Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H


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Nobody can deny that some things are good - for example, good feelings. The only problem is in determining how to do what has the most good in it. Despite all the clashes between religions and schools of philosophy it is easy to distinguish right from wrong and the religious tenet that we need to believe in God to do it is a lie. We know for a start that if there is no perfect code of right and wrong we have to choose the best one. It is because there are faults with every moral code that there is so much of a dispute about what is right and wrong.

The law is that what is right is what promotes the greatest happiness of the greatest number. This law has rarely been interpreted or implemented correctly. So it should be made a bit clearer: what is right is what promotes the greatest self-esteem and greatest rationality (you can't have self-esteem without correct thinking) of the greatest number. It matches the code of right behaviour that we want to believe in very closely. No system will be perfect so you just have to find the best one and stick to it. Motive is all-important in this for an action is only good when it is meant to be good. If the motive is bad then you defile, hurt and demean yourself. We need rules to make sure people have the right motives for if we let them bend the rules all the time they can do it with bad motives and say the motives were good.

There can be no security, order or contentment without rules. Some say we should stick to rules no matter how much harm it does. "Believe in God and serve him and never do other than these" is a notorious example. Others say we should have no rules but do whatever makes the most happiest. The right doctrine is found when we cross the two approaches and come up with, "Make the rules that are the best for most of us." We should do what is best for most people which means keeping the rules for it is best to be happy yourself and to make another happy for two happy people are better than one.

Some things that are called evil are really just neutral, neither good nor bad. But most of the time there is something that can be done that will be for the best.

Reason tells us what is right and wrong. Reason forbids the pollution of the environment. Reason forbids parents not supporting their children who depend on them. That's two examples.

Some may object: "Why these rules and not others? Order will still be maintained if we permitted a little child neglect and a certain amount of pollution. You can't say that permitting these is bad for it causes trouble for the law has to be enforced by causing trouble."

The answer is that these two things would be needless evils and evil is essentially an attack on self-esteem.

We feel that we want these rules. Even when we feel like breaking them or do break them we prefer them to be maintained even when our breaking them will be secret for they make us feel safe. The way we naturally feel about them would be a sufficient reason to stand by them and preach them for that would guarantee the greatest possible happiness of the greatest number in a harmless as possible way.

Rules should be confined to the bare minimum. A moral precept that can be done without, eg that a very decent man and woman living together outside of wedlock is a sin, is an extra burden on the world and it slanders the one who contravenes it as bad while the real baddies are the people who keep the precept and preach that it should be observed. The rules need to be as liberal as possible for you don't need a lot of control over people to organise society. Where there is no law we have to live as if there were a law. We have to live out the best code of right behaviour that we can find.
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A right is a benefit to which you are justly entitled to although you are not a real free agent and are incapable of deserving the benefit as regards using your free will to do good though you deserve it because of what you are. Rights are based on basic needs. They cannot be based on anything else. We need people to keep their promises so what is promised to us should be granted even if it happens that we don't need it. People only have a right to what gives them a decent life though they may have more than that if it is available. Surplus money should be forcibly taken from the rich by the law for the benefit of the underprivileged. Rights are not based on desires for they are too changeable and we can want what we should not have. Rights presuppose the value of the person for a worthless article can't have rights. The biggest right comes first when you can't have all your rights. The most basic human right is the right to life.

Women, children and men of every race, religion and sexual orientation are all equal - one person has the same value as another.

Racists and sexists object that x is better than y if x is smarter or fitter. They say if all are not equal then inequality is determined by the degree of intelligence or virtue and then they pretend that people who are different from themselves have diminished intelligence or moral inclination or both.

But what x has x has got by chance so it does not matter what x succeeds at x is not a better person but a person with better luck. See again the importance of denying that magic and prayer work for they suggest that people are unequal because it is not pure chance?

It is insane to look down on anyone who is allegedly not as intelligent as you are, for intelligence is not as important as having a good nature and we all have the same good nature and the person who is called stupid could have greater love in them than the intelligent person for he or she has to work harder to do good.

It is obvious that the best has to be thought of everyone for if we are going to start always thinking the worst there is no place where we can stop or think we should stop at.

