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Posted by on Jun 21, 2013 in Philosophy | 2 comments

World Humanist Day

Notwithstanding the occasional flare-ups (okay, regular wars then, as captured by the video below) between various elements of the secular, skeptic and atheist communities, it’s important to focus on what we have in common – partly for aspirational reasons, and partly for inspirational reasons.

For aspirational reasons, in that as far as I can tell, some of the conflicts we’ve seen since ElevatorGate are the result of a failure to uphold a humanist ethos. I say this because they are failures of basic compassion for the feelings of others, or sacrificing a charitable outlook when dealing with interlocutors, or forgetting that regardless of how correct you think you might be, tolerance of opposing viewpoints is useful even if only as a first step to presenting an argument for the wrongness of those viewpoints. As I’ve said before, you’re not going to change people’s minds if they’re not listening to you.

The inspirational reasons? Humanists all over the world are working hard, and often effectively, at demonstrating that god(s) aren’t a pre-requisite for a fulfilled and happy existence, and that progress can be made to eliminate religion-motivated obstructions to freedom, peace and prosperity. The IHEU General Assembly, recently held in Romania, presented many examples of these struggles and successes, and I encourage you to read about them in this report on the first ever IHEU general assembly to be held in Eastern Europe.