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Chapter-3: Types of Humanism

ATHEISM & HUMANISM
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Humanism goes by many names, each of these types of humanism would be in general agreement with the Basic Concepts of Humanism. Broadly there are three types: 
Renaissance: 
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged in by civic and ecclesiastical chancellors, book collectors, educators, and writers, who by the late fifteenth century began to be referred to as umanisti – "humanists". It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of scholastic university education, which was then dominated by Aristotelian philosophy and logic. Scholasticism focused on preparing men to be doctors, lawyers or professional theologians, and was taught from approved textbooks in logic, natural philosophy, medicine, law and theology. There were important centres of humanism at Florence, Naples, Rome, Venice, Mantua, Ferrara, and Urbino.
Secular: 
Secular humanism is a comprehensive life stance or world view which embraces human reason, metaphysical naturalism, altruistic morality and distributive justice, and consciously rejects supernatural claims, theistic faith and religiosity, pseudoscience, and superstition. It is sometimes referred to as Humanism (with a capital H and no qualifying adjective).  The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world union of 117 Humanist, rationalist, irreligious,atheistic, Bright, secular, Ethical Culture, and freethought organisations in 38 countries.  The "Happy Human" is the official symbol of the IHEU as well as being regarded as a universally recognised symbol for secular humanism.
Religious:
Religious humanism is an integration of humanist ethical philosophy with religious rituals and beliefs that centre on human needs, interests, and abilities. Though practitioners of religious humanism did not officially organise under the name of "humanism" until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, non-theistic religions paired with human-centred ethical philosophy have a long history. The Cult of Reason (French: Culte de la Raison) was a religion based on deism devised during the French Revolution by Jacques Hébert, Pierre Gaspard Chaumette and their supporters. In 1793 during the French Revolution, the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris was turned into a "Temple to Reason" and for a time Lady Liberty replaced the Virgin Mary on several altars. In the 1850s, Auguste Comte, the Father of Sociology, founded Positivism, a "religion of humanity". 
One of the earliest forerunners of contemporary chartered humanist organisations was the Humanistic Religious Association formed in 1853 in London. This early group was democratically organised, with male and female members participating in the election of the leadership and promoted knowledge of the sciences, philosophy, and the arts. The Ethical Culture movement was founded in 1876. The movement's founder, Felix Adler, a former member of the Free Religious Association, conceived of Ethical Culture as a new religion that would retain the ethical message at the heart of all religions. Ethical Culture was religious in the sense of playing a defining role in people's lives and addressing issues of ultimate concern. 
However some classify Humanism in five categories. Each type of Humanism would place special emphasis on that aspect of Humanism for which it is named:
  1. Scientific Humanism.
  2. Secular Humanism.
  3. Naturalistic Humanism.
  4. Democratic Humanism.
  5. Religious Humanism.  
Viability of Achieving Goals:
Even by disregarding the atheist beliefs, one fails to understand as to how the Humanism ideals, could be achieved, keeping in view the selfish human nature and inherent evil impulses. Mere enlisting ideals and high sounding morals does not serve the purpose, there has to be means to achieve them. Generally it is observed that in most of societies [may be few exceptions] majority of people fall in to the category of ‘Have-nots’ or those with lesser resources, where as a tiny minority of ‘Haves’ enjoys all the perks, privileges and enjoy a luxurious life. This disparity could never be eliminated though reduced to an extent. Then there are unfortunate people born with incurable birth defects or suffer forum deadly disease, or natural disasters. How can they be compensated if this is the life ends in this world? If such humans know that they shall be compensated in hereafter, they can accept their status with positive hope. The Islamic concept of ultimate Divine Justice and accountability for reward to the faithful who performs good deeds and punishment for sinners and faithless in hereafter after resurrection helps to create a harmonious and peaceful society where every human irrespective of his/her faith can live at peace and security. 
Qur’an sums up the, purpose of creation: 

“HALLOWED be He in whose hand all dominion rests, since He has the power to will anything: He who has created death as well as life, so that He might put you to a test [and thus show] which of you is best in conduct, and [make you realize that] He alone is almighty, truly forgiving. [Hallowed be] He who has created seven heavens in full harmony with one another:  no fault will thou see in the creation of the Most Gracious. And turn thy vision [upon it] once more: canst thou see any flaw?(Qur’an;67:2-3);

