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In the Name of God بسم الله

Humanism

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I noticed that you both believe in a humanist worldview, I myself am not very acquainted with it and was wondering if you two gentleman could perhaps share why you believe in this worldview and is it mutually exclusive from Islam/religion or not, I know brother @iCenozoic considers himself a Christian humanist and I read that brother @Bakir just refers himself to be a humanist. I would have messaged you brothers in private, but I was unable to send a PM to brother Bakir, so I hope that you brothers don’t mind me making this thread, as you are both intelligent individuals that have reached an interesting conclusion pertaining to the idea of Humanism and I would like to be introduced and educated on it inshallah. :) 

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This is a very interesting thread, I'm happy to share my views and position in public. There have been majorly three inspirations for me(among others): an humanist muslim scholar, Camus and definitely

Apparently, there are different types of humanism. But these days it usually means secular humanism. This is their common symbol Basically, they believe humans can be ethical without reli

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If anyone likes to contribute to the topic of humanism please do, I’m sure the brothers can entertain your inputs, critiques, perspectives.

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1 hour ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

If anyone likes to contribute to the topic of humanism please do, I’m sure the brothers can entertain your inputs, critiques, perspectives.

Apparently, there are different types of humanism. But these days it usually means secular humanism. This is their common symbol

Happy Human

Basically, they believe humans can be ethical without religion, and more often than not, religion is an obstacle to moral/ethical behavior. They emphasize rationality, secularism (separation of Church and State), pursuing material and scientific progress for the betterment of humanity as whole. They essentially want humans to identify first and foremost as humans, to create a strong bond of humanity, and relegate their other identities like religion, race, nationality, etc., to a secondary or even tertiary value.

This philosophy is particularly strong in extremely non-religious parts of the Western world, like Scandinavia.

It goes without saying that this secular humanism is very contrary to the teachings of Islam. In a nutshell, Islam teaches that the purpose of human existence is to attain nearness to Allah through faith, worship and good deeds. The purpose of human existence is not to improve the material quality of life. So humanists will object to those particular teachings and principles of Islam which they regard as obstacles to material human progress. They object to much of the laws of the Shari'ah and aspects of following the Sunnah. They object to Islam's heavy emphasis on regular worship, which they regard as a massive consumption of human activity that is of no benefit to the material progress of humanity. They object to Islam's division of humanity into Believer and non-Muslim and an entire set of guidelines and principles which govern interaction between the two. They object to Islam's institution of Hijab or gender segregation and seclusion of women. They may also object to certain Islamic practices like animal sacrifice, infant male circumcision, etc.

Now one of my intellectual responses to humanism is that it must be recognized that human solidarity is wishful thinking and does not come natural to humans, i.e., it is not in our nature. What does a sophisticated, educated, urban, cosmopolitan New Yorker have in common with a naked Amerindian living in the Amazon rain forest, who doesn't even have language, and whose lifestyle is even more primitive than most of humanity in the early Bronze Age (5000 years ago)? According to humanism, they're both homo sapiens and should have solidarity with each other, but for all intents and purposes, the naked, primitive hunter gather societies that are isolated in various pockets around the world, is nothing more than a curiosity to the rest of us, almost like seeing a primate in the zoo.

My point is, we humans have more that divide us than commonalities. It is impossible to unite all humanity.

Edited by Cherub786
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39 minutes ago, Cherub786 said:

Apparently, there are different types of humanism. But these days it usually means secular humanism. This is their common symbol

Happy Human

Basically, they believe humans can be ethical without religion, and more often than not, religion is an obstacle to moral/ethical behavior. They emphasize rationality, secularism (separation of Church and State), pursuing material and scientific progress for the betterment of humanity as whole. They essentially want humans to identify first and foremost as humans, to create a strong bond of humanity, and relegate their other identities like religion, race, nationality, etc., to a secondary or even tertiary value.

This philosophy is particularly strong in extremely non-religious parts of the Western world, like Scandinavia.

It goes without saying that this secular humanism is very contrary to the teachings of Islam. In a nutshell, Islam teaches that the purpose of human existence is to attain nearness to Allah through faith, worship and good deeds. The purpose of human existence is not to improve the material quality of life. So humanists will object to those particular teachings and principles of Islam which they regard as obstacles to material human progress. They object to much of the laws of the Shari'ah and aspects of following the Sunnah. They object to Islam's heavy emphasis on regular worship, which they regard as a massive consumption of human activity that is of no benefit to the material progress of humanity. They object to Islam's division of humanity into Believer and non-Muslim and an entire set of guidelines and principles which govern interaction between the two. They object to Islam's institution of Hijab or gender segregation and seclusion of women. They may also object to certain Islamic practices like animal sacrifice, infant male circumcision, etc.

Now one of my intellectual responses to humanism is that it must be recognized that human solidarity is wishful thinking and does not come natural to humans, i.e., it is not in our nature. What does a sophisticated, educated, urban, cosmopolitan New Yorker have in common with a naked Amerindian living in the Amazon rain forest, who doesn't even have language, and whose lifestyle is even more primitive than most of humanity in the early Bronze Age (5000 years ago)? According to humanism, they're both homo sapiens and should have solidarity with each other, but for all intents and purposes, the naked, primitive hunter gather societies that are isolated in various pockets around the world, is nothing more than a curiosity to the rest of us, almost like seeing a primate in the zoo.

