it is futile to do with more things that which can be done with fewer (on occam’s razor, part 3: secular humanism and the mystical skeptic)

“The philosophy of secular humanism—alternatively known by some adherents as Humanism, specifically with a capital ‘H’ to distinguish it from other forms of humanism—embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism, while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making.

It posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god. It does not, however, assume that humans are either inherently evil or innately good, nor does it present humans as being superior to nature. Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions.

Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology—be it religious or political—must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith.

Along with this, an essential part of secular humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy.” (Wikipedia)

the hard-hitting journal of the council for secular humanism

Free Inquiry is a regularly published magazine featuring secular humanist opinion and commentary. It is published by the Council for Secular Humanism, part of the Center for Inquiry. While it covers a road range of topics from a freethinking perspective over the course of several years, it seems to have focused—almost excessively, in my opinion—on the issues of creationism (and its adherents’ endless battle against logic and science) and the separation of church and state. 

Not that that is not germane, given the revival of fundamentalist Protestant religious fervor and its accompanying judgmental philosophy and, too often, the type of bigotry that those very believers associate with the fundamentalistism of other religions, notably Muslim, 

Am I a secular humanist? I guess so . . .

Years ago (I wish I could say how many but as the years go by they do tend to blend and blur and it really doesn’t matter anyway), Free Inquiry regularly ran a feature on its inside front cover on how to know if you are a secular humanist. If I am remembering correctly—and I may get the specifics of the inquiry wrong but I will nail the spirit of the inquiry right smack on its head!—there were 35 yes/no questions or statements.

I answered positive (yes) to some degree (mildly to wholeheartedly) to all 35 of the statements. 

Except that the desired response was 34 positives and one negative. So, I was actually 34 out of 35.

Using the simplest of math, that would seem to make me 97% of a secular humanist. And a “normal” person might think that’s enough—hell, more than enough, nyet? But not those secular humanists! Nosirreebob, 97% just ain’t good enough. And the reason why is simpler than the math: basically, the 34 positives have less value than the single negative.

Am I a secular humanist? I guess not . . .

What was the one question that I answered positive that the non-organized organization needed—nay, demanded!—a negative? “Do you believe in God?”

That single question has more power, more meaning than all of the other 34 combined. So, because I believe that the Big Bang Theory of creation is perfectly compatible with a “Creator” (God), I am neither qualified nor welcome into the secular humanist community . . .

Well, Hell’s Belles, then I guess I’m a mystical skeptic!

Without more than a mere mention of the fact that my first psychedelic experience took me to possibly the deepest/highest levels of that experience, and that it astounded me—then a raging agnostic bordering on atheist—that it was so very mystically religious.

That the vision of the “peak experience” was Indian/Hindu was even more mind-blowing—while my catholicism as beyond lapsed, at that stage in my life I would have expected something Zen-like or Taoistic, not Para-Brahmin, Adi Shakti, Shiva, Krishna, et al! But that’s another story . . .

I will end this with an observation that a once-friend made of me: he was an atheist who believed himself a practitioner of the presumed logic of dialectics (“a method of examining and discussing opposing ideas in order to find the truth” – Merriam-Webster).

When we met, he believed that he had met a kindred spirit, but was baffled by my acceptance of the possibility of things outside the realm of logic and science. He coined a term to describe my apparent belief-structure: “mystical skeptic.” And that appears to be who and what I am (although when I have to fill out any form that includes listing my religion, I write “Nealism” . . .

Comments, suggestions, additions, and arguments welcome!