“for, suffering in hell awaits all who are [thus] bent on blaspheming against their Sustainer: and how vile a journey's end!”(Qur’an;67:6); 

“And they [unbelievers] will add: "Had we but listened [to those warnings], or [at least] used our own reason, we would not [now] be among those who are destined for the blazing flame!”(Qur’an;67:10)

“SAY: "[God is] He who has brought you [all] into being, and has endowed you with hearing, and sight, and hearts: [yet] how seldom are you grateful!" Say: "It is He who has multiplied you on earth; and it is unto Him that you shall be gathered [on resurrection].”(Qur’an;67:23-24).

Human is reminded in pragmatic and scientific way towards the wonderful creativity and powers of God, so that any rational human should understand the reality if he wills to:
“CONSIDER the sun and its radiant brightness, and the moon as it reflects the sun! Consider the day as it reveals the world, and the night as it veils it darkly! Consider the sky and its wondrous make, and the earth and all its expanse! Consider the human self, and how it is formed in accordance with what it is meant to be, and how it is imbued with moral failings as well as with consciousness of God! To a happy state shall indeed attain he who causes this [self] to grow in purity, and truly lost is he who buries it [in darkness].”(Qur’an;91:1-10). 

This brief message provides a scientific and logical inbuilt mechanism for establishment of a fair and just society unrivalled by any religion, philosophy or ideology including Humanism.

The message of Islam, received through Divine revelations was recorded [Qur’an] preached and practiced by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the role model as well as his companions. Its viability is well known to the world through its success. The scripture remains uncorrupted; its ideology is simple, practicable, pragmatic and free of myths and superstitions. It stands the test of science. On the other hand imagine an ideology dependent on different laws of different countries, only instructions and advice to do all considered to be good. Such a society may exist in the dreams but not on ground. If a man like Hitler kills millions, even if caught alive he can get maximum of death punishment or imprisonment for life, but it is not compatible with the mass murders he has committed. However if a person believes that one day he shall be resurrected, and put in to hell fire put after fair trial, he shall refrain to commit such heinous crimes. God says: 
“Hence, give them [unbelievers] the tiding of grievous suffering [in the life to come] unless it be such [of them] as [repent, and] attain to faith, and do good works: for theirs shall be a reward unending!”(Qur’an: 84:24).

Humanists do not believe in the Resurrection and the Day of Judgement, as they disregard the supernatural powers or events. Their theory of self creation of universe through natural process is absurd. The creation of the universe and humanity may be understood as a part of ‘Grand Design’ of God, which according to Qur’an is based upon trial, balance, justice and mercy. The design of creation may be elaborated further through this allegory: If there is some huge heap of junk lying on ground and there comes a tornado, once the tornado is over, it is found that the heap of junk is dispersed more haphazardly. If a tornado hits a city, rubble is found all around once it is over; there is no definite new organized pattern. If dynamite is exploded in a heap of rubbish, it does not result in good products like car or a house. 

If ‘Big Bang’ which produced the well organized galaxies, stars and solar system and earth why could not the tornado or an explosion produce some organized things? Because in case of the ‘Big Bang’ there is an all powerful all wise CREATOR, known as God or Allah. Where as in case of tornado (though with the will of God) there is no intelligent force operating with the intentions to create some thing out of it, the natural wild forces interact resulting in to confusion and destruction. Allah says: 
“We have created you from the earth, into it We shall return you and from it We shall bring you back to life once again.”(Qur’an;20:55). 

He has granted freedom of choice to the human through guidance, intellect and reason, resulting in individual responsibility and accountability. However He accepts repentance of sinners and forgives them as He has decreed mercy upon Himself but those who die as rebellious and disobedient to Him, will be punished in hereafter. Allah says: “To Him you shall all return. Allah’s promise is true. He is the One Who originates the process of Creation and repeats it (will bring it back to life) so that He may justly reward (hereafter) those who believed in Him and did righteous deeds. As for those who disbelieved, they shall have boiling fluids to drink and shall undergo a painful punishment because they rejected the truth.”(Qur’an;10:4). 

