Posts Tagged with “funerals”

Naturalistic Humanism as Religon – Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Humanistic Naturalism as a Religion

In my last post on the subject, I mentioned that naturalist humanism has to borrow from religion in order to function in real life. I found the following bit in an Answers Research Journal article on the philosophy of Stanley Fish:

Fish’s aim is yet again accurate when he takes on liberalism’s failure to invest human life with meaning. Fish relates a story philosopher Jürgen Habermas tells about his own life. Habermas had a Swiss friend who, though never a religious believer during his life, elected to have a church funeral. Habermas says his friend

had sensed the awkwardness of non-religious burial practices and, by his choice of place, publicly declared that the enlightened modern age has failed to find a suitable replacement for a religious way of coping with the final rite de passage.

But Fish himself can do no better. Although he knows the Bible fairly well, he has yet to recognize that all the foundations of all the interpretive communities in the world must beg, borrow, and steal from the biblical foundation to have morality, a telos, or other things that all worldviews require. Fish has not seen (or will not admit) that every one of the masons who constructed those foundations did his work with at least some—albeit suppressed and twisted—stones of Christian truth.

I read the following definition of an “atheistic” funeral on a funeral planning website:

The humanist view rejects the idea of an afterlife and interprets death as the end to an individual’s consciousness. They believe that human beings are simply another part of nature — and that death is nature’s way of cleansing. Through death, we clear the way for new life.

Humanists view life as a chance to have stimulating, joyful experiences and to live an ethical and good life. The humanist’s funeral affirms these beliefs and celebrates the passing life.

Look at the incongruity here. An atheistic funeral is the celebration of the fact that a loved one’s life has been eradicated by nature in order to “clear the way for new life.” Life itself is described as a chance to have joyful experiences and live an ethical life. Think about it. To a naturalistic humanist, joy is just a chemical reaction designed to promote positive actions. Ethics without an external source are relative to each person’s personal belief. Even the desire to be ethical is just another chemical reaction promoting positive social interaction for the benefit of the group. The entire description above is personally degrading and philosophically useless – unless one borrows from religion the meaning of joy and ethics and good.