advantage it has in developing killer robots. Why not encourage the development of killer robots and instead ban killer humans? Then ban the killing of humans. Let the robots battle it out. Sport has done well to divert the male primitive survival need for fighting to games.

There are currently robotic competitions held around the world where robots have to defeat other robots in order to win.

Value the human above all else
Rudolf Steiner's The Philosophy Of Freedom is humanistic and places the human individual at the “center of all life”. POF 9.12  We go to war and kill humans because we place something else above humans, whether it be God, nation, politics, ideology, and now technology. By valuing humans more than technology an ethical solution is possible.

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Top story is the death of Cecil the Lion
Last week a hunter illegally killed a protected lion in Zimbabwe. The global media universe blew up with an outpouring of emotions, ranging from sympathy to outrage over the killing of a prized African Lion named Cecil. The amount of rage, distress, and sadness on social media and in the news over Cecil the Lion the past few days is almost unparalleled.

Do we love animals more than humans?
Recent research suggests that people are twice as likely to give money to save a dog than help a dying child. Why does the outpouring of emotion over the killing of a lion far surpass the series of killings of human beings over the past month? The outrage over Cecil's killing has trumped the black victims of violence, starving Syrian refugees and the shooting of children in Gaza.

Why do we love?
A characteristic of romantic love is over idealizing the loved one to the point of becoming blind to any faults. "Love depends on the thoughts we form of the loved one. The more we idealize the loved one in our thoughts, the more blissful is our love." POF 1.11

Why do we love lions? A lion is a very idealized figure. The lion is the "king of the jungle" or "king of the beasts", hence lions are popular symbols of royalty, stateliness, bravery and power. Imposing statues of lions were placed at the gates of imperial palaces, official residences, temples and tombs.

Lions call up ideals of courage, dignity and strength in overcoming difficulties. One of the best examples of this symbolism is C. S. Lewis's Aslan, the beloved lion of Narnia, a lion who expresses the highest of human ideals.

This also explains why we love celebrities and "lionize" people as heroes when we tag them with ideal characteristics even though they may not be accurate representations.

Forming negative image
If we are Islamophobic we think terrorism when we see a Muslim. If we are racist we think ghetto when we see a Black person. These are not “ideal” images that we are forming so we lack the love.

Noticing good qualities
"There dwells something noble within each human being." POF 0.0 If you cannot see that each human being has value and are plagued by the negative images you have formed of other people you can change your self by making an effort to notice their good qualities,

“Many pass by the good qualities without notice. One, however, perceives them, and just because he does, love awakens. What else has he done except perceive what hundreds have failed to see?” POF 1.12

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Ethical Individualists have no ethical obligation to obey the laws of the State, though they usually do. POF 9.12  If they were to end up in prison, to pass the time they would likely want to start a Philosophy Of Freedom study group. Would they have that right?

Religious right to study
Inmates of a prison approved “religion” have special rights such as the right to have weekly classroom/study time, access to study materials and the right to congregate with other members of their group. Simply put, if you said you were religious, you got a number of perks not afforded to non-religious groups.

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Humanist denied right to study
Prisoner Jason Holden was prohibited from starting a Humanist study group because Humanism was not on the list of accepted religions, so he sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Ruling favors rights of Humanist
The Federal Bureau of Prisons agreed to give inmates who identify as Humanists the same type of accommodations it provides to those who practice a religion. A settlement was reached and Humanism was added to the prison manual broadening the meaning of religion to include other inmate beliefs and practices.

In his 2014 ruling the judge wrote, “the Supreme Court said that the government must not aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs…Therefore, the court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes.”

While it is unfortunate that the only manner in which these rights can be protected is under the umbrella of “religion,” this is nonetheless a significant victory for science, reason, and non-religious ethics.

Ethical Individualism is a humanist philosophy of life
The ruling was a victory for Ethical Individualism since it is a philosophy of life that fits in the Humanist designation. The source of its ethics is human thought, not the supernatural or God,

“A moral act is never explained by tracing it back to some continuous supernatural influence (a divine government), or to historical revelation (the giving of the ten commandments) or to the appearance of God (Christ) on earth. Moral causes must be looked for in the human being, who is the bearer of morality.” POF 12.8

"The ethical laws which the Metaphysician regards as issuing from a higher power are human thoughts; the ethical world order is the free creation of human beings.” POF 10.8

Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population
An extensive 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center shows the Christian share of the US population is sharply declining while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing. As theistic religion is replaced by an ethics whose source is the free human being, society will need to recognize the rights of a broader range of worldviews and philosophies.

