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Truth is One Paths are Many
A Comparative Study of Various Traditions & Philosophy of Several World Religions
Will Some One Tell Me What the Great Religions Believe?
A Primer of World Religions - What they are & What they believe
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Appendix: Atheistic & Non-religious Movements
Comparing the Sections of Various Non-religious Faiths
Atheism, Secular Humanism, Materialism, Communism and Existentialism.
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I. Atheistic Political Philosophies
In this section we will examine the beliefs of four philosophies or world views that exclude faith on God or ignore such a God: 1. Secular Humanism, 2. Existentialism, 3. Communism and 4. Materialism. Secular Humanism started as a modern day movement in major centers and unversities of higher learning whci wanted to give equal rights to all religions with freedom for thought as a response to those who preached religious fundamentalism. This slowly became supporting traditions that ignored God or a religion rather than denying the existence of God. It gradually became a repository for those who deny God and all organized religions like those of Chãrvaka Philosphy and modern day Atheism. Of course, there are many smaller *isms that could be listed here, but these are among the most prevalent. Their ideas and teachings have great influence throughout the world, especially through Western universities and the Western news media.
Ancient Atheist Philosophy of Chãrvaka in India [under construction]
Modern day Atheistic Movements of the East and the West [under construction]
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1. Secular Humanism

Humanism is "a modern, nontheistic, rationalist movement that holds that man is capable of self-fulfillment, ethical conduct, etc., without recourse to supernaturalism" (Webster's New World Dictionary). By the term secular this stream distinguishes itself from theistic (Christian) humanism. Secular humanism evolved out of 18th-century rejection of revealed Christianity and the emergence of modern science and free thought. Modern secular humanists condemn and refute all assertions of divine or paranormal phenomena.

2. Materialism

Materialism is the opinion that "nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications." In practice it is "devotion to material needs or desires to the neglect of spiritual matters; a way of life, opinion or tendency based entirely upon material interests" (Oxford Eng. Dict.). There is a vast range of philosophies based on materialism, often embracing the philosophy of Western science, including determinism, or predetermination, the view that events occur by natural law and the results can be the only one's possible.

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Secular Humanist Beliefs

1. I believe in nontheism, as there is no rational proof for the existence of God, and do not delude myself with thoughts of a Supreme Being.

2. I believe that traditional religions and faiths preach false doctrines, are oppressive and lead their followers toward ignorance, bigotry and dogmatism, and that it is my duty to be actively skeptical of, and challenge the illusions of orthodox religions and all attempts to explain the world in supernatural terms.

3. I believe in the preservation and enhancement of the human species as my ultimate concern, and in the global human family, which must preserve the Earth for future generations through developing a secular, planetary morality and system of law.

4. I believe that living a good, moral life is the best means for individual and collective happiness and that morality has a rational, secular basis.

5. I believe in expanding human rights and intellectual and moral freedom, and in secular democracy, with strict separation of church and state, as the means of eliminating discrimination and attaining equality and justice for all.

6. I believe in the development of the creative human potential through education in the arts and sciences and in the paramount importance of free inquiry in an open, pluralistic, universalist society.

7. I believe in the application and development of reason and modern science as the highest means to understanding the universe, solving human problems and enabling each individual to realize his greatest potential.

8. I believe in striving for fulfillment and happiness in this life and reject all notions of reincarnation and afterlife as false and baseless, seeking my fullest capacity as a human being here and now, serving others and creating a better, more just world.

9. I believe in Darwin's theory of evolution as scientific fact, and in naturalism, holding that the known world is all that exists, and that it has no supernatural or spiritual creation, control or significance.

Materialist Beliefs

1. I believe that all religious endeavor is a waste of time and energy, that there is no God, and all so-called paranormal or psychic phenomena are quackery and superstition.

2. I believe that there is no such thing as the soul; death of the body is death of the mind, and there is no reincarnation or afterlife.

3. I believe that the material universe, governed by natural laws and chance, is the ultimate and only reality and that all apparently nonmaterial substances, such as mind, are explicable as modifications of matter.

4. I believe that science is the means of understanding all the secrets of the universe, for all phenomena are the result of material processes which are governed by predictable, natural laws.

5. I believe that free will is an illusion; that each event, being a fortuitous combination of particles and forces, can only happen in one way and is thus predetermined (deterministic materialism).

6. I believe that there is no objective "higher purpose" in life, no absolute basis for ethics or morality and no retribution for sin or reward for virtue. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain are the only two goals rational men will pursue-what pleases me is good, what pains me is bad (hedonistic materialism).

