Thursday, December 06, 2007

To what are humanists accountable?

I wanted to pick this element out from Ian's comments, where he said: "To what is a humanist accountable ? ... to humanity what else ... and rest of the living cosmos. (which would merge with your view, on Pantheistic territory). The balance of freedoms (from) with responsibilities (to)."

Firstly - and for the record(!) - I'm not a pantheist!!! Once upon a time I might have accepted the label 'panentheist' but these days I'm more sceptical of all those metaphysical systems and am content with 'Christian'.

However, the key question I want to pursue is: what does it mean to say that a humanist is accountable to humanity? Is that a democratically defined good? Or is there some other sort of value at stake here? If so, how is it pursued, how are conflicts reconciled, how is it explicated and communicated? In other words, what is the distinctive way in which a humanist cultivates the virtue of "humanity" in themselves and in their friends and neighbours? All these things are front and centre in a religious tradition, but seem absent from humanist (and atheist) discourse, on the whole. Humanism seems to be drawing on the bank balance built up by religious believers without paying anything back - which is why our society is now morally bankrupt and heading rapidly down the toilet.

Sorry for the rant, but I'm really interested in pursuing this aspect.

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