My point is, we humans have more that divide us than commonalities. It is impossible to unite all humanity.

So If I use the defention you put forward saying that you are "a christian humanist" or "a muslim humanist" is a contradiction or they just beleive in God but they don't want God telling them what to do?

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7 minutes ago, HusseinAbbas said:

So If I use the defention you put forward saying that you are "a christian humanist" or "a muslim humanist" is a contradiction or they just beleive in God but they don't want God telling them what to do?

I think you have oversimplified what you believe to be the essence of humanism, but I'll leave it to the actual humanists on this discussion board to clarify whether they agree with your summary of their philosophy.

As for "Christian humanists" I cannot comment, as I'm not a Christian nor am I so well versed in Christianity to make a judgment on such a delicate matter.

Regarding "Muslim humanists", I will say that according to me a Muslim who claims to be a humanist and more or less follows the humanist philosophy as defined by humanists themselves is still a Muslim as long as he professes the two most fundamental creeds of Islam "there is none worthy of worship except Allah" and "Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah" صلى الله عليه وسلم

He may be following a philosophy that is fundamentally at odds with Islam, but that doesn't give anyone the right to strip away the ascription of "Muslim" from him.

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11 hours ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

I noticed that you both believe in a humanist worldview, I myself am not very acquainted with it and was wondering if you two gentleman could perhaps share why you believe in this worldview and is it mutually exclusive from Islam/religion or not, I know brother @iCenozoic considers himself a Christian humanist and I read that brother @Bakir just refers himself to be a humanist. I would have messaged you brothers in private, but I was unable to send a PM to brother Bakir, so I hope that you brothers don’t mind me making this thread, as you are both intelligent individuals that have reached an interesting conclusion pertaining to the idea of Humanism and I would like to be introduced and educated on it inshallah. :) 

I've viewed humanism as more of a philosophy that can apply to any religion, or lack of religion.

Principals of humanism, often focus on ideas of human goodness, wellness of human beings, rational ways of solving human problems (usually more of an emphasis on science). And, I also believe that Jesus, in his teachings, presents ideas that coincide and emphasize grace over practices (more in line with Protestant views than Catholic). So that's kind of how I view Christian humanism.

I've never really thought about the question of if a Muslim could also be a humanist. I suppose so, but I haven't considered what that would look like.

 

Edited by iCenozoic
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3 hours ago, iCenozoic said:

Principals of humanism, often focus on ideas of human goodness, wellness of human beings, rational ways of solving human problems (usually more of an emphasis on science). And, I also believe that Jesus, in his teachings, presents ideas that coincide and emphasize grace over practices (more in line with Protestant views than Catholic). So that's kind of how I view Christian humanism.

 

Regarding the way in which said principals are derived, as a Christian humanist there will undoubtedly be conflict between your creed and the philosophical outlook of humanism when it comes to certain fundamentals. For example, matters pertaining to marriage, the state, etc. In such cases do you said with the philosophy of humanism or the objective doctrine of Christianity respectively.

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1 hour ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Regarding the way in which said principals are derived, as a Christian humanist there will undoubtedly be conflict between your creed and the philosophical outlook of humanism when it comes to certain fundamentals. For example, matters pertaining to marriage, the state, etc. In such cases do you said with the philosophy of humanism or the objective doctrine of Christianity respectively.

Well, I think whether these things conflict or not, comes down to how you perceive your faith or how orthodox you are. I don't see a conflict between the two, but you're free to elaborate.

Obviously, staunch conservatives might say "you and that Muslims aren't equally yolked" with respect to religion, and thus a Christian cannot marry a Muslim.

But you could also interpret the equally yolked verse in other ways that would allow for inter faith marriage. That's just an example.

Edited by iCenozoic
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This is a very interesting thread, I'm happy to share my views and position in public. There have been majorly three inspirations for me(among others): an humanist muslim scholar, Camus and definitely al Ma'arri.

Regarding the muslim scholar. I was taught by this scholar that humanism was the door to Islam. He was genuinely believing so, and he used to tell me to read many different authors (mostly philosophers) and we used to discuss them. We talked about politics, economics, and mostly social issues. It reached a point in which, even if we stopped living in the same house, I continued reading and we kept our academic relation to this day. I keep reading new authors and still discuss them with him, regardless of possible differences. He taught me critical thinking, and that religion went beyond what you could learn in Hawza (after all, that's the life experience he had as a scholar). Nonetheless, he was genuinely and completely a Muslim in the sense that he believes in revelation above everything else (though he may be extra cautious on what interpretations we do over revelation).

