Humanists are idealistic pragmatists. This means we have values and ideals we strive towards, but do so in a very practical way. We want to make the world a better place.
We are concernedwith the practical consequences of our actionsand we are aware thatif we want to succeed,we have to take practical action to solve our problems.
The reason we take such a pragmatic approach is because we want to be successful. We don't reject supernatural solutions to be jerks.
We just don't want to waste time, energy and money on solutions that don't work.
We are skeptics because we want to be sure our strategy will be both effective and ethical.
Our combination of rational compassion-based ethics combined with a pragmatic approach to problem solving really works.
This is why Humanists, while few in number, tend to be so influential in society.
Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, John Dewey, Harriet Tubman, A. Philip Randolph and Helen Keller were Humanists.
Most people, Humanist or not, see the value of this approach. It is something we all strive for on a personal level.
The problem is that it isn't easy to do. The success of this approach depends entirely on whether what you think is true is actually true.
For instance, if youare a farmer that needs rain and you think it isn't raining because God is mad at you, your solution will be to try to appease God.
While most people now understand that rain is caused by weather patterns beyond our con-trol, there is still a fairly large portion of our electorate who thinks thisway.
I know several people who think the reason our economy is bad is because God is mad at us for allowing abortions. Their proposed solution is to appease God by restricting abortions.
Humanists reject supernatural appeasement strategies because they have never been known to work.
Countries that adoptsupernatural appease-ment strategies don't just fail, they fail catastrophically.
History is filled with examples of societies that went to great length and great expense to appease their gods and failed. Easter Island is only one of many.
Humanists are skeptical and pragmatic for a reason. We have no way to verify whether anything supernatural is true or not.
So instead of hoping through faith that our understanding of the problem is correct, we instead focus on what we can know with certainty.
We put our time, energy and money into those things we can understand and positively impact.
We don't want to just hope we will be successful. We want to actually be successful
And to do that we need to be pragmatic in our problem solving.
Jennifer Hancock, is on the web at www.jen-hancock.com.