Reference: Rachel Ford

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Human Maturity Will End Religion

Susceptibility to religion
Two social factors that makes one susceptible to religious belief are lack of education and low income. A recent study found that those without an education and people with low to medium income are the most likely to be religious. The most religious countries tend to be those who lack basic human needs, opportunity and well-being (corruption, income disparity, child mortality, access to medical care, suicide rates, and so on).

The happy believer
On the other hand, many studies show that religious believers are happier than nonbelievers. Belief in a good and wise God who wants to create the best possible world is an optimistic viewpoint. All we need to do is find out God's will and act accordingly. By obeying God we are happy to know we are doing what is right. Life is worth living. POF 13.1


Or did Karl Marx get it right about religion when he said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

End of religion
Eventually, all developing human beings will reach the point where they will seek truth themselves without the need to be led by supposed religious revelation. The mature person no longer wants to believe; they want to know through their own thinking. When that fact has been thoroughly recognized it will be the end of religion. Whether some higher power or other guides our fate to the good or to the bad is not a concern we will have. We ourselves must determine the path we have to travel. (Rudolf Steiner, Goethean Science, VI)

Mature human beings
Mature human beings do not sacrifice themselves for the sake of duty to religious revelation. The revelation regarded as issuing from a higher power are the thoughts of human beings. Mature human beings act according to their own ethical insights. Success will depend on whether the will is strong enough, continuously inspired by new intuitions, to attain its goal even though the path is full of thorns. They find in the achievement of what they want the true enjoyment of life.

"Ethical ideals are human intuitions, they are the driving forces that our own spirit harnesses; we want them, because their realization is our highest pleasure.” POF 13.11

reference: Jessica Xiao

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Humanism

A “Humanist” is someone whose world-view gives special importance to human concerns, values and dignity. If that is what a Humanist is, then most of us qualify as Humanists. But those who organize under the label “Humanism” tend to sign up to a narrower view.

Accepts the methods of science
A key humanist value is the high importance set on scientific method and reason as the proven route to secure knowledge about the universe. Humanists understand that science is a method, not a set of facts. Scientific method is the best way of finding reliable knowledge.

Rejects transcendental realm
Many Humanists narrow their view further to include Naturalism. Naturalism is the belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world. Naturalism can be similar in certain ways to Materialism or Physicalism that finds insufficient evidence and reasons to accept the existence of a non-material transcendental realm. This distinguishes them from the religious who believe in a celestial realm of existence.

Is it possible to practice the methods of science and still reject the existence of a transcendental realm?

Transcendental realm of concepts
There can be no science without entering the transcendental realm of pure concepts. Whatever theory a scientist proposes, it must be explained in clear conceptual form so it can be rethought by others. Communication between scientists is only possible because the universal concept of a triangle that my mind grasps is the same as the concept which someone else's mind grasps.

To explain the science in a billiard shot we, we find the right concepts and add a second process in the conceptual realm.

"The purpose of my reflection is to construct concepts of the process. I connect the concept of an elastic ball with certain other concepts of mechanics, and consider the special circumstances which obtain in the instance in question. I try, in other words, to add to the process which takes place without any interference, a second process which takes place in the conceptual sphere." POF 3.0

The universal concept of triangle is not derived from the material world because it is not sense-perceptible. It is an ideal that contains all possible triangles. We can find and observe particular triangles in the world but not the universal concept triangle. The concept triangle is found in our mind as part of the transcendental realm of pure concepts.

Not everything in our mind is a pure concept. We have to make an effort to rise to the level of pure concepts just as the scientist, mathematician and philosopher do who must think in pure concepts to accomplish anything. Many mathematicians believe a non-natural mathematical realm exists. They suppose that 2 + 2 = 4 is made true by how things stand in this universal, non-natural, mathematical reality. If such a mathematical reality exists, then the limitations of naturalism are false.

Does this make reality dualistic?
Does the existence of a transcendental world in addition to the sense-perceptible world mean reality is dualistic? Not at all. Mathematics is expressed in the world and it also exists in the realm of pure concepts. This is true of other concepts. We experience the full reality from two sides, an observable part in the world and a conceptual part that arises in our mind.

"It is due, as we have seen, to our organization that the full totality of reality, including our own selves as subjects, appears at first as a duality. Knowledge transcends this duality by fusing the two elements of reality, the percept and the concept, into the complete thing." POF 7.0

The concept is the unifying rule or principle that unites the separate parts we perceive in the world. 