Regarding Camus. I believe that in order to become better humans, and a better society, we need references of better people. That was Camus for me. That was The Plague. Religions rely on an idea of eternity and reward. Camus recognized the Absurd, but didn't live in it. I mean, in the Plague, people chose decency over indecency, solidarity over selfishness, merely because they chose it. It's a great book that is heavily related to the times of Covid19. Camus showed us what does the absurd do to us in the stranger. He also taught me to rebel and build my own ideas, rights, morals in The Rebel. And gave me hope that was enough in the myth of Sysyphus. And he was, so far, right. I started listening to my critical thinking and reasonings on what is right and wrong, and that definitely expanded my mind.

Regarding the best of poets, the pride of any Arab (humanist), the thrice imprisoned Abul Alaa al Maarri: He truly gave me courage to step forward in my beliefs. I didn't believe in blind revelation. Al Maarri taught me to give Reason the authority it has and deserves over our beliefs, instead of Revelation. Contrary to the muslim scholar, I refuse to blindly believe in Islam when it clashes with reason, and in Islam we are taught to choose revelation over reason and personal values as we know from the story of Moses and alKhidr. If Moses, being a Prophet who has had more than enough proofs of the existence of Allah and his religion, failed the test with al Khidr, how are we supposed not to fail it nowaday?

Al Maarri was not an atheist nor someone without morals. He believed in God, though not specifically in Islamic doctrine. He had strong exemplary morals. He was an ascetic, very close to sufis in lifestyle. He was a person of high respect and a philisophical poet in his time (tenth century). He gave us all an example that Islam is not necessarily what makes you a good person, nor revelation, nor faith.

My choice of giving authority to reason over revelation is essentially what makes me first a Humanist and secondly a Muslim. In the sense that I believe in Allah and His prophet and His family, I find them great examples to follow, Islam is a religion of great discipline and self education, but I don't negate the authority of Reason over Revelation. I know that puts me out of Islam in terms of orthodoxy. I can't care less about those attacking me for it. The head of Al Ma'arri's statue was chopped off by ISIS. Regarding the view Allah may have of me, I'm at least being honest about it and living my life and ideas with coherence. Otherwise, I would be an hypocrite.

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Very beautifully worded brother May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) bless you both, Insha’Allah I will pose simple questions and pray that you perceive them with goodwill. 

5 hours ago, iCenozoic said:

Well, I think whether these things conflict or not, comes down to how you perceive your faith or how orthodox you are. I don't see a conflict between the two, but you're free to elaborate.

I like how your worded this, in the end it is up to the practitioner. However, I would find certain contradictions, or predicaments that will undoubtedly arise when it comes to consistency, not necessarily remaining orthodox. Reinterpreting laws, not fundamentally abiding by the Christian Canon, taking what you please and leaving the rest aside. I believe this type of approach can suffice for a person in their own individual life, but there is no practical application when it comes to the social sphere as well. Resorting to other forms of governance to a society, would be deemed problematic, because they permit that which is considered conflicting with at times those humanistic values as well. 

4 hours ago, Bakir said:

I was taught by this scholar that humanism was the door to Islam.

I believe that humanism is indeed a very important outlook to have as a Muslim, however, would you agree that instead of it being the door to Islam, it is one of the doors to Islam.

the reason I say that is because, we will at one point reach a position where either studies, statistics, or whatever the case may be will conflict. In such there will be revelation and humanistic guesswork regarding what could be the best for humanity. 

4 hours ago, Bakir said:

Religions rely on an idea of eternity and reward.

This is indeed a consistent theme you see within the Abrahamic religions, but then again it falls upon the precept of aiding the human being in reaching their greatest potential, through implementation of the sacred text as a manuscript and guide. Hence, the central idea would be moral advancement and spiritual ascension. 

4 hours ago, Bakir said:

I started listening to my critical thinking and reasonings on what is right and wrong, and that definitely expanded my mind.

Critical thinking and reasoning are beautiful attributes of the intellect, however, they can only go so far and in some cases cast a mirage over us in thinking what we are doing is thinking consciously over what may be best for us and others in general, but in the end we may subconsciously be supporting a separate objective premise which we found ourselves to be keen to and therefore adopt through mental processes. Essentially, you cannot escape objectivity and if you presume you do, you are merely unaware of it, due to its subconscious latch on you. I’ve seen a common objective theme being Utilitarianism within the west, whereas it is Religion in Eastern and more religious subcontinents. 

4 hours ago, Bakir said:

I refuse to blindly believe in Islam when it clashes with reason

Reason is built on an objective standpoint, I believe if one deviates from the essence in which their reason is substantiated from, their foundation will collapse and their methodology will only go so far, until it is inapplicable. An example would be when it comes to the tougher decisions in morality - Allowing certain relations or acts to be engaged in, because they fall under that category of pleasing the self and supposedly not harming others, or advocating for a moral revelation, for the sake of consistency and sound unshakable foundation, which is confident in the credibility of the source.

4 hours ago, Bakir said:

He believed in God, though not specifically in Islamic doctrine.

This is where I see inconsistency being an issue when the bigger underling social questions present themselves. 

4 hours ago, Bakir said:

the authority of Reason over Revelation

Reason could be a euphemism for Utilitarianism.