The notion that men and women have different roles that they have to fulfil no matter how much unhappiness this brings on them is as hurtful and fallacious as it is popular and is blatant sexism. It is sexism making an attempt to look politically correct. It is arbitrary to say that it is a woman's job to make the dinner and a man's job to fix the sink. Why can't a man who is better with children than his wife allow her to be the breadwinner? If you can do the job it is very unfair and wrong to speak of roles. And as for the role of motherhood, men would have to carry babies if a virus wiped out all women. To assign sexual roles is simplistic.

Nobody should be discriminated against just because they are a different colour, or because of their religion, sex or sexual orientation. These things have nothing to do with doing a job or mean that we can't be friends with them and they with us. There is no room for snobbery in Humanism for it is not us who work for what we have and are but chance (even if we have been designed then the designer came about by chance so this is still true) and it is not snobbery to be an egoist for the egoists do not put themselves first because they think they are better than other people but only because reason compels them to. All people are equal. Rights are based on needs not on desires. For example, you have a need to live so you have a right to live but you do not have a right to have a child for you don't need a child.

Judge no one by appearances, skin colour or by your feelings. A sinister looking or rude person can be better and more helpful to you in your time of need than the normal looking and polite one. The goodness within is the important thing. It may be warped or badly expressed but it is still there.

Do not boast of your good deeds in such a way that it makes others feel inferior. To be full of pride and show it is to humiliate yourself for others will not respect you or be impressed. What is the point of boasting when it makes you look ridiculous? Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what it will bring.
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The life of a person is more important than the kind of life they have for it makes no sense to say that it is a good quality of life that is, for that does not tell us why a person should have it. If the good life is important it is because the person comes first and is more valuable.

A life should only be ended when it is the only way to avoid more people dying. I should kill the person who attacks me to kill me if it is not my doing that I am being attacked and if there is no other way to survive.
War is only acceptable when it is undoubtedly the only way to stop an unjust aggressor and when without it there would be a greater loss of life. Really just wars happen a lot less than you would be led to believe.
Capital punishment is wrong. Belief in God implies that the person is not very valuable for God has made death and you are forbidden to judge God and are expected to encourage him to kill if he wants to so God is a belief fit only for villains for you are more sure that death is real than that he is.

We should be health-conscious. It is obviously better to prolong life than to indulge in needless pleasure that will shorten it. There are other pleasures.

Abortion is not always wrong. Humanism agrees with abortion on demand in the early stages for there is no reason to think that the baby is a human person then. Even if it has a brain it would be too primitive to make it conscious to any important degree. Without meaning to make an insulting comparison, we don't think that animals are as personal as ourselves and many of them are more developed than embryos so opposition to abortion often has more to do with religious obstinacy than real concern for babies. A baby should be aborted when it would be destined for a life of agony. It is wisest in this case to terminate the pregnancy in case it is not a person. Abortion at the later stage is never right unless it is the only way to save the mother's life. If the baby is certainly dying and if the pregnancy is not terminated as soon as possible the mother will be gravely ill, it is right to abort the baby.

Euthanasia, helping an incurably ill person who is dying in great agony on their way to spare them suffering, is wrong but it is not very wrong so it should be tolerated. It is advised, "You never know what kind of new discovery is round the corner. It is better to let them live just in case as unlikely as it will seem." If euthanasia is wrong so is giving a dying patient painkillers that will hasten the onset of death and even more so if we should wait for a possible but nevertheless unlikely cure. Christians say they give the painkillers to stop pain and not to kill so it is not euthanasia. But if life comes first as they say then they have a choice and should let the patient suffer. They practice euthanasia after all. Euthanasia is certainly wrong but should be made a tolerable evil. It is not seriously evil under the right circumstances and if the patient consents. We can't legally forbid everything.