Annotations:
Human development also has stages like other creations, God says: 
“BUT NAY! I call to witness the sunset's [fleeting] afterglow,  and the night, and what it [step by step] unfolds,  and the moon, as it grows to its fullness: [even thus, O men,] are you bound to move; onward from stage to stage. What, then, is amiss with them that they will not believe [in a life to come]? and [that], when the Qur'an is read unto them, they do not fall down in  prostration? Nay, but they who are bent on denying the truth give the lie [to this divine writ]! Yet God has full knowledge of what they conceal [in their hearts].(Qur’an: 84:16-23). 

In these verses, God "calls to witness" the fact that nothing in His creation is ever at a standstill, since everything moves unceasingly from one state of being into another, at every moment changing its aspect and its condition: "from one state to another state" a phenomenon aptly described by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus by the phrase panta rhei ("everything is in flux"). Since the inexorable movement of all that exists from stage to stage or from one condition into another corresponds to a fundamental law evident in all creation, it is unreasonable to assume that man alone should be an exception, and that his onward movement should cease at the moment of his bodily death, not to be followed by a change-over into another state of being. Hence the unceasing human progression - conception, birth, growth, decline, death and, finally, resurrection on the day of Judgement.

Absurd Man-Centred World-View: 

By stressing the fact that man is only a small, insignificant part as compared with the vastness and complexity of the whole God-created universe, Qur'an points out the absurdity of the ‘Man-Centred World-View’:

“[O MEN!] Are you more difficult to create than the heaven which He has built? High has He reared its vault and formed it in accordance with what it was meant to be; and He has made dark its night and brought forth its light of day. And after that, the earth: wide has He spread its expanse,  and has caused its waters to come out of it, and its pastures,  and has made the mountains firm: [all this] as a means of livelihood for you and your animals.” (Qur’an;79:27-32).

“Behold, as for those who call God's messages in question without having any evidence therefore  - in their hearts is nothing but overweening self-conceit, which they will never be able to satisfy: seek thou, then, refuge with God - for, verily, He alone is all-hearing, all-seeing! Greater indeed than the creation of man is the creation of the heavens and the earth:  yet most men do not understand [what this implies]. But [then,) the blind and the seeing are not equal; and neither [can] they who have attained to faith and do good works and the doers of evil [be deemed equal]. How seldom do you keep this in mind!” (Qur’an;40:56-58)

On Human Self-Sufficiency: 

Many agnostics think that man is totally independent, "Self-Sufficient" and that, therefore, there are no limits to what he may yet achieve, and no need to assume that he is responsible to a higher Power. In this connection Qur’an while reminding the humble beginning of man, says: 

"[God] created man out of a germ-cell! Read - for thy Sustainer is the Most Bountiful One  who has taught [man] the use of the pen taught man what he did not know! Nay, verily, man becomes grossly overweening whenever he believes himself to be self-sufficient: for, behold, unto thy Sustainer all must return."(Qur’an: 96:2-7)
“But as for him [human] who is niggardly, and thinks that he is self-sufficient, and calls the ultimate good a lie for him shall We make easy the path towards hardship: and what will his wealth avail him when he goes down [to his grave]?”(Qur’an: 98:8-11). And since this "self-sufficiency" is entirely illusory, those who build their world-view on it "will never be able to satisfy their overweening conceit". 

Deism: 

Many humanists are Deists.  Deism is generally defined as a belief in a God or Divinity. There was a Deist movement (1700's) that held that God created the universe and then retired from active participation, letting the natural world evolve according to natural laws.  Sir Isaac Newton, Voltaire and Thomas Jefferson have all been called Deists.


Continuous Control and Creativity: 

Deism does not stand the test of reason and observable natural phenomena: 

“He governs all that exists, from the celestial space to the earth; and in the end all shall ascend unto Him [for judgment] on a Day the length whereof will be [like] a thousand years of your reckoning. Such is He who knows all that is beyond the reach of a created being's perception, as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature's senses or mind: the Almighty, the Dispenser of Grace,  who makes most excellent everything that He creates. Thus, He begins the creation of man out of clay; then He causes him to be begotten out of the essence of a humble fluid; and then He forms him in accordance with what he is meant to be, and breathes into him of His spirit: and [thus, O men,] He endows you with hearing, and sight, and feelings as well as minds: [yet] how seldom are you grateful!”(Qur’an;32:5-9)
God has not retired from His creativity, creation of new galaxies while destruction of old is not a simple phenomenon in the complex cosmos system. God says: 
“We are never unmindful of (Our) Creation” (Qur’an; 23:17). God did not abandon the Children of Israel during their forty years of wandering in the desert. He sustained them, protected them and provided with the food and water, and later Kingdom.(Qur’an;2:57, see Exodus;16:15,35, Nehemiah;9:20-22). 

