Sunday, 2 September 2007

How did you come to humanism?

I've sometimes wondered how a person's history might affect their attitudes as a humanist.

For example, I sometimes suspect that people who were once evangelical believers become even more vocal non-believers - either because they are predisposed to that brand of belief, or because they want to distance themselves from beliefs they once held so firmly, and now reject. I know that the behaviours that I am most impatient with in others are those that I have overcome myself in the past.

For myself, I was raised non-religiously in a country where religion is neither widely-scorned nor overly prominent in the public sphere. Perhaps this is why I feel generally unthreatened by religion even though I have no religious beliefs. (I like to think this makes me a more balanced humanist, but all it makes me is more balance with respect to my particular experience of secularism. How well this translates to other situations is an open question.)

What do you think? Have you noticed a pattern in how different humanists' past experiences affect their attitudes to religion and believers?


  1. Timothy

    All the best with your new blog.

    I agree that many of those one meets in Atheist/Humanist gatherings have come to their position through a religious route - and like converts to religion they tend to be rather more vocal and intense. But, more recently, I have been meeting up with people like myself, and this has surprised me. People who have had no particular influence from religion while growing up, (although they may always have rejected it intellectually),but who would feel strongly enough to not only to campaign for secular rights of citizens, but to put into practice in their lives some Humanist principles. So this experience has shifted my perspective somewhat, I now realise that Humanism is and can be an independent force for the common good and for individual integrity. Cheers. Didactor

  2. Didactor,

    Thanks for the well-wishes.

    I really look forward to seeing how our wee bairn finds life in an overtly, actively humanist family - I don't know anyone who was raised by people who positively identified as humanist.

    Having read Dale McGowan's accounts of some of his kids' escapades in freethought, I am more confident than ever that our kid will do just fine.


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