We must help the starving for we are murderers if we do not. Religion collects vast sums of money and won't give away all it can spare for them. It says that saving souls is more important and that is its excuse. But if it really believes in an all-powerful God who never lets his people down it would give all away and trust in his providence. It is different for Humanists to decline to give all away for we need our property and money to spread the word that will reverse the conditioning that leads people to disregard the tables of the starving. Sacrificing all wouldn't help in the long term. The Humanist who does not help to topple religion is a murderer. Even if there could be a supernatural being who will help the poor we have to help them ourselves in case there isn't. Believing in God makes it less evil to neglect them because he loves them and he will intervene eventually.
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It seems that egoists cannot die for others for they have to put themselves first. For an egoist to willingly give his life to save the life of one person is evil but it is different if it is necessary to save the lives of two or more. A person with perfect self-esteem can be willing to die for others so it is compatible with egoism. The egoist wants to die for others when she has to because she knows her mind will persecute her for this evil if she does not so she is better to take the risk of her life.
It is true that each person must put himself or herself first but nobody can do that unless they agree that there are times when it is best to die for others. You cannot be happy with your loved ones unless you would die for them to save them. You cannot be happy in yourself if nobody will die to save you. Martyrdom is a necessary evil in order to promote a sense of egoism. The egoist dies as a martyr for her or his egoism and that is all.
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Neglecting or abusing animals is wrong. When a very mentally abnormal human being can be a person, an animal can as well. We don't know if animals are persons therefore it is wrong to be cruel to them for they might be.

The human's life comes first when an animal attacks her to kill for we are more sure that humans have a right to life than we are animals and even if animals are known to be persons, the human being can live the longest so the animal has to be regrettably sacrificed, if that is the only way, for its life is shorter and far more under threat than our own. We must not prefer animals to humans.

The meat of the more intelligent animals should only be eaten when there is nothing else to eat. The less intelligent animals should only be eaten when it is necessary for the health and life of the supreme animal, humankind. And those who don't know that they are alive should be eaten without any such limitations. But no avoidable suffering should ever be inflicted on an animal.
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Remember the nine ways in which we can cause and share in the badness of others and be as bad as they are. Advising evil, commanding evil, agreeing to it, provoking evil, using flattery to get a person to do evil, concealing evil when it encourages it, actively assisting in the evil of others, by keeping silent instead of trying to talk people out of evil-doing or just walking on by when you could save a person from a criminal and by defending their evil action.

You cannot stand by and do nothing when you can save a stranger from an attacker. Then you are intending that she suffer abuse from him. You are worse than him for you will get away with it and he might kill her. You don't care about him when you let him degrade his rational nature or her either and you ruin your own dignity. We can't say we owe the woman nothing for it is nature's fault not hers that she never got the opportunity.
You shall not refuse to help others on the grounds that they never did anything for you for if they could have, they would have. Even your worst enemy would have done favours for you under the right circumstances and conditions. We all want to do good even if we don't do it. So we should be valued for that despite our wicked deeds.