 

4 hours ago, Bakir said:

Otherwise, I would be an hypocrite.

Perhaps, an issue of controversy is still bound to arise, considering the aforementioned points. 

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14 minutes ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

 

I like how your worded this, in the end it is up to the practitioner. However, I would find certain contradictions, or predicaments that will undoubtedly arise when it comes to consistency, not necessarily remaining orthodox. Reinterpreting laws, not fundamentally abiding by the Christian Canon, taking what you please and leaving the rest aside. I believe this type of approach can suffice for a person in their own individual life, but there is no practical application when it comes to the social sphere as well. Resorting to other forms of governance to a society, would be deemed problematic, because they permit that which is considered conflicting with at times those humanistic values as well. 

 

If you have a specific idea to share, you're free to do so, otherwise thanks.

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52 minutes ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

In such there will be revelation and humanistic guesswork regarding what could be the best for humanity. 

Yeah, of course, it's one of the doors, and probably in other cases it's not even a door. It can also be the door out of Islam, depending on how you deal with those clashes between reason and revelation.

57 minutes ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Hence, the central idea would be moral advancement and spiritual ascension

An idea of eternity is likely to be necessary for a moral code to succeed. I believe that many humanists do have some sort of projection of eternity (which may be religious or not). However, my point was on the value our intentions have (which differs pretty much from utilitarianism). Even Islam emphasizes the importance on doing good not because of reward or fear, but because it is valuable by itself. I do think so in terms of social justice and universalism. If you acknowledge a right for yourself, you must acknowledge it for others, and be active towards that goal.

1 hour ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Critical thinking and reasoning are beautiful attributes of the intellect, however, they can only go so far and in some cases cast a mirage over us in thinking what we are doing is thinking consciously over what may be best for us and others in general, but in the end we may subconsciously be supporting a separate objective premise which we found ourselves to be keen to and therefore adopt through mental processes

Absolutely, and this happens constantly. I mentioned the Plague previously because of the importance of social cooperation in the effort of building a code of decency and solidarity. Alone, I can only achieve certain level of moral insight. Privileges and lack of experiences affect my reasoning. Nonetheless, listening to other diverse voices in society may allow me to expand my knowledge and understanding of what we may need to improve within society and close circles. For example, I may be acting like an idiot at my home or office or whatever, and if I'm not aware of my privileges, positions of power, and the circumstances that people around me may be going through, I will most likely fail in my reasonings on what is right or wrong.

1 hour ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Reason is built on an objective standpoint, I believe if one deviates from the essence in which their reason is substantiated from, their foundation will collapse and their methodology will only go so far, until it is inapplicable. An example would be when it comes to the tougher decisions in morality - Allowing certain relations or acts to be engaged in, because they fall under that category of pleasing the self and supposedly not harming others, or advocating for a moral revelation, for the sake of consistency and sound unshakable foundation, which is confident in the credibility of the source.

I think this is very interesting. Reason is extremely fallible, but revelation can also be so (unless in its very own ideological frame). Revelation is just infallible according to revelation, so it's redundant. 

In that sense, adopting indeed an utilitarian view, reason can fail, but we also have the ideological frame in which we can identify WHY it has failed by listening to different voices and views. And that capacity for transformation, adaptation and progress is a tool that we don't have in a revelation based world views.

1 hour ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Reason could be a euphemism for Utilitarianism.

Utilitarianism can be a good model in which we build a social contract. However, one's beliefs can go beyond utilitarianism, as I previously mentioned in the case of The Plague. Not everything can be quanitified, nor it should be.

1 hour ago, Mohammad313Ali said:

Perhaps, an issue of controversy is still bound to arise, considering the aforementioned points. 

Not really, because my beliefs aren't set in stone, in the sense that they can adapt and progress because I recognize they are fallible. For others, a non-eternal set of beliefs that may change is based in an absurd meaningless world view. For me, they are absolutely right. The difference, as Camus would put it, is that I don't want to kill myself for building my beliefs over the Absurd or meaningless, I've learnt to cope with this reality, and absolutely enjoy happiness and a feeling of plenitude with my beliefs.

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1 hour ago, iCenozoic said:

If you have a specific idea to share, you're free to do so, otherwise thanks.

@Mohammad313Ali

What I mean is, your post was a bit broad. "taking what you need and leaving the rest aside", "reinterpretting laws". These are kind of broad statements. I'd have to see something specific to know what is on your mind. I just don't know what you're trying to say.

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Set of ideas marketed and promoted by Secular Governments for Economic focus and growth. People Freedom= Tax revenue. Transient Ethics means sequential economic growth. 

Remove God and replace it with Human god-Human Legislation can be changed by voting them in and out as the majority dictates/elects human god of choice. Look deeper into ti, great marketing scheme to fool the simpletons.

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On 8/23/2020 at 6:00 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

Reason is built on an objective standpoint, I believe if one deviates from the essence in which their reason is substantiated from, their foundation will collapse and their methodology will only go so far, until it is inapplicable. An example would be when it comes to the tougher decisions in morality - Allowing certain relations or acts to be engaged in, because they fall under that category of pleasing the self and supposedly not harming others, or advocating for a moral revelation, for the sake of consistency and sound unshakeable foundation, which is confident in the credibility of the source.

