Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Is Humanism The New World Religion?

Harari certainly argues so. Of course the different varieties of humanism (liberal, socialist, and evolutionary) in his version don't exactly agree with each other. They also come into frequent conflict with some of the older religions, those most versions don't reject any of them. Christianity and Islam claim their legitamcy from Holy Books. So do a few others.

The classic conflict between liberal humanism and some of the biggest older religions comes over the question of human rights. Many religions and traditions have fairly detailed codes of behavior and roles for various people in society. Liberal humanism rejects many of these in the name of freedom - freedom to marry whom you want, for example. Traditional notions of filial obedience and respect are undermined in the same name. These kinds of changes are upsetting everywhere and most of all in traditional societies with roles that form the bedrock of economic relations.