To stand by and let an increase of evil happen when you could stop it makes you evil for you are assisting evil.
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We should never lie except to save somebody from serious injury. Then it is only not telling the truth but it is not lying because you don't have an alternative. In other words, you are not a liar when you are forced to state as fact that which you know to be false. The truth can hurt but at least the person will know they can trust us and that is all-important and will give us a better peace of mind in the long run. To feel good about ourselves we have to be what we are seen to be. It is not silent lying when you know that a woman's husband is adulterous when she praises him and you say nothing for it only means you don't want to tell when you know it would be the wrong circumstances to tell.
We should not steal even for a greater good unless somebody will be severely hurt if we don't. Then it is not stealing for we have no choice and the concept of ownership is only for our good so the pharmacist no longer owns the injection you stole from him to save a life. Gambling for big money involves stealing off the other gamblers when temptation has taken them over. Secret stealing from a boss who has unjustly cut your wages is wrong for it is deception. What is stolen has to be returned except in the case of the boss (when you are sure that nobody knows) for then it is the deception that is wrong. Not paying a fair wage or as good a wage you can is theft. All wrongdoing must be made up for and apologised for.
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We should seek out good intelligent friends who we can talk to about anything. Once we have them we should not let gossip get to us. Victims of gossip must do good works to counteract gossip and treat the gossip as a joke and it will soon stop and will fade into insignificance. Enjoying gossip is incompatible with egoism because you enjoy it because you have been bad yourself and want others distracted from your own faults. To enjoy going behind the back of another to listen to evil gossip and what does not concern you is incompatible with real self-esteem which celebrates and tries to learn from the good in people and with trying to cause the fear that there are so many people around you who might harm you to lose its grip on you. When somebody is so silly and malicious that they will gossip and degrade themselves they make a show of themselves and really only hurt themselves so do not worry about them. The person who uses some terrible information to get a gossipy kick from what somebody did is really as bad as that person for taking advantage of the offence. The egoist should have better self-confidence than that. Gossip breeds gossip and gossip breeds suffering. Tell nothing bad about anybody except for the greater good of another or themselves or yourself and reading gossip in newspapers is wrong except when you know you won't take what you read too earnestly. We all have defects and many of them amount up gradually to making a lot of harm. We forbid backbiting for we all have weaknesses and have done terrible things or would have done them given the chance.
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Making criminals pay is about protecting the rest of us by safeguarding the law for if there is no price for breaking the law then the law is a law in name only and is not a law at all. It is really offering an incentive to wickedness.
The amount of suffering that has been consciously inflicted has to be inflicted in return but in such a way that maximising the chances that the criminal will reform is ensured. It would be evil to jail a person and not try to reform them and teach them right and wrong for jail is meant to stop crime as well as be a place where criminals pay their debt. The paying and the rehabilitation part are equally important. The paying always helps the subconscious mind of the criminal feel that some compensation has been made so it is necessary to help the criminalís dignity and to save him from his subconscious self.
When you take a life you have to pay for it for the rest of your life for you have taken the victim's days. The reason a young person can still be jailed for life for killing an old person instead of being jailed for the maximum years the victim could have lived to see is because the person was killed for being a person and not just because he was old.
Punishment is hurting a person because you believe they did wrong freely and were not programmed and you want to pay them back. It is hurting them over the presumption of free will which is evil for you are more sure they can suffer than you are that they are free so punishment and revenge and hate are one and the same thing even if the perpetrators of punishment don't realise it. In short, I am saying that punishing people because of free will is committing a grave wrong against them for that is what it is meant to be.
We do not believe in punishment but we believe in doing much the same thing as punishing except we know it as crime control. Crime control is not about revenge or retribution for there is no free will but is about keeping up the law.

Criminals break the law of society and have to pay the debt for it. Only they can pay it so fines paid by friends can no longer do unless the criminal will have to pay them back. Criminals should not get their sentence reduced because of good behaviour they have always been bad they are probably bluffing and the logic would be that if a murderer saves a life in jail he should be instantly freed. If they had been civil up to the crime and after, that means they are very sneaky. The sneaky person is worse than the person who openly does evil for the latter at least lets you see what they are like. This law that the sentence that is meted out in court should not be cut makes people think twice.

When you steal or harm another wrongly you have to make amends or restitution as far as you are able and as fast as you can. A person who steals and says they are sorry can't be really sorry if they are keeping what they took instead of returning it. You have to make compensation not only for what you took but also for the sorrow you caused.

We forbid the concealment of crime for that is just rewarding the crime. Persons should be reported unless you are sure they will not do it again and intend to make amends. If the crime is heinous like rape or murder it should be reported if reporting will not cause at least equally bad trouble. Some will claim that they committed a crime because they had had a hard time and were angry at the world. We believe them but that does not excuse letting them off scot-free.

It is no business of ours or God's what a person who commits a crime is like inside for their bad motives need not harm us or him so all that matters is discouraging the person's bad actions for you can want to do bad without ever doing it. Those who hurt do so because they have been hurt so judging them encourages fear the root of evil. Judging encourages them to do evil for it makes them afraid of being judged and condemned. Doing that is watering the seeds of vengefulness in them. Judging causes us to hurt ourselves by unnecessarily giving fear and unpleasant feelings an infusion of power. Just observe what wrongdoers do and if it is dangerous and you have the right to stop it then do so. Remember the same rule applies for the evil that you do yourself. Do not judge yourself and just see the evil that is in you but do not condemn yourself because of it. If they tell us that they committed a crime deliberately then we must treat them as if we know they did but that is not the same as judging them. We make them pay for the crime not because we want them to suffer but because we want to keep society safe. The important thing is that we stop people harming others, not judging them as personally bad. To take comfort in the notion of a God who will punish his and your enemies is truly horrible and vindictive.
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The people should be well educated and informed and they should make the decisions for how their representatives shall run the state.
The state must stop protecting the notions of marriage and free will for they are basically religious propositions though they are sometimes dressed up as secularised. The laws of human beings cannot oblige you to keep your wedding promises Ė they canít bind you to your spouse so only a God can so marriage is intrinsically religious. Only a miracle could tell us that we have free will for dogs feel free and that is why they are happy but they donít have free will so free will presupposes a miracle working God that enables us to have free will.