I think that what you are saying here is probably based on a false premise: you seem to think (I may be wrong) that religion engendered morality.  

As a social species, humans have evolved empathy, and as a result, the underlying core of human ethics is already universal. 

Most cultures in the world accept that moral impulses should serve the maximal well-being and minimal suffering of sentient beings. (Typically their own tribe or nation if not all of humanity). 

Moral codes and standards predate Gods and Goddesses. The problem is, authority, whatever guise it assumes, will portray itself as the source of morality, as well as its defender and enforcer.

Most religionists understanding of the world and how it works believe that adhering to dogma  (will of God) is the best / the only way to ensure maximal well-being and minimal suffering for the greatest number of sentient beings. 

My model differs somewhat in as far as I believe that sound moral judgement must always be open to revision in light of new evidence.

Religious Dogma instead is a set of propositions held to be true and infallible, not in need of revision. 
Being dogmatic means refusing to revise one's model of reality in light of new evidence. 

Therefore, if righteousness is defined as consistency with God's will and/or nature, dogma can legitimately declare righteous things like slavery, killing gays, killing apostates, female genital mutilation etc. etc.

For example, we can definitively say, that female genital mutilation is wrong/evil because it causes the suffering of many sentient beings and promotes the well-being of none. 

wslm

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8 hours ago, Quisant said:

religion engendered morality.  

Religion brought forth a sublime form of morality, which was the reason for the progression of the human species. After religion was divorced its elements remain, however, many live a conflicting and inconsistent lifestyle. The religious elements that do remain continue to progress mankind within a society, as for those that have been divorced, particularly that which pertains to mannerisms, the repercussions are quite evident.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

humans have evolved empathy

I believe empathy evolved from a preexisting moral precept.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

ethics is already universal.

Its universality comes from an innate disposition that inclines to good and is at times cascaded by indecency, as one deviates from their intrinsic moral precepts. Not to be confused with what an individual's idea of morality is, as a basis.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

Most cultures in the world accept that moral impulses should serve the maximal well-being and minimal suffering of sentient beings. (Typically their own tribe or nation if not all of humanity). 

This is what leads to social and moral anarchy, a religious precept ordains divine order, whereas cultural beliefs that have reason from a base of morality and then branch out to appease certain human inclinations would undoubtedly be problematic.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

The problem is, authority, whatever guise it assumes, will portray itself as the source of morality, as well as its defender and enforcer.

I don't necessarily see this as a problem, the source of light is self-illuminating. Morality defends itself through the maximization of human potential in varying areas, while suppressing those less favorable animalistic attributes that prove to be well in one area, but have unfortunately spread to others, due to the haste of mankind,

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

Most religionists understanding of the world and how it works believe that adhering to dogma  (will of God) is the best / the only way to ensure maximal well-being and minimal suffering for the greatest number of sentient beings. 

This holds lots of truth, in the end we are indeed lacking when it comes to understanding certain gray areas, but that does not mean surrendering our will to thought, instead it is a cushion (will of God) to rest upon when reaching an area of misunderstanding, or perhaps even perceptual contradiction for a minimal amount of time. E.g - the past and current model of the universe. The prior contradicting Islam and the latter affirming its idea of an expanding universe. Therefore, we must subject ourselves to the heightened credibility of the fashioner and his infallible word.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

sound moral judgement must always be open to revision in light of new evidence.

I completely agree, as we evolve and enter new epochs, there will undoubtedly be a need for reevaluation, however, such reform must be in accordance to the set objective rule of law.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

Religious Dogma instead is a set of propositions held to be true and infallible, not in need of revision. 

You revise in accordance to the precepts of the set rule, the presupposition that a religious law remains unamendable is incorrect.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

Being dogmatic means refusing to revise one's model of reality in light of new evidence. 

Revision is always applicable, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to divorce an objective set basis, for example the constitution and how laws are changed and amended through it, while the constitution does not itself undergo revision.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

dogma can legitimately declare righteous things like slavery, killing gays, killing apostates, female genital mutilation etc. etc.

This is a very convoluted area and cannot be understood with presuppositions, for example apostate has been reinterpreted or understood to be a combatant against Islam, gays are those which publicly spread indecency, disease, and amorality, genital mutilation is not applicable in Islam for obvious reasons, however, male circumcision is very clear in the benefits that it carries and recommendation it receives from doctors.

8 hours ago, Quisant said:

For example, we can definitively say, that female genital mutilation is wrong/evil because it causes the suffering of many sentient beings and promotes the well-being of none. 

 

Islam would agree, yes. But, for other issues, it would depend considering that we have a very deficient understanding of what truly benefits or harms us.

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On 8/24/2020 at 1:05 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

Religion brought forth a sublime form of morality, which was the reason for the progression of the human species.

