Holy Day today: "On the Origin of Species" published; Spinoza born. 今日大日子！《物種起源》出版；史賓諾沙出生
The day is November 24, 2009.
From the HUUmanists email list:
Remember that today is a holy day to Humanists, Unitarian Universalists, and all others who hold sacred our rapidly increasing knowledge of our own precious human nature, and especially its relation to the rest of the universe. One hundred fifty years ago today, on November 24, 1859, Charles Darwin opened the gates of heaven with his publication of "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," and suddenly a great light shone down upon us all. Our understanding of ourselves has grown rapidly ever since, is growing today, and will continue to grow forever. Humanity will never be the same again.
Amen and hallelujah!
Spinoza was born on this day in 1632.
Happy Birthday to you, Spinoza. Another reason for a Humanist celebration.
Spinoza is best known for his Ethics, a monumental work that presents an ethical vision unfolding out of a monistic metaphysics in which God and Nature are identified. God is no longer the transcendent creator of the universe who rules it via providence, but Nature itself, understood as an infinite, necessary, and fully deterministic system of which humans are a part. Humans find happiness only through a rational understanding of this system and their place within it.
King's God: The Unknown Faith of Dr Martin Luther King Jr (Tikkun) 馬丁路德金的信仰鮮為人知的一面
King's God: The Unknown Faith of Dr Martin Luther King Jr
by Robert James "Be" Scofield
Although Martin Luther King served as a Baptist minister, this article from Tikkun shows that, as a young man in the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary (1948-1951), King rejected majority of the orthodox Christian doctrines, most central of which is perhaps the deity of Jesus. In The Humanity and Divinity of Jesus, a paper written for the class "Christian Theology Today," King clearly lays out his non-orthodox view on the deity of Jesus:
"The significance of the divinity of Christ lies in the fact that his achievement is prophetic and promissory for every other true son of man who is willing to submit his will to the will and spirit of God. Christ was to be only the prototype of one among many brothers. The appearance of such a person, more divine and more human than any other, and in closest unity at once with God and man, is the most significant and hopeful event in human history. This divine quality or this unity with God was not something thrust upon Jesus from above, but it was a definite achievement through the process of moral struggle and self-abnegation."
A few more King's liberal views on core Christian doctrines:
Virgin Birth. King is frank here: "We of this scientific age will not explain the birth of Jesus in such unscientific terms." Jesus's early disciples saw his "spiritual life so far beyond theirs," explains King, that they believed that Jesus's uniquesness could only be explained biologically.
Bodily Resurrection. Jesus's followers "had been captivated by the magnetic power of his personality," King writes, which led them to believe that he "could never die."
Second Coming. "It is obvious that most twentieth century Christians must frankly and flatly reject any view of a physical return of Christ," says King boldly. "The final doctrine of the Second Coming is that whenever we turn our lives to the highest and best there for us is the Christ."
Regarding heaven, King understands that it is located here on earth: "When we see social relationships controlled everywhere by the principles which Jesus illustrated in life--trust, love, mercy, and altruism--then we shall know that the kingdom of God is here."
The author, therefore, concludes: "It should not be surprising then that while Dr King served a Baptist church, his first choice of religion was Unitarian Christian (which later merged with Universalism). Coretta Scott had been attending Unitarian churches for years before she met and married Martin, and they both attended Unitarian services while in Boston."
眾所週知，馬丁路德金是浸信會牧師。但這篇在 Tikkun 刊登的文章說，從他在神學院時的學術論文顯示，年青時的馬丁路德金拒絕了很多正統的神學觀點，當中最核心的要數耶穌的神聖。以下的論文文字清楚解釋他對耶穌神聖的非傳統觀點：
所以，本文作者如此寫道：「這樣，我們便無需驚訝，雖然金博士在浸信會事奉，他的宗教首選是 Unitarian 基督教（它後來與 Universalism 合併）。他的夫人在認識馬丁之前，多年來都是上 Unitarian 教會的；他倆在波士頓的時候，都是參與 Unitarian 的主日崇拜的。」
Carl Sagan's book "The Varieties of Scientific Experience" (New York: Penguin, 2006) explains very well what Religious Naturalism is, although Carl has not identified himself or his religious view with this term. Religious Naturalism approaches religion and spirituality by the way of science. The words of Ann Druyan, Carl's wife and editor of the book, in "Editor's Introduction," are remarkably in-line with this position:
For Carl, Darwin's insight that life evolved over the eons through natural selection was not just better science than Genesis, it also afforded a deeper, more satisfying spiritual experience. (p. x)
He believed that the little we do know about nature suggests that we know even less about God. We had only just managed to get an inkling of the grandeur ofthe cosmos and its exquisite laws that guide the evolution of trillions if not infinite numbers of worlds. The newly acquired vision made the God who created the World seem hopelessly local and dated, bound to transparently human misconceptions and conceipts of the past. (p. x)
...he never understand why anyone wound want to separate science, which is just a way of searching for what is true, from what we hold sacred, which are those truths that inspire love and awe. (p. xi)
His argument was not with God but with those who believed that our understanding of the sacred had been completed. Science's premanently revolutionary conviction that the search for truth never ends seemed to him the only approach with sufficient humility to be worthy of the universe that it revealed. The methodology of science, with tis error-correcting mechanism for keeping us honest in spite of our chronic tendencies to project, to misunderstand, to deceive ourselves and others, seemed to him the height of spiritual discipline. If you are searching for sacred knowledge and not just a palliative for your fears, then you will train yourself to be a good skeptic. (p. xi)
The idea that the scientific method should be applied to the deepest of questions is frequently decried as "scientism." This charge is made by those who hold that religious beliefs whould be off-limits to scientific scrutiny---that beliefs (convictions without evidence that can be tested) are a sufficient way of knowing. Carl understood this feeling, but he insisted with Bertrand Russell that "what is wanted is not the will to believe, but the desire to find out, which is the exact opposite." (p. xi)
Until about five hundred years ago, there had been no such wall separating science and religion. Back then they were one and the same. It was only when a group of religious men who wished "to read God's mind" realized that science would be the most powerful means to do so that a wall was needed. These men---among them Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and, much later, Darwin---began to articulate and internalize the scientific method. Science took off for stars, and institutional religion, choosing to deny the new revelations, could do little more than build a protective wall around itself. (p. xi)
To him we were "starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of 10 billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose." For him science was, in part, a kind of "informed worship." (p. xiii)
(This is a Chinese post at the forum of the Hong Kong positivistic philosopher Lee Tin Ming. This excerpt from an article by Erich Fromm says that religions can be divided into totalitarian religions and humanistic religions. The God of the Old Testament is totalitarian. The original teachings of Jesus were humanistic, but Roman rulers later turned them into a totalitarian Christianity. This article is very inspiring. 在《李天命網上思考》，有人貼了這篇文章，甚具啟發性。)
獨裁宗教與人本宗教 (Totalitarian Religions and Humanistic Religions)
Psychoanalysis & Religion
By Erich Fromm
Alex from UUHK