Newsletter #16 - The Church of Spiritual Humanism
November 14, 2003 - Philadelphia www.SpiritualHumanism.org
Our Debts to the Past and Future
Nearly every one alive today has had their life enriched by the contributions of those who have gone before us. Certainly you cannot reach adulthood without this tremendous debt. If not for advances in antibiotics, vaccines, the hygiene of civil engineering projects, agriculture, distribution, and countless other areas, the human population would be much less than it is today. Perhaps just as many might have been born, but all would live shorter, misery filled lives.
To repay this debt it is everyone's duty to reduce the suffering and misery of others. It benefits the less fortunate in obvious ways. Each member of society also reaps a benefit by giving everyone else a vested interest in civilization: If someone has nothing to lose the restrictions of social decency are bothersome and can become a target. But if destroying the social fabric means personal suffering and misery will increase, anarchy becomes much less interesting.
Aside from this selfish reason for altruism it does seem that most people are preprogrammed to want to help others. This is a behavior programmed through evolution - community members are better survivors than lone individuals. Competition does have an important place in motivation, but it must be banished from the arena of personal survival. This is the root cause of much of the world's misery and suffering.
Not all suffering can be avoided. The momentary prick of the vaccine needle protects against devastating disease and possible death. To endure a time a crisis, rationing of food or medicine might be necessary. It's clear that to succeed in life some suffering must be borne. This is only justified when the result is the reduction of a greater suffering or achieving the triumph of contentment and happiness.
IN THE NEWS
Bishops Open a New Drive
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in session here at its regular fall meeting, also tackled another sexuality issue, approving the text of a brochure that lays out the church's condemnation of same-sex unions.
The contraception question was introduced by the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, the bishops' anti-abortion body. The committee proposed the writing of an easily understandable booklet, and the conference voted overwhelmingly to approve the project.
The booklet is to address questions about the church's teaching on marriage and sex, why "natural family planning" - seeking or avoiding pregnancy according to the fertility cycle - is acceptable and why artificial birth control is wrong.
see full story at
"Natural family planning" has a failure rate of about 25%. The surest results of the Catholic Church's doctrine would be millions of unwanted children born to unprepared families without resources to care for them. If widely adhered to, skyrocketing fertility rates would quickly lead to a dramatic drop in per capita income, and a humongous human population. Of course the population could not continue to grow forever. The limits would be disease, war, and famine on a scale never before seen. This folly is a doctrine of misery and suffering.
READERS WRITE IN
If you have a question
feel free to email me at info ( at ) spiritual humanism.org
I was shocked & upset
at the Pope refusing to support the use of condoms in areas where AIDS is
rife. I think, in the end, that people need to take responsibility for their
own bodies & health. If they cannot be abstinent, do what needs to be
done, & protect one's self & other people!
Its exactly irrational religious ethics like this that must be changed if we wish to leave the world a better place than we found it.
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