Risalat al Ghufran by al Ma'arri is a great example of the irrational overestimated value of religion (and post-Jahiliyya era) in order to, probably, justify its divinity and infallibility. In the end, in order to deem Religious morality to be sublime you must be already using a previous criteria to consider something morally superior or inferior. And THAT criteria is what, in fact, matters. That very criteria is what seems to disappear after the religious dogmas are fully accepted without any sort of questioning (or what we call "surrender", or what Camus called the philosophical suicide).

On 8/24/2020 at 1:05 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

The religious elements that do remain continue to progress mankind within a society

If we value social progress on happiness and life quality, I would say there are many other non religious values that contributed much more in the last centuries. For example, the political fight of working classes against wage slavery, the fight for women's rights (that have achieved great results against the genital mutilation previously deemed unislsmic), and human rights activism around the world.

Values and principles may exist without religion.

In the other hand, many religious elements continue to bring social and political distress. 

And yeah, it's all a matter of interpretation and application. But religion is rarely seen as a tool in the hands of regular people, but rather a complex field of knowledge in the hands of few religious institutions. Thus, regular religious people usually don't trust their own moral and ethical agency (or this is at least what happened to me, and I greatly repent for acting blindly religiously instead of ethically).

Taking distance from religion made me a better person, and I don't have the slightest doubt about it.

On 8/24/2020 at 1:05 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

Its universality comes from an innate disposition that inclines to good and is at times cascaded by indecency, as one deviates from their intrinsic moral precepts.

I understand that @Quisant wasn't referring to ethics as a specific universal moral code, but that ethics (as a field of philisophy) are based on an universal projection of our rational ethical conclusions. That is, you being against someone killing you for no reason means that you are against murder (and that life is a right, an universal one).

Indecency is deemed as indecency because it goes against ethical commandments. That doesn't disqualify ethical reasonings, it just means you are not acting ethically.

On 8/24/2020 at 1:05 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

This is what leads to social and moral anarchy, a religious precept ordains divine order, whereas cultural beliefs that have reason from a base of morality and then branch out to appease certain human inclinations would undoubtedly be problematic.

You are both talking about political problems here. And of course, these are essentially problematic because don't deem all humans equal, and there is no universalism at all in such thinking.

Utilitarianism doesn't make such distinctions in who is considered a sentient being.

On 8/24/2020 at 1:05 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

I don't necessarily see this as a problem

Then there can't exist any revision to authority, morally speaking. Without that, philosophical and actual rebellion cannot exist within society.

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There is one thing I would also like to add referring to "moral anarchy". I believe the word anarchy by itself tends to have terrible connotations and may lead us to some interpretations that may not be useful to fully understand what it means to be free to build your own life meaning and morals.

What I previously called philosophical suicide is nothing but the so called "leap of faith" in philosophy, and some may find this a viable genuinely intelligent way not to confront the absurdity of our existence that comes from our Reason's inability to understand it. That's what we could also call religion, a leap of faith. The fact is that acknowledging our inability to understand existence (the absurd) also allows us to recognize our ability to create meaning, or at least search for it in our lives. by doing so, we confront the absurdity of our existence (philisophical rebellion) and that is what brings us actual freedom. Being able to think freely and build your values and beliefs by experiencing real freedom, without the imposition of a moral code by any authority, is what we could call moral anarchy. And I find that great, because it's the most efficient weapon against oppression.

Edited by Bakir
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On 8/24/2020 at 1:05 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

Religion brought forth a sublime form of morality, which was the reason for the progression of the human species. After religion was divorced its elements remain, however, many live a conflicting and inconsistent lifestyle. The religious elements that do remain continue to progress mankind within a society, as for those that have been divorced, particularly that which pertains to mannerisms, the repercussions are quite evident.

I believe empathy evolved from a preexisting moral precept.

Its universality comes from an innate disposition that inclines to good and is at times cascaded by indecency, as one deviates from their intrinsic moral precepts. Not to be confused with what an individual's idea of morality is, as a basis.

This is what leads to social and moral anarchy, a religious precept ordains divine order, whereas cultural beliefs that have reason from a base of morality and then branch out to appease certain human inclinations would undoubtedly be problematic.

I don't necessarily see this as a problem, the source of light is self-illuminating. Morality defends itself through the maximization of human potential in varying areas, while suppressing those less favorable animalistic attributes that prove to be well in one area, but have unfortunately spread to others, due to the haste of mankind,

This holds lots of truth, in the end we are indeed lacking when it comes to understanding certain gray areas, but that does not mean surrendering our will to thought, instead it is a cushion (will of God) to rest upon when reaching an area of misunderstanding, or perhaps even perceptual contradiction for a minimal amount of time. E.g - the past and current model of the universe. The prior contradicting Islam and the latter affirming its idea of an expanding universe. Therefore, we must subject ourselves to the heightened credibility of the fashioner and his infallible word.

I completely agree, as we evolve and enter new epochs, there will undoubtedly be a need for reevaluation, however, such reform must be in accordance to the set objective rule of law.

You revise in accordance to the precepts of the set rule, the presupposition that a religious law remains unamendable is incorrect.

