Monday, November 4, 2013

Some Get It
Ten easy steps to being a good person. You know, the right kind of person in the eyes of the lord. Out of these steps, three deal specifically in how you are to kiss its ass. Highly important! He is the head idol and shall be idolized... no excuses!

We don't know exactly when they were produced, but we can guess it was thousands of years ago. A time when most people didn't have an education and probably didn't read. I guess that's why it's only ten commandments. Easier to remember when you only have a few lines to process. But seriously, how was that working for us in the world when all it knew was religion? Pretty awful when you read the bible as well as history books.

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Fast forward to 1948, mere mortals tried their hand at defining what it means to be a decent inhabitant of this world. What they produced was the in-depth Universal Declaration of Human Rights, leaving god out of the discussion except in the idea that people were free to believe what they wanted. Example after example is listed on how to treat each other with dignity and be humane towards one another, helping to increase the quality of life during their brief stint on this planet. The desire being to lay down the requirements for a civilized society.  

"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the people of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, 

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation withe the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge..."

It would seem the thinking humans not only go a lot further in understanding what it takes to be good, but they do it in a fashion that recognizes a universal goal; a fair and just world bringing together all varieties of cultures. They task everyone with the responsibility for themselves as well as instructing us that all freedoms and rights are inherently due each individual in order to achieve a world-wide peace. It doesn't require a god and kissing its ass, it requires recognizing that just as you deserve to have a quality life, so does the next guy. 

But I'd ask again, how's this working for us in today's world? We still have many countries that occupy Earth experiencing situations who certainly don't uphold the articles listed. There is still much disregard for the rights of individuals as well as the intentional destruction of people's lives, whatever the reason, even today. Are we less barbaric than we were in ancient times? I'd like to think we are, but when I see evidence of slavery, sex trafficking, wars, gang violence, gun violence, rape, child abuse, hatred and bigotry abounding... how can I think we are better than we were? What the hell is wrong with us? I'm sure it's not a simple answer, many variables contribute to our inhumanity.

One might think that superstition and clinging to out-dated traditions is keeping some of the Earth's population uneducated and adhering to religion rather than developing an understanding of the world and leaning towards reason and empathy. I would think that, as would many of my friends. Poverty being the biggest reason this cycle is hard to break. People will believe anything when you feed, clothe and shelter them. Why do you think missionaries are so important to the growth of a religion?

But it's not just being ignorant or accepting of the natural world, it's an attitude of us vs. them when you are dealing with the thousands of different religions in our world, still. That thinking alone informs me it's understandable why we still have so much strife in the world. One sect thinks they got it right and adhere only to their edicts. The expectation is the rest of us agree rather than them understanding and accepting that we are individuals with different ideas about what our quality of life looks like or how we'd like to experience it. 

I think the people who were involved with the creation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights understood so much about what would contribute to a better society and world, but we have many who just don't. I'm hopeful that more will as they drop the veil of religion from their lives, opting for education, inquiry and understanding instead. We become more humane when we truly have better insight about ourselves and our world. Empathy only exists when we can truly understand others and their situations rather than dictating how they should live their lives.

Ten demands from a god does not a humane person make, we know that because of our human history. Thirty articles from a concerned group of humans does not a humane person make either, but at least they were on the right track. Where we get better, eventually... hopefully... is when we drop this insistence that a god, who we are to adore, is somehow responsible for how we care for each other in this world. Only we are responsible for the quality of this world and its people. And sadly, only some get it.


The American Humanist Association really gets it! Thanks, Adam Brown, for posting this gem today.

A MUCH better ten commandments to live by...

Humanist Ten Commandments
(American Humanists Association)

1) Thou shalt strive to promote the greater good of humanity before all selfish desires.

2) Thou shalt be curious, for asking questions is the one way to find answers.

3) Harm to your fellow human is harm to humanity. Therefore, thou shalt not kill, rape, rob or otherwise victimize anyone.

4) Thou shalt treat all humans as equals, regardless of race, gender, age, creed, identity, orientation, physical ability, or status.

5) Thou shalt use reason as your guide. Science, knowledge, observation, and rational analysis are the best ways to determine any course of action.

6) Thou shalt not force your beliefs onto others, nor insist that yours be the only and correct way to live happily.

7) If thou dost govern, thou shalt govern with reason, not with superstition. Religion should have no place in any government which represents all people and beliefs.

8) Thou shalt act for the betterment of your fellow humans, and be, whenever possible, altruistic in your deeds.

9) Thou shalt be good to the Earth and its bounties, for without it, humankind is lost.

10) Thou shalt impart thy knowledge and wisdom gained in your lifetime to the next generation, so that with each passing century, humanity will grow wiser and more humane.

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