Existential Humanism and Religion overview
We hear a lot in the news about the newest religion being no religion. Many people are abandoning long held religious beliefs, often referring to themselves as spiritual-but-not-religious or atheist, although the term atheist is most likely misapplied in these cases since atheism is not the absence of religion. The common theme here is a general sense of unrest. Societies are becoming less homogeneous and people are exposed to new information and scientific discoveries on an almost daily basis. This is resulting in questioning what religions have led people to believe, and the answers that their religions provide aren’t sufficient. This conflict between long held beliefs and current information is resulting in people reaching out for answers that are more appropriate to satisfy their growing feelings of angst. For many, the traditional solutions offered by their religious leaders only result in more angst and often add a sense of guilt about this “incorrect thinking” that they can do nothing about. These are the people that are leaving their religions in search of something that will be a better fit for them. By focusing on a person’s individual life, existential humanism offers many the ideal solution: a dynamic religion for those who think and question.
Introducing Existential Humanism
In this series of 3 introductory videos, Ronald explains where the concept of existential humanism came from and what it accomplishes for those who might be seeking a religion that fits into the modern world. In this series he also shares his personal insights of how existential humanism works for him.
In part 1, Ronald shares his background, what existential humanism is about and how it can be applied to enrich an individual’s life. Religion provides a sense of belonging, being a part of society as a whole, and people often go along with it so as not to be ostracized. This is not about being critical of any religion, an essential part of this approach is the equal recognition of all religions and the freedom of individuals to follow whatever path they wish. These pages will discuss what the perfect religion would look like, and go on to show it may be achieved by combining components of the philosophy of existentialism and the religion of humanism. This approach provides satisfying answers about life, truth, infinity, and other big questions by providing for a dynamic which is missing from traditional religions. Ronald concludes this section with his perspective on life:
Life is wonderful, live it, enjoy it, be a part of it, but don’t diminish it by attempting to give it a reason for existing
In part 2, Ronald introduces existentialism and how it provides the philosophical component. Existential philosophers as a whole are rather inaccessible to the general population because they present their ideas in complex language, as if they were only talking to each other, and their ideas often come across as gloom and doom. The takeaway part of existentialism is the focus on individuality and freedom, and that doesn’t have to be viewed in a negative light at all. In fact, Jean Paul Sartre had a great time with it in post world war 2 Paris. Sartre also introduced the idea that existentialism may be a humanism, and while he failed to develop it he did provide the beginnings of a framework that we will be building on. Applied as Ronald does, existentialism can be both exciting and liberating. Details are discussed in Existential Components.
In part 3, Ronald discusses the basic concept of humanism, specifically secular humanism, and how he applies it without the need to create an institution around it.
One cannot institutionalize anything without perverting it
While humanism in some form or another has been around since the ancient Greeks and currently takes on many forms, we’ll take from it just the basic concepts. As a human being you are the beneficiary of all of humankind that has come before you, and in your life you have the opportunity to make a contribution to this ongoing stream of knowledge. Unfortunately, the humanistic religions have created structures and institutions around it which take away from the individual. We embrace the basic concepts of humanism without any of these structures and blend it with existentialism to create a religion which makes sense. Learn more about the applicable aspects of humanism in Humanist Components.