Revision is always applicable, that doesn't necessarily mean you need to divorce an objective set basis, for example the constitution and how laws are changed and amended through it, while the constitution does not itself undergo revision.

This is a very convoluted area and cannot be understood with presuppositions, for example apostate has been reinterpreted or understood to be a combatant against Islam, gays are those which publicly spread indecency, disease, and amorality, genital mutilation is not applicable in Islam for obvious reasons, however, male circumcision is very clear in the benefits that it carries and recommendation it receives from doctors.

Islam would agree, yes. But, for other issues, it would depend considering that we have a very deficient understanding of what truly benefits or harms us.

Ultimately I see religion as a highly profitable business; an industry of deceit to keep the show on the road. Inevitably modernization will bring about secularization.

We have very different views; we'll probably never agree but thank you for your interesting response. 

Best wishes.

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On 8/24/2020 at 7:00 PM, Bakir said:

I understand that @Quisant wasn't referring to ethics as a specific universal moral code, but that ethics (as a field of philisophy) are based on an universal projection of our rational ethical conclusions.

That is correct, it is what I meant.

From amongst us came the prophets to teach 
And from the pulpit they preached 
They prayed, they slayed, and they passed away, 
Yet our ills remain as pebbles on a beach 

I too am very fond of Al Maari - for somebody who was writing a thousand years ago he is very modern, still very relevant.

Best wishes.

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3 minutes ago, Quisant said:

Ultimately I see religion as a highly profitable business; an industry of deceit to keep the show on the road.

Religion can only conceivably be a profitable business if it is organized or institutionalized. But not all expression of Religion is organized or institutionalized.

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On 8/22/2020 at 9:05 PM, Mohammad313Ali said:

I noticed that you both believe in a humanist worldview, I myself am not very acquainted with it and was wondering if you two gentleman could perhaps share why you believe in this worldview and is it mutually exclusive from Islam/religion or not, I know brother @iCenozoic considers himself a Christian humanist and I read that brother @Bakir just refers himself to be a humanist. I would have messaged you brothers in private, but I was unable to send a PM to brother Bakir, so I hope that you brothers don’t mind me making this thread, as you are both intelligent individuals that have reached an interesting conclusion pertaining to the idea of Humanism and I would like to be introduced and educated on it inshallah. :) 

By the way.  I am a humanist and an atheist.  This simply means I am a human and that I don’t believe in gods.  

 

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37 minutes ago, eThErEaL said:

By the way.  I am a humanist and an atheist

:D you were shia who recently turned  sunni, now you're humanist and an atheist. Is there anything else?

39 minutes ago, eThErEaL said:

This simply means I am a human and that I don’t believe in gods.  

What about God?

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1 hour ago, Cool said:

:D you were shia who recently turned  sunni, now you're humanist and an atheist. Is there anything else?

What about God?

What is the difference?  One is with capital letters the other with lower cases. 

Edited by eThErEaL
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15 hours ago, eThErEaL said:

What is the difference?  One is with capital letters the other with lower cases. 

I thought you only don't believe in gods

Well one is plural while other is not. One is falsehood while other is truth etc...

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Whos humanism are you guys talking about?

Nobody is ever the bad guy in the narrative of their own story and for sure they would consider what they are doing the humane and the right thing to do.

 

On 8/23/2020 at 8:02 PM, Bakir said:

My choice of giving authority to reason over revelation is essentially what makes me first a Humanist and secondly a Muslim.

I think thats a strange way to think.

Humanism is bound to humans, so what were you before you soul temporarily parked in what is your body and what will you be when your soul and body departs? 

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12 hours ago, Soldiers and Saffron said:

Whos humanism are you guys talking about?

Nobody is ever the bad guy in the narrative of their own story and for sure they would consider what they are doing the humane and the right thing to do.

 

I think thats a strange way to think.

Humanism is bound to humans, so what were you before you soul temporarily parked in what is your body and what will you be when your soul and body departs? 

Regarding your first point:

Indeed, humanism is belief built by yourself, and that's enough. That doesn't necessarily mean you are the good guy. I'm far from seeing myself like that, and do direct and indirect efforts to be a better human being, for myself and for others, and act according to principles worth following (justice, empathy, mercy, etc.).

In the second hand, humanism values are built on the principle of moral universality. If I recognize a right to myself, I do it for all other people. Most moral values are in fact based in this basic concept. Selfishness itself finds its end in this principle. From there, there are different paths within humanism. For me, I've always talked about Camus because he defended the idea of decency, even when there was absolute lack of Revelation or beliefs per se. He develops this idea in his book The Plague. 

The type of person you are describing is a self righteous individual who recognizes no fault within himself. I would rather think that person has some sort of psychological problem, to be honest, if he lacks empathy to acknowledge he has done harm to others, directly or indirectly. I must also say that I have seen self righteous people in religious communities too, who regardless of their despicable acts, they believe they do nothing wrong, or do much less wrong than they actually do.

12 hours ago, Soldiers and Saffron said:

Nobody is ever the bad guy

Anyway, this sentence is invalid as soon as I myself tell you that I don't recognize myself as a perfect individual, but rather full of flaws I want to correct and do work in that direction.