“He adds to Creation as He pleases: for God has power over all things”. (Qur’an; 35:1).
“If He so pleased He could blot you out and bring in a New Creation” (Qur’an; 35:16). 

Nothing exists of its own accord or fortuitously. It is God Who originates all creation. What appears to be death may be only transformation: for God can and does recreate. And His creative activity is continuous. Our death is but a phenomenal event. What we become after death is the result of a process of recreation by God, Who is both the source and the goal of all things. When we are brought back to him, it will be as conscious and responsible beings, to receive the consequences of our brief life on this earth. (Qur’an; 30:11 &,10:4).

As man's knowledge of the processes of nature advances, he sees how complex is the evolution of matter itself, leaving out the question of the origin of Life and the spiritual forces, which are beyond the ken of experimental science. But this knowledge itself becomes a sort of "veil of Light": man becomes so conscious of the proximate causes, that he is apt, in his pride, to forget the primal Cause, the ultimate hand of God in Creation. And then, creation is such a complex process. The fatara has been used in original Arabic text, which means the creation of primeval matter, to which further creative processes have to be added by the hand of God, or God "adds to His Creation as He pleases", not only in quantity, but in qualities, functions, relations and variations in infinite ways. 

“To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth; when He decrees a matter He saith to it: "Be"; and it is” (Qur’an;2:117).

Lest anyone should think that the heavens and the earth were themselves primeval and eternal, we are now told that they themselves are creatures of God's will and design.  The materialists might say that primeval matter was eternal; other things, i.e., the forms and shapes as we see them now, were called into being at some time or other, and will perish.  When they perish, they dissolve into primeval matter again, which stands as the base of all existence. We go further back.  We say that if we postulate such primeval matter, it owes its origin itself to God  Who is the final basis of existence, the Cause of all Causes.  If this is conceded, we proceed to argue that the process of Creation is not then completed. 

"All things in the heavens and on the earth" are created by gradual processes.  In "things" we include abstract as well as material things.  We see the abstract things and ideas actually growing before us.  But that also is God's creation, to which we can apply the word khalaqa, for in it is involved the idea of measuring, fitting it into a scheme of other things.  Here comes in what we know as the process of evolution.  On the other hand, the "amr" (Command, Direction, Design) is a single thing, unrelated to Time, "like the twinkling of an eye" (Qur’an;54:50). 

Another word to note in this connection is "making" (ja'ala) which seems to imply new shapes and forms, new dispositions, as the making of the Signs of the Zodiac in the heavens, or the setting out of the sun and moon for light, or the establishment of the succession of day and night.  A further process with regard to the soul is described (sawwa), bringing it to perfection. He can create a thing out of nothing and after no pre-existing similitude, while in other cases after the creation of primeval matter to which further processes have to be applied later, as when one prepares dough but leaves the leavening to be done after.

Laws of Nature: 
While "calling to witness" certain natural phenomena which are familiar to man because of their permanent recurrence, attention is drawn to the fact that what we call "laws of nature" are but the observable elements of God's plan of creation - a plan in which His revelations play a decisive role: and so, by implication, the divine writ [Qur’an] granted to Muhammad [pbuh] is as intrinsically "natural" as any other phenomenon, concrete or abstract, in the realm of God's creation. Qur’an says: 
“BUT NAY! I call to witness the revolving stars, the planets that run their course and set, and the night as it darkly falls, and the morn as it softly breathes: behold, this [divine writ] is indeed the [inspired] word of a noble apostle, with strength endowed, secure with Him who in almightiness is enthroned [the word] of one to be heeded, and worthy of trust!” (Qur’an;81: 15-21).

Next: Chapter-4:



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Atheist or Humanist? - YouTube

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I tend to view humanism as a type of atheism in the same way Christianity is a type of theism. Just as there are many types of theism:  ...

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