Humanism, not religion, is our salvation

Posted by admin | Posted on October 16, 2016

Typhoon Ruby is headed our way and already I see dozens of Facebook posts urging people to pray that it will be deflected, for God to spare the country, and so on. If the effectivity of prayers that came before past super typhoons are any indication, I doubt if the results would be any different this time around. Not that I am longing for a disaster. I would be delighted if some freak force of nature caused this one to go astray or to dissipate altogether. But I am of the opinion that prayers
and holy books don’t make good shelters, life boats or first aid kits.

What good did prayers do when Yolanda struck Tacloban? Was there a divine force field that somehow blocked the path of Pablo when it struck various parts of Mindanao? How about Ondoy, Milenyo and so many others like them?
What stands out in any human tragedy is not the presence of some mystical force, but rather the resilience of the human spirit. Human hands reach out to help, comfort and rebuild. Human hearts feel compassion and sympathize with those who suffer.
Humans helping fellow humans, humans caring for and loving fellow humans — this is what humanism is all about, and it is what will save us — not some pie-in-the-sky salvation with promises of angelic choruses or 72 virgins — but real and tangible solutions in the here and now.
Humanism is a “philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively.” (from Wikipedia)
Being a humanist does not necessarily mean that one gives up religion or belief in a god. It means that one is able to see past the divisiveness and us vs. them mentality that many religions cultivate in their followers. The world would be a better place if people placed less emphasis on religion and more on humanism. After all, underneath our skin colors and beyond our regional cultures and practices, we are essentially the same.
Religion, when not tempered by clear and rational thinking, has a strange way of distorting reality. It can make you think that death and suffering in this life is ok, because you will be justly compensated for it in the afterlife. So it creates a fatalistic mentality of not exhausting all possible solutions to alleviate pain and misery (because “it can’t be
done anyway, and this world is going to get worse and worse and will end soon and Jesus will come back and make things right.”)
Humanism, however, doesn’t wait for some magic man in the sky to come and make things right. It places the burden squarely (and rightly) on our shoulders. If we want to make the world a better place, then it is our responsibilty and duty to plan and act accordingly. It is on us to research and develop the means to stay healthy, prolong life, and improve its quality.
Religion teaches that your life is not in your hands but in the hands of some unknown, unseen entity. Religion makes you believe that you are pawns moved around according to the will and plan of some invisible master.
Humanism teaches that your life is your own to shape and that you have a huge responsibility in creating your own future and the kind of world that you want to live in.
Humanism and Religion are not incompatible though as many religious thinkers have pushed through the boundaries of doctrine and dogma and truly see and value other humans for who and what they really are, and I applaud and respect these people.
It is only when religion becomes too dogmatic that it becomes uncaring. Even Jesus berated the Pharisees when they stressed the law over compassion and kindness. “Man was not made for the Sabbath,” he said, “but the Sabbath for man.”
I may be critical of religion, but when a fellow human is in need, I will gladly help, not because God tells me so, but because I am human and I can empathize and share the pain. The storm is coming. Stay safe. Be prepared. And I wish you well.
Written by: Andy Uyboco of SunStar Davao. This article first appeared on the writer’s personal page.  Reach him at andy@freethinking.me for feedback and suggestions.

Other good reads...

HAPI Hearts Day – A view from a Swiss Guest

February 22, 2016 HAPI hearts day – Valentines day 2016 Last Sunday I found myself in Alabang for the HAPI Riles Nutrition Campaign. It was the second occasion that I was able to attend a HAPI feeding and it was most certainly not my last time. Since it was Valentines day as well, everything felt […]

HAPI Junior: 2 Years and Counting

Time flies so fast and the milestones that we have achieved can sometimes be taken for granted because of how busy we are. The Juniors were gathered around recently for a meeting, usually talking about their future endeavors when they find themselves realizing that it’s been 2 years since HAPI Junior was established. They looked […]

Lyceum Univ. Debate Society -HAPI LITERACY CLASS teaches the Art of Reasoning

The first leg of the LDS-HAPI Literacy Class is comprised of four sessions which are anchored to the study of the Art of Reasoning.  Written and Submitted By: Alas Meive On the eighteenth day of September, members of the Lyceum University Debate Society (LDS) visited the HAPI-adopted community in Muntinlupa City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. With […]

Altering The Alternate World

ALTERING THE ALTERNATE WORLD

Altering The Alternate World by Steven A. Angelo   There had been a series of stories of people in their struggle during this health crisis. Due to intensive quarantine restrictions, and lockdowns, people have longed for their reconnection to the real world: to communicate with others, have fun, party all night, take on scenic trips, […]

A Birthday Wish for ALL from John Isaac Saguit : Can we just Get Along?

February 19, 2016 I don’t want to start my birthday with loads of negative emotions, so I’m just gonna let these all out. You already probably heard about it. Yes, about Manny Pacquiao’s statement, his usage of words from the Bible to back it up, and the outrage of the LGBTQIA+ community against it. Now, […]

AHA Conference 2018: The HAPI Report (2/2)

American Humanist Association Conference 2018: The HAPI Report 2

This is a continuation of my account of my first American Humanist Association (AHA) Conference experience and fifth trip to Las Vegas. The 77th Annual AHA Conference was held at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino on May 17th until the 20th, and was hosted by the Humanist Association of Las Vegas.   Day 3 – […]

Being a Nontheist in a Catholic School

Being a Nontheist in a Catholic School by Joshua Villalobos Bacolod City     While state universities and colleges are still on the rise, it is an undeniable fact that when a student wants quality private education, the religious educational institutions are the “go tos”. That’s why many of us nontheists, atheists, agnostics, who want […]

About The Author

1 thought on “Humanism, not religion, is our salvation”

  1. Wow. This is all wrong. Humanism is about people. Religion is about gods. When people serve other people things are accomplished. When people serve gods nothing is accomplished. Resources are wasted or given to those who need them least. Humanism and religion are opposites and they cannot coexist.
    Who wrote this hogwash?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top