UNI88 wrote: ↑Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:03 pm
JoltinJoe wrote: ↑Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:13 pm
Erasmus was the leading thinker of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Among other things, Erasmus called for the Catholic Church needed to "pull back" from entanglement with secular authority, as he believed that the moral authority of the Church was compromised by these entanglements. In that sense, he can be called a "secularist," as he called for a stronger separation of church and state.
Erasmus can also be called a "humanist" in that he believed that the Catholic Church needed to focus more on affirming individual dignity (which went hand in hand with his call to pull back from entanglements with the sovereigns).
But Erasmus can't be called a "secular humanist" as that term is applied today. Erasmus is more accurately called a "Christian humanist."
Today, a "secularist humanist" identifies either as an atheist or agnostic. Erasmus was a theist; a Catholic. Erasmus is, however, very influential among "secularist humanists" today because his "humanism" is a cornerstone of the ethical/moral values that secular humanists have adopted. They have just thrown away Erasmus' "theism" and otherwise appropriated much of "humanism." [This doesn't really logically follow, though, because Erasmus saw the dignity of the person derived from his identity as a child of God, but that's an issue for another day.
"Secular humanists" like to say that they have "reformed" the Church and that the Church has adopted "their" morality. This is not true. The Church, over the years, has been influenced and "tamed" by Erasmus. "Secularist humanists" really took Church theology and made it their own; not the other way around.
1) We're down in the weeds and avoiding my assertion that religious and anti-religious extremists are mirror images of each other.
2) It's your opinion that today's secularist humanists identify either as atheist or agnostic. I consider myself a secular humanist and I don't identify as an athiest or agnostic.
3) I will admit that my religious upbringing influenced my values but not as much as my parents did.
(1) I'm simply addressing your point concerning Erasmus and "secular humanism." I don't have any quarrel with your characterization of the fundamentalist right (or at least elements of the fundamentalist right), and I don't see where I expressed any objection to that observation anywhere in this thread. I thought we were discussing whether Erasmus can be called either a "secularist" or a "secular humanist."
(2) It is not my opinion that secular humanists identify either as atheist or agnostic. That's just a fact of modern usage. In today's conversation, to say that you're a secularist humanist, but not atheist or agnostic, is confusing. Then again, you could firmly believe, like some theists of old, in a non-personal god that created man, and left him to his own, and that man's sense of moral values does not derive from the will of the Creator -- and thus call yourself a "secular humanist." But such theism is rare today, and is usually expressed as a fall-back position for an agnostic (i.e., "I have no firm conviction on whether there is a God, but if he does exist, he is not interested in the affairs of his creation").
(3) But what influenced your parents?
I would only say this. If you believe in a personal God who has created each individual person, and endowed all persons with essential rights and human dignity, and that all of what is right and wrong hinges on the issue of the dignity of creation (and of each person of creation), then you are not a "secular humanist" as that term is used today. You are a "humanist," a "Christian humanist," a "Judeo-Christian humanist" or a "religious humanist." But what I have expressed here is the essence of Christian humanism set forth by Erasmus and like thinkers. It is a foundational concept of both the philosophical Counter-Reformation and the Enlightenment.
And my beef with the political left today (and the secular humanists) is that they are seeking to undermine the concept that the INDIVIDUAL is endowed with rights and human dignity (by a Creator), because they believe that the interests of the "collective state" are greater than the rights of any individual. And they need to destroy this concept in order to create the collective state that they seek to establish.