Religion must not seek to impose its eccentric, surplus and begrudging ethics an example of which is that sex before marriage is wrong even when no harm will ensue on the state. Religion may talk to those who make the laws but it has no right to seek a privileged influence over the law of the land. The law can and should act as if there is no God and no religion is true. That is as near as it can get to pleasing everybody. The feelings of the rational have to come before the feelings of the irrational when only one faction can be pleased.
Religion should be a private affair. People like us who believe that religion is offensive and harmful should not be harassed by seeing religious statues in public places, by prayer in schools and by public displays of faith.

People should not be persecuted for not believing what we believe for error is a disorder that needs help not censure and angry responses. Every religion has doctrines that offend others so blasphemy laws should be abolished and the division and condemnation of harmless things that religion is behind proves that the state should take no notice of religious eccentricities. Instead when a person mocks God before religionists with intent to spark off mayhem that person should be charged with disturbing the peace but not with blasphemy. Otherwise if people are offended when God is mocked that is their problem and it is up to them to prove that he should not be. Reason is more important than God even if there is a God and they do not mind it being mocked and insulted and maligned.

Religion should not be tax-exempt. Religion is not a charity for it is not needed. Only what can prove that its message is the truth could have the right but religion cannot manage that. Do not give the Church any money to pay its clergy, maintain its Churches and publish its ideas. Pay charity instead. The Church is not a charity and should not be taking money that charity should get.

We have to let religion be free because people cannot help what they believe and it is up to us to cure them if they are wrong and if they want to be cured and you cannot make people learn who don't want to learn.
Church and state must be separated for the state should be run without the unnecessary rules that religion has. However, in a case of conflict the state comes first for it represents all the people and runs the nation and has to have an unprejudiced view of right and wrong that is not influenced by religious superstition and its job is to guard the people not religion. The state has the right to ask religion to drop evil doctrines or at least to stop spreading them. Information and good example and the promise of happiness and inner peace without God and religion are better antidotes to religion than persecution and history bears witness to that.
Does religion have the right to discriminate against people? For example, should the law force the Catholic Church to ordain women? Some say that private organisations do have this right. But if people are equal then you cannot say that because the whole point of saying it is to get people treated equally. It would be unfair to let the Catholic Church discriminate and the law should be about protecting equality and not religion for equality has to do with individual persons and religion is about something that people set up. If people come first then religion does not. The state comes before the Church for it cannot be done without. Then the civil law should dominate Church affairs. This amounts to dominating a few leaders for most of their own followers resent the power they claim and seek.
Religion should have complete freedom in the press but warnings and refutations should be attached to its books or at least where to get the warnings and refutations for it is provably wrong and strangles much goodness and all books that claim to be fact should make it possible for one to check them out. People who have been deceived and damaged by their religion should sue their gurus.
The state must let people say and print what they want no matter how nasty it is but just make sure that access to warnings and other healthier perspectives is easy. That way nobody will be tricked if what is being said is very wrong and nobody will have any business blaming what was said if they start a riot.
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All gifts to our children take second place to education. Stupidity is a cancer and a burden. It is to be stressed that educational systems must cater for teaching as many of the interests of the children as possible

The state can and should teach what is right and what is wrong for the first duty of the state is to encourage everyone to be of benefit to society which it represents and guides. It is wrong for children to be indoctrinated by religion in schools for it is against their right to liberty and healthy self-development and religion teaches guesses not facts. Things like maths and geography that we know are true should be what is taught in school for it is better to study the best verified things. The state has an obligation to take over the instruction of children in right and wrong. Instead of religion classes there should be basic psychology classes that are relevant to their lives and the production of self-esteem and a bit about the justification of right and wrong and the application of its principles. The law must see to it that sound basic logic which will cover the truths of right and wrong is taught in schools for such is the source of order. We will not use the public schools to propagate Humanism. The children of both religious and Humanist parents can learn about Humanism and different religions without being indoctrinated. They should be given the chance to follow what faith or none they want to instead of being told what to think by any religion.

Humanism will campaign for secular schools and will set up schools of its own.
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