“All attempts to discover any other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain for ourselves by the conceptual analysis of our percepts, are bound to fail. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind will (of Schopenhauer and Hartmann), can be accepted by us as the universal principle of unity in the world.” POF 5.9

To remain true to the principles of Humanism such as scientific inquiry requires the acceptance of a transcendental realm.

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Is America A Christian Nation?

"The human individual is the fountain of all morality and the center of all life. State and society exist only because they have necessarily grown out of the life of individuals." POF 9.12

A Public Policy Polling (PPP) national survey conducted between February 20th and February 22nd of Republican voters, found that an astonishing 57 percent of Republicans want to establish Christianity as the official national religion. Only 30 percent oppose making Christianity the national religion.

We really need to stop this ridiculous argument about becoming a Christian nation. If there should be any doubt, let us listen to the founding fathers themselves.This from John Adams:

"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."

This from Thomas Jefferson:

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. ... But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding...."

Anybody who ignorantly insists that we should throw out the Constitution and become a Christian nation or were founded on Christian ideals need only look at the four most important documents from our early history -- the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist Papers and the Constitution -- to disprove that ridiculous religious bias. All four documents unambiguously prove our secular origins.

Declaration of Independence (1776)
The most important assertion in this document is that "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Note that the power of government is derived not from any god but from the people. No appeal is made in this document to a god for authority of any kind. In no case are any powers given to religion in the affairs of man.

Only four times is there any reference at all to higher powers -- "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," "Supreme Judge of the world," "their Creator," and "divine Providence" -- and in all four cases the references to a higher power appeal to the idea of inherent human dignity, never implying a role for a god in government.

Articles of Confederation (1777)
Throughout the entire document, in all 13 articles, the only reference to anything remotely relating to a god is a term used one time, "Great Governor of the World," and even then only in the context of general introduction, like "Ladies and gentlemen, members of the court...."

U.S. Constitution (1787) This one is easy, because the Constitution of the United States of America makes zero reference to a god or Christianity. The only reference to religion, found in Article VI, is a negative one: "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." And of course we have the First Amendment, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Federalist Papers (1787-88)

As with the Constitution, at no time is a god ever mentioned in the Federalist Papers. At no time is Christianity every mentioned. Religion is only discussed in the context of keeping matters of faith separate from concerns of governance, and of keeping religion free from government interference.

The founding fathers could not be clearer on this point: God has no role in government; Christianity has no role in government. They make this point explicitly, repeatedly, in multiple founding documents. We are not a Christian nation.

"In God We Trust"
Our national obsession with God in politics is actually a recent phenomenon and would seem completely alien to any of our founders. "In God We Trust" was first placed on United States coins in 1861, during the Civil War. Teddy Roosevelt tried to remove the words from our money in 1907 but was shouted down. Only in 1956 was that expression adopted as the national motto by the 84th Congress.

"One nation under God"
The clause "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was inserted only in 1954, when President Eisenhower signed legislation to recognize "the dedication of our Nation and our people to the Almighty."

Mostly taken from an article by Jeff Schweitzer

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Free Download Of Ethical Humanism Quotes

Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom is an Ethical Humanist worldview based on free thinking and expressed in Ethical Individualism. GO HERE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD of over 100 Ethical Humanism quotes from The Philosophy Of Freedom.

Ethical Humanism Quotes From Chapter 10 Philosophy Of Freedom And Monism

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note: Rudolf Steiner was a critic of his contemporary Theodor Herzl's goal of a Zionist state, as well as of any other ethnically determined state, as he considered ethnicity to be an outmoded basis for social life and civic identity.

Editorial
Jewish Daily Forward

Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprising and decisive victory in the Israeli elections has created a wrenching dilemma for many American Jews: how to continue to love Israel while a government that violates many of our community’s values is in place.

This may not be an issue for those who unequivocally support Netanyahu’s aggressive, nationalistic stance, and cheer the fact that he won by dismissing the two pillars of American Mideast policy: the creation of a two-state solution with the Palestinians and the pursuance of a nuclear deal with Iran. The Bibi chorus of our community is already gloating, excusing the candidate’s offensive words about Arab voters, quickly accepting his “clarifications” and falling back on the ancient pull of peoplehood to rally American Jews once again.

It may not work so well this time.

The denial of Palestinian statehood aspirations and the blatant resort to racist statements that Netanyahu expressed in the last days of his campaign won’t soon be forgotten or reconciled, no matter what he now says.

