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This Week in Humanism 2018–05–27


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/05/27

“What is Humanism?

Humanism is a set of beliefs which focuses on human beings and rational thinking as opposed to the divine or supernatural.

Humanists UK is an organisation founded in 1896 which is committed to putting Humanism into practice through ceremonies and pastoral work.

On their website they explain, “Throughout recorded history there have been non-religious people who have believed that this life is the only life we have, that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity.

“They have trusted to the scientific method, evidence and reason to discover truths about the universe and have placed human welfare and happiness at the centre of their ethical decision making.

“Today, people who share these beliefs and values are called humanists and this combination of attitudes is called Humanism.””


“A movement called Humanistic Judaism has taken roots and all Plymoutheans are invited to hear a representative of this ideology tell about his system and convictions.

The world is changing. A few years ago even Time magazine asked the question on its cover page, “Is God Dead?” Or was it a declaration, I forget. Whichever it was, today we have old and new ideologies categorized as political, religious, and cultural, that are not theistic, that do not have a god or gods at the center of their system. Example: Buddhism, Confucianism, Communism, Nazism, capitalism, and more. All have in common they are ideologies, with strong rules of behavior to guide followers in ethical decisions, including interpersonal and economic. Theistic religions are also ideologies. Theistic religions source their rules to gods or a god, who is the ultimate authority for the rules of behavior they promote. Humanistic ideologies source their authority in people, the followers, where the rules are selected and defined by the followers in very democratic ways. In other words humanistic is bottom up, theistic is top down. There are exceptions: communism was hijacked and became top-down, totalitarian.”


“On the face of it, conservation seems like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t we protect endangered species or land essential for an ecosystem? And yet, in the age of Trump, it clearly is not a no-brainer.

When I was growing up in the evangelical world, I heard any number of reasons individuals rejected conservation, for example:

  • It is a New Ager’s idea.
  • It is a liberal idea and liberals want to destroy America.
  • We have been given dominion over the world (Gen. 1:26–28); therefore, the planet’s resources are ours.
  • The last days are here; therefore the planet is going to burn up anyway.
  • God wouldn’t have built a planet we could destroy.

(Have you heard of nukes?)

There was a time when I parroted back these responses, but, in time, I began to question them — particularly due to theological reasons.

I progressively wondered why God would create a planet he called “good,” but then be cool with his people screwing it up. I was also becoming a liberal Christian, so my conservation theology started to kick in, seeing creation care as also an essential mandate.”


“As a United Nations regional body focused on economic development, ECLAC emerged in the case of Latin America in 1948. Its first executive secretary was Mexican Gustavo Martínez Cabañas, author of numerous studies on financial issues affecting several spheres in his country.

At that time the Cuban Revolution was not yet a reality, but 11 years later with the victory, the paths of Cuba and ECLAC began to advance together.

Argentine Raúl Prebisch was at the helm of the Commission, between May of 1950 and July of 1963, during a period when the body had a decisive influence on ideas and development paths in Latin America and the Caribbean, contributing to UN efforts to achieve a more just international order, as is explained in his biographical profile.

Years later, Fidel would recall at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago de Chile, November 29, 1971, “We had the honor of receiving a visit from Dr. Prebisch. We showed him some things. We are sure that if he were to visit our country today, he would see many new things.””


Prof. Imam Soharwardy is a Sunni scholar and a shaykh of the Suhrawardi Sufi order, as well as the chairman of the Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly,founder of Muslims Against Terrorism (MAT), and the founder and president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada. He founded MAT in Calgary in January 1998. He is also the founder of Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC).

Imam Soharwardy is the founder of the first ever Dar-ul-Aloom in Calgary, Alberta where he teaches Islamic studies. Prof. Soharwardy is the Head Imam at the Al Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre.

Imam Soharwardy is a strong advocate of Islamic Tasawuf (Sufism), and believes that the world will be a better place for everyone if we follow what the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has said, “You will not have faith unless you like for others what you like for yourself.” He believes that spiritual weakness in humans causes all kinds of problems.

Mr. Soharwardy can be contacted at OR Phone (403)-831–6330. Original interview here. Some prior discussions hereherehere, and here. Here we talk about questioning and faith and non-religion.

Imam Soharwardy took the time for an interview with me. We talked the young. In particular, the young non-religious and religious. Those who may believe in humanism. Those who may believe in Islam.

Humanists, mostly, coincide with the beliefs as atheists. Others, like super-minorities, may be theists in some modified definitions, deists, and even pantheists.

Their emphasis is humanistic valued. I wanted to focus on dialogue between communities. I find some sects in Islam and communities of the non-religious do not respect freedom of religion and freedom of belief for others.

In some sects of Islam, as seems pointed to, often, the tendency seems a desire to eliminate atheists, the non-religious, the infidels, and to, in secular terminology, disregard freedom of belief and freedom of religion, which includes other metaphysical propositions such as atheism.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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