7. I believe that all novel qualities of existence can be derived from changing material conditions-that men's mental and spiritual life, their ideas and aims, reflect their material conditions of existence (dialectical materialism). 8. I believe that though not all things consist of matter or its modifications, whatever exists can be satisfactorily explained in natural terms (modified or naturalistic materialism).

9. I believe that man, the highest and most complex of the evolutionary process prevailing throughout the universe, may continue to evolve into an even more perfect being or higher species (utopian materialism).

 

 

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3. Communism

Communism emerged around the turn of the 20th century in present-day Russia as "a hypothetical stage of socialism, as formulated by Marx, Engels, Lenin and others, to be characterized by a classless and stateless society and the equal distribution of economic goods and to be achieved by revolutionary and dictatorial, rather than gradualistic, means" (Webster's New World Dictionary). Communism is proudly atheistic and seeks to liberate mankind from superstition and "spiritual bondage."

4. Existentialism

Existentialism arose in Europe in the mid-19th century. It teaches that God does not exist, or cannot be known, and affirms individuality and freedom. Stress is on transcendence of the mundane world through exaltation of will, the meaninglessness of existence and the absence of a substratum upon which to base truths or values. Man simply exists, free to create his own meaning in life. It is, however, imporant to bear in mind that there is a vital strain of religious, or quasi-religious, existentialism as well.

Communist Beliefs

1. I believe there is no God and no knowable providential order, that this physical world is the only reality, physical beings are the only real beings, and reason is man's highest faculty.

2. I believe religion is "the opiate of the people," an exploiters' tool of oppression that should be eliminated and its resources redirected to improving world conditions to lift mankind from misery.

3. I believe mysticism and religion are primitive and fraught with error, prejudice and superstition, and that modern science, based on materialism and empirical evidence, is the only respectable avenue to useful knowledge.

4. I believe that each person has but a single life and that death is final. Therefore, in this life we are to attain all that is deemed worthwhile and express our finer qualities in service to the greater social good.

5. I believe that as in the case of nature, history evolves in a continuous line from lower to higher forms, from tribalism, feudalism and capitalism to its final maturity in socialism, and that the collapse of capitalism and the establishment of socialism will usher in an age of peace and plenty, when state control will no longer be needed.

6. I believe that all men are created equal and are inherently good, and that distinctive attitudes, personalities and experiences are determined solely by one's environment; therefore, to uplift mankind, improve the environment.

7. I believe that the views expressed by our great Marxist revolutionaries represent the one and only correct world outlook, and that it is imperative to overthrow the capitalist regimes, through violent revolution if necessary, to usher in a new order.

8. I believe that the world's wealth should be shared equally, and that unequal distribution caused by class distinctions, is the root of all social evils, driving men to greed, selfishness and exploitation. Economic necessity is the basic moving force in society.

9. I believe there is no knowable providential order, that death is permanent, that God does not exist and that the highest life is one of intense consciousness.

Existentialist Beliefs

1. I believe that there is no knowable providential order in nature or in the larger realm of existence or cosmos.

2. I believe that the being of man is ultimately meaningless, which is to say that man knows not why he exists and cannot rise to the knowledge of his destiny.

3. I believe that each man is an individual and should break his dependence on society and rely solely upon his own individual life, spirit, personality and thought.

4. I believe that immortality is not a condition of man. Death is quite realistically seen as an ultimate end and radical fact which cannot be overcome. Man should not tolerate even an anguished hope of personal survival.

5. I believe that harmony and security in human relationships are impossible to achieve, and the only satisfactory attitude toward others is based upon explicit recognition of this fact.

6. I believe that "Evil is not an illusion. It is not the effect of passions which might be cured, or a fear which might be overcome. It is not an ignorance which might be enlightened. Evil cannot be redeemed" (Sartre).

7. I believe that God does not exist.

8. I believe that the highest and best life is lived in the intensity of being fully conscious of the life experience. This experience necessarily contains problems, struggle, suffering and conflict. This is man's unalterable reality within which his free creative action and choice gives birth to the fullness of consciousness which would otherwise be deadened by security and contentment.

9. I believe that the soul of man is not whole without such unpleasant things as death, anxiety, guilt, fear and trembling, and despair. It would be the final error of reason to deny that these emotions exist, or to strive to manipulate them out of existence. Therefore, it can be said that nothing can be accomplished by denying that man is essentially a troubled being, except to make more trouble.

 

 

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Truth is One :: Paths are Many
A study comparing the essential beliefs of World Religions
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