 

Regarding your second point:

You are right, yet I don't know about that, and neither I am able to understand it. I can assume there is life after death, there is reckoning, and that I will have to answer for my acts. Yet the only tool I consider the most valid above all others tools I have is, in fact, Reason, and not Revelation, to guide my acts in this life.

That doesn't mean I disregard Revelation, but that when there is a clash between both that I cannot reconcile, I will lean towards Reason in most (not all) cases. Reason still allows me to fast, to pray, to pay zakat, not to fall into sins of selfish nature, etc. Its clashes are mostly ideological, and in those few cases, I take a stand against what we understand of Revelation. In the end, I don't really see this like opposing Allah in anyway. It's being in opposition of what we understand of Revelation, and if this may be true, my Reason may have flaws, because it's fallible. I'm not doing any type of opposition out of selfishness or pride, but out of actual belief in what reason tells me it's the best and most just. And I do that with all the humility I can, and ask Allah for guidance if I'm wrong.

Nonetheless, I believe this position is legitimate as far as the individual keeps researching. In the sense that I'm not a half believer so to speak. I consider myself a believer with some (hopefully temporary) objections, like most regular people. I'm just open about them, and recognize my inability to fake it till I make it.

I don't believe in many aspects of Islam that I even consider harmful for society (such as slavery, the killing of apostates, etc.). There are other ridiculous things that keep being discussed here like the thighing fatwa. For me, the mere necessity to discuss such an evident abomination points at the huge flaws of Revelation. Among other many stupid debates we have within religion. And I can't act like if that was not a reality of my religion.

I honestly believe I did my job and worried to understand my religion enough to acknowledge its flaws and the rights of Reason over it. I didn't try to reform it, to innovate it, to make it sound cooler in my head, or whatever. I value honesty, and honesty made me take a reasonable and necessary step against revelation. And I'm not ashamed of that. If Allah wants to judge me for that, so be it. I prefer to be judged for my decisions than to be judged as a dishonest cowars who can't be real about what he truly thinks.

Lastly, but not least important, I believe in references. The worst references I have had in my life have been Muslim people. It's impressing I'm not some sort of militant active apostate fighting against Islam. Thieves, hipocrites, male chauvinists, rapists, paedophiles, murderers, gold diggers, scammers, female abusers, etc. Most Muslim people I met in my local community were exactly this, many of them are in jail, and the others that aren't are sad about the fact they are in jail because they almost killed their wives or stole money or whatever. The guy who imposed himself as the representant of shias here stole the money sent from Iraq to build an islamic center here, and with the 1,2M€ built a 500k€ center in front of a brothel (in the worst and cheapers area). His brother indeed attacked me physically when I was 8 years old. Many others used to go to Morocco to pay for underage (12-16) girls and have sex with them instead of paying their daughters' school books, for instance. We can say this is all bad in islam, but I haven't seen a single muslim in my community saying anything to these people. Do you know who is the only one who did, and fiercely humiliated this garbage? Myself. And I needed no ahadith nor verses to put them in their place. Decency is enough. This is the people I grew up with. I realize that for others, Muslims represent a community that supported them, gave them confidence when they needed it, listened to their problems, etc. In my personal experience, they either have been "the enemy" or just barbaric animals deserving no respect. Nonetheless, I can recognize that my experiences don't nor should be a representation of Muslims. I just hope it's not the norm.

I have fortunately met very few that gave a great example, and that I always remember when I have some sort of faith crisis. But these were precisely the type of people that seemed to use reason more than revelation when leading a righteous life. They always made sense, regardless of their unorthodox characters.

Edited by Bakir
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On 9/1/2020 at 2:48 PM, eThErEaL said:

By the way.  I am a humanist and an atheist.  This simply means I am a human and that I don’t believe in gods.  

No, it would mean you believe humans are their own gods.

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1 minute ago, Reza said:

No, it would mean you believe humans are their own gods.

Only in the sense that humans create beliefs, and not the other way around. The idea of God or gods is way MORE than that.

Also, there is no specific rule against being a humanist and a believer in God. You can believe in God. Wasn't al Maarri in fact a believer?

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33 minutes ago, Bakir said:

I don't believe in many aspects of Islam that I even consider harmful for society (such as slavery, the killing of apostates, etc.)

This is a genuine grey area where Muslims themselves differ if they are sanctioned by the Revelation itself. For example, I believe the Revelation is clear that there isn't an Earthly punishment for apostasy. I think there is no problem in questioning matters that fall into this disputed, grey area, the problem is when the fundamental aspects of the Revelation are questioned, for example, the existence of God, the prophesy of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, the resurrection and afterlife, and the veracity of the Quran

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Just now, Bakir said:

Also, there is no specific rule against being a humanist and a believer in God. You can believe in God. Wasn't al Maarri in fact a believer?

Humanism could be relatively neutral or positive terminology within a God-believing context, but has been co-opted to be synonymous with human supremacy and human exclusivity. It’s a rhetorical and insinuating term. 

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