Tag Archives: humanist

Confucianism: optimistic view of human nature

Confucianism is an ethical and philosophical religion that was born out of the Han Dynasty by Confucius. Confucianism was very popular during the Han Dynasty until it fell in popularity to other religions like Buddhism and Taoism which took over as the dominant schools of thought during the Tang dynasty. Confucianism is practiced in places like China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

confuciusConfucianism, which began in the 6th-5th century BC, is seen as less of a religion and as more of a way of life. Some even view Confucianism as more of a philosophy than a religion. There are about 5-6 million followers of Confucianism.

Confucianism has a few classic texts all authored by Confucius himself:

  • I Ching: the Book of Changes, earliest of the classics, shows metaphysical vision which combines art with numerology, philosophy sees cosmos interact with the yin yang
  • Classic of Poetry: the Book of Songs, earliest book of Chinese poems and songs
  • Book of Documents: the Book of History, features speeches from major figures and recorded events
  • Book of Rites: describes social form and ceremonial rites
  • Spring and Autumn Annals: a book that chronicles the spring and the autumn

Confucianism is centered on humanism, the world around us and the people in our lives. There is also a large emphasis placed on honesty which is important to humanism. There are five humanist virtues:

  • Ren: humaness
  • Yi: righteousness/ justiceConfucian Temple
  • Li: propriety/ etiquette
  • Zhi: knowledge
  • Xin: integrity

Confucianism also places a large importance on relationships. There are the Five Bonds are:

  • ruler to ruled
  • father and son
  • husband and wife
  • elder brother to younger brother
  • friend to friend

Confucianism also places a heavy emphasis on the optimism view of human nature. Confucianisms truly believe in humanity and that humans can become amazing. Confucian believed that humans are “teachable, improvable, and perfectible” through proper ethical and philosophical training.

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Atheism: God is a man-made construct to guide human morality

Ricky Gervais, well-known atheist, comedian, actor, producer and director, wrote an interesting article in 2010 for The Wall Street Journal Speakeasy blog about what it means to be atheist.

EXTRAS: Ricky Gervais. photo: Ray Burmiston

In his article “A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist,” Gervais discusses how Jesus was a bigger hero to him more than any pop star or foot ball player. Gervais depicts his poverty-stricken upbringing saying: “You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So being them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.” Gervais concludes his article by discussing the idea of “goodness.” He says “I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When I became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.” You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.”

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Atheists like Ricky Gervais believe God is man-made, a myth, a legend, or that it a God’s existence doesn’t matter. Atheists cite many reasons for their non-belief. According to the BBC the following are some of those reasons:Morality-and-Religion-atheism-27554447-720-540

  • they find insufficient evidence to support religion
  • they think religion is nonsensical
  • they lost faith in their religion
  • they live in a non-religious culture
  • religion isn’t interesting to them
  • religion isn’t relevant to their lives
  • religion seems to have done harm in the world
  • the world is a bad place so there can’t possibly be a God

While Atheists don’t believe in God, some believe in other spiritual movements like Buddhism and Taoism. Atheists find the answers to the university through humanity. Atheists generally believe that a faith in God are unnecessary. They argue that science explains everything that exists in the Universe.

One noted atheist Ludwig Feuebach argued in 1841 that God was a human invention that we created to help us deal with aspirations and fears. He believed that humans began to feel inferior to a perfect God which alienated them from their true selves.

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Many of the usual ceremonies are religiously laced, but atheists and spiritualist movements without Gods have made the move to God-less ceremonies. Many of these people have humanist wedding ceremonies which allow more personalization because there are no religious words shared. Many of these ceremonies include music, introduction to the importance of marriage and partnership, readings of commitment between the bride and groom, an exchange of rings, candle-lighting and sometimes a hand-fasting ritual. A humanist funeral celebrates the person’s life and their contributions to the world. The funeral is likely to conclude: music, poetry readings, a eulogy, moments of silence and reflection and a formal goodbye.

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