[FoRK] Mathematics vs Religion

Stephen D. Williams sdw
Fri Aug 12 21:48:42 PDT 2005

Hell no... ;-)

Have you been sleeping? Justice and morality can be and are derived from 
pretty simple and obvious principles of civilization. You might look at 
the humanist manifesto as one school of thought. I am with them on a 
number of points, except for the socialism, or at least anti-capitalism, 
points. I specifically think it is a bad idea to tie morality and religion.


  Humanist Manifesto I

The Manifesto is a product of many minds. It was designed to represent a 
developing point of view, not a new creed. The individuals whose 
signatures appear would, had they been writing individual statements, 
have stated the propositions in differing terms. The importance of the 
document is that more than thirty men have come to general agreement on 
matters of final concern and that these men are undoubtedly 
representative of a large number who are forging a new philosophy out of 
the materials of the modern world.

? Raymond B. Bragg (1933)


The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in 
religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere 
revision of traditional attitudes. Science and economic change have 
disrupted the old beliefs. Religions the world over are under the 
necessity of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly 
increased knowledge and experience. In every field of human activity, 
the vital movement is now in the direction of a candid and explicit 
humanism. In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, 
the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe 
the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate.

There is great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification 
of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their 
significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human 
living in the Twentieth Century. Religions have always been means for 
realizing the highest values of life. Their end has been accomplished 
through the interpretation of the total environing situation (theology 
or world view), the sense of values resulting therefrom (goal or ideal), 
and the technique (cult), established for realizing the satisfactory 
life. A change in any of these factors results in alteration of the 
outward forms of religion. This fact explains the changefulness of 
religions through the centuries. But through all changes religion itself 
remains constant in its quest for abiding values, an inseparable feature 
of human life.

Today man's larger understanding of the universe, his scientific 
achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a 
situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of 
religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of 
furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear 
to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does 
owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less 
obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic 
force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish 
such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a 
responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the 

    *FIRST*: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing
    and not created.

    *SECOND*: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he
    has emerged as a result of a continuous process.

    *THIRD*: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the
    traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.

    *FOURTH*: Humanism recognizes that man's religious culture and
    civilization, as clearly depicted by anthropology and history, are
    the product of a gradual development due to his interaction with his
    natural environment and with his social heritage. The individual
    born into a particular culture is largely molded by that culture.

    *FIFTH*: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted
    by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic
    guarantees of human values. Obviously humanism does not deny the
    possibility of realities as yet undiscovered, but it does insist
    that the way to determine the existence and value of any and all
    realities is by means of intelligent inquiry and by the assessment
    of their relations to human needs. Religion must formulate its hopes
    and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method.

    *SIXTH*: We are convinced that the time has passed for theism,
    deism, modernism, and the several varieties of "new thought".

    *SEVENTH*: Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and
    experiences which are humanly significant. Nothing human is alien to
    the religious. It includes labor, art, science, philosophy, love,
    friendship, recreation ? all that is in its degree expressive of
    intelligently satisfying human living. The distinction between the
    sacred and the secular can no longer be maintained.

    *EIGHTH*: Religious Humanism considers the complete realization of
    human personality to be the end of man's life and seeks its
    development and fulfillment in the here and now. This is the
    explanation of the humanist's social passion.

    *NINTH*: In the place of the old attitudes involved in worship and
    prayer the humanist finds his religious emotions expressed in a
    heightened sense of personal life and in a cooperative effort to
    promote social well-being.

    *TENTH*: It follows that there will be no uniquely religious
    emotions and attitudes of the kind hitherto associated with belief
    in the supernatural.

    *ELEVENTH*: Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of
    his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonable and
    manly attitudes will be fostered by education and supported by
    custom. We assume that humanism will take the path of social and
    mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and
    wishful thinking.

    *TWELFTH*: Believing that religion must work increasingly for joy in
    living, religious humanists aim to foster the creative in man and to
    encourage achievements that add to the satisfactions of life.

    *THIRTEENTH*: Religious humanism maintains that all associations and
    institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life. The
    intelligent evaluation, transformation, control, and direction of
    such associations and institutions with a view to the enhancement of
    human life is the purpose and program of humanism. Certainly
    religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical
    methods, and communal activities must be reconstituted as rapidly as
    experience allows, in order to function effectively in the modern world.

    *FOURTEENTH*: The humanists are firmly convinced that existing
    acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be
    inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and
    motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic
    order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution
    of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and
    universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently
    cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a
    shared world.

    *FIFTEENTH AND LAST*: We assert that humanism will: (a) affirm life
    rather than deny it; (b) seek to elicit the possibilities of life,
    not flee from them; and (c) endeavor to establish the conditions of
    a satisfactory life for all, not merely for the few. By this
    positive morale and intention humanism will be guided, and from this
    perspective and alignment the techniques and efforts of humanism
    will flow.

So stand the theses of religious humanism. Though we consider the 
religious forms and ideas of our fathers no longer adequate, the quest 
for the good life is still the central task for mankind. Man is at last 
becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the realization of the 
world of his dreams, that he has within himself the power for its 
achievement. He must set intelligence and will to the task.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: There were 34 signers of this document, including Anton 
J. Carlson, John Dewey, John H. Dietrich, R. Lester Mondale, Charles 
Francis Potter, Curtis W. Reese, and Edwin H. Wilson.]


Albert S. wrote:

>I'll play God's advocate. It would be good to have
>[him] on my team, if he actually existed. :)
>Can you do Law without serious discussions of Justice
>and Morality? Aren't Justice and Morality the
>exclusive domain of Religion?
>--- Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>Albert Scherbinsky:
>>>Just to add a little controversy:
>>>Mathematics is to Science as Religion is to Law.
>>I'll bite, and suggest where this breaks down. You
>>can do law without religion. Indeed, our
>>is an existence proof for that. I don't know how you
>>do science without math.
>>FoRK mailing list
>FoRK mailing list

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