Thus, the dilemma. For years we have been told that we must put aside our liberal values – the values that have allowed us to prosper into the Diaspora’s largest, most proud and significant community – when it comes to Israel. Ignore the occupation. Ignore the domination of an ultra-Orthodox rabbinate.

The occupation and settlement growth can’t continue indefinitely without dramatic change or renewed violence. For one thing, Israel’s already fraught diplomatic and economic relations with Europe will certainly worsen.

It will be harder to contain the growing resentment on college campuses and the growing alienation of many younger Jews. And it will be much harder to support the unquestioning amount of U.S. financial, military and diplomatic aid that Israel receives every year when its government sometimes works against American interests and policies.

The question now for us is how to maintain a genuine connection to Israel and what we believe are its deeply grand and humanistic values while distancing ourselves from a leader who stands for the opposite.

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note: Rudolf Steiner was a critic of his contemporary Theodor Herzl's goal of a Zionist state, as well as of any other ethnically determined state, as he considered ethnicity to be an outmoded basis for social life and civic identity.

By Stephanie Van Hook
Common Dreams

Dr. Mona El-Farra, recently made headlines on Democracy Now! with her plea to end the military assault on Gaza with one powerful statement: “We are human beings.” She is, of course, absolutely right. Human beings live in Gaza, and it seems like nothing could be more obvious. Of course, what she is really saying is something much deeper. She’s saying, that to the people in Gaza, it seems like we have somehow forgotten that human beings are there.

For insight into these questions, we might first explore the basic dynamic of conflict escalation. Conflict, in itself, is not at issue — it’s the image we have of the human beings with whom we engage in conflict. Michael Nagler, maintains in his book, that conflict escalates increasingly toward violence — according to the degree of dehumanization in the situation. Violence, in other words, doesn’t occur without dehumanization.

Dehumanization is a backdrop making violence possible — both directly, like a bomb, and structurally, like exploitation. By constantly imprinting that negative image of the human being in our minds, even if we don’t perpetuate direct violence, we certainly can’t deny that we live under the institutions that inflict violence on others for us, be it corporations, the military or the police.

The most urgent struggle of today is to reclaim the human image and restore its dignity.

We may need to draw strength from our imaginations as we resist dehumanization, keeping our eyes on the problem without demeaning the person. But what greater purpose can the imagination serve than to help us do that? Carol Flinders affirms that it is one of the most powerful tools of our nature when she writes, “Imagination seems to be a vital component of genuine nonviolent resistance, for it allows us to hold on to a positive view of ourselves no matter what the world tells us we are.”

Mowing The Grass 
Jafar M Ramini Salem-News.com

(LONDON) - Today is Sunday and in the West it is a day of leisure. A popular activity is tending well-manicured gardens, enjoying the peace and quiet and mowing the grass.

Mowing the grass in Israeli military speak has a different connotation altogether. ‘Mowing the grass’ is a recognized Israeli military strategy as defined by Professor Efraim Inbar and Dr Eitan Shamir, both of the Begin-Sadat Center of Strategic Studies at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.

The grass they have in mind, particularly in Gaza, is every living thing and every standing structure.

Professor Inbar and Dr Shamir are not bashful about this strategy. They say: ‘Against an implacable, well-entrenched, non-state enemy like the Hamas, Israel simply needs to “mow the grass” once in a while in order to degrade enemy capabilities.’

Just conjure up the image of a gardening nursery stocked to the brim with many plants, from tiny saplings to mature, not to say elderly, trees. Now change the plants to human beings. Because, horrifying as it may look or sound, this is exactly what has been happening in, around and over Gaza for the last four weeks.

This is not a new policy. It has nothing to do with accusing Hamas of capturing the three Israelis squatters without a shred of evidence. It has nothing to do with ineffective rockets fired from Gaza. It is an unwavering Israeli military policy of land theft and resources and genocide in Palestine.

Abhorrent, I know. But for this madness to stop it is incumbent on the American people to call upon their government to stop supplying Israel with state-of-the-art armory, blanket political and diplomatic cover and huge amounts of money. No matter what.

This video is a speech by an American Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Christopher Hedges. He is not muzzled by Zionism, Congress or the corporate media. He calls it as it is. Please listen.

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Ethical Activist - Questioning Bias

Qasim Aslam

Qasim co-founded The History Project (THP) in Pakistan. Through its programs, history students are encouraged to understand the other side of the story and to question their assumptions. THP promotes critical thinking, being open to diverse perspectives and questioning bias in all forms of media.

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