Am I A Humanist?
From my early teens (pre 1960) I have found no sense in theism.I was content with no religion for 30 years but then some experiences made me realise that there might be more things to take account of in my philosophy but it would take too long to describe all that now. It opened me to the possiblity that something of me might survive death in some form. If this occurs I see this as a natural not supernatural occurrence. It does not require a god or gods. If rebirth occurs in some form then that would be as natural as a caterpillar turning into chrysallis into a butterfly into eggs into caterplillars and so on.
An interest in meditation (which I stress does not need a religion to support it) lead me to Buddhism in 1994. If you know little about this in a nutshell: there is no god; the law of cause and effect is fundamental; things are impermanent; ethical living, meditation and the acquisition of wisdom are the way forward. Two things troubled me at the outset and the same things caused me to stop attending my local group this year. Dawkins book The God Delusion caused me to rethink.
My first difficulty was with ritual. Any rituals can put us into a useful mindset (consider the All Blacks pre match ritual). I felt that ritual was a device to trick the brain albeit in a direction I might want to go. That was not good enough.
The second difficulty was where Buddhism requires faith. I doubt many people would find my nutshell description an unreasonable position to take but to believe that there is a cycle of rebirth and this cycle can be brought to an end by a particular knowledge called enlightenment is a huge leap of faith. I find that latter bit as difficult to accept as offering wisdom to a butterfly in the hope that it will no longer have the need to give rise to a caterpillar again.
What I am left with which may keep us apart is an acceptance of the possibility that some part of us survives death but without the aid of the supernatural.
I would welcome any views about my thought processes and about how close I am to being a humanist.