Saturday, 16 April 2011

Happy Easter from a very humanistic rabbit.

Having glanced through his blog, I found out that there is a Society for Humanistic Judaism, as well as the Association of Humanistic Rabbis. I thought it was pretty cool, and posted the news on Facebook. 
And, of course, someone misread it as the Association of Humanistic Rabbits

I thought it was a great idea. I personally think that if the Association of Humanistic Rabbits does not yet exist,  it should be set up. Just in time for Easter, a humanistic rabbit could become a non-religious symbol to welcome the spring and celebrate the cultural aspect, without being religious.

There were a few jokes flying between some of my friends on Facebook. Someone wondered if humanistic rabbits would dislike Humanistic Hamasters. We all had to agree that they would most probably not get along.

We also discussed what rabbits could join the club. For example, the giant rabbit from Donnie Darko and of course, the Rampant Rabbit. 

But, joking apart, I thought this was a fascinating development in what is traditionally a very religious set up. And, somewhere deep inside, a faint glimmer of hope appeared....what if

What if there is something like an Association of Humanistic Mullahs? What if it exists and I just have no idea, just like I never knew that there were Jewish people out there openly trying to retain their cultural identity without having to accept the dogmatic religion attached to it? If it is possible for one of the oldest religions in the world, such as Judaism, why can’t it be possible for Islam?  

 I, of course, Googled it, and came across some studies and books on the subject. Not quite societies or  associations formed just yet. But....who knows? Islam, after all, is still relatively young. 

But for now, I am excited about having Easter holidays up in North Wales, where my parents in law prepared some cute bunny decorations and chocolate eggs to turn my child’s holiday into an Easter heaven. I was helping to put together this yellow paper bunny today, so I asked him if he wanted to secretly become a humanistic rabbit instead. And he laughed and said ‘Why not? As long as there is a lot of chocolate involved, and children are happy and laughing, I am content to be anything at all.’


  1. Why not humanistic Muslims! There are already Ex-Muslims, and Muslims For Christ .

  2. @Richard: Not sure if Muslims for Christ is such a good idea to me, personally. It is like changing one imaginary friend for another. :)
    Thanks for the links though.

  3. Your rabbit looks cute. Humanistic... I don't know.
    Funny thing: in Spanish rabbit is conejo, that can easily be misread as consejo, which is advise. And we even have a saying: un consejo hasta de un conejo (an advise, even from a rabbit).
    Happy Easter! In Peru, a short week awaits us: Thursday and Friday are holidays. :D

  4. @Gabriela: However you choose to celebrate, have a lovely time! we have a long weekend,too...also, kids are only back to school for three days and then we are off again for the Royal wedding. everyone is having street parties, etc.

  5. Pity you said 'Joking apart', I was looking forward to a story of yours beginning "Colin, the humanist rabbit, was walking along the country lane when he met Nigel, the agnostic butterfly" or something similar. Happy Easter.

  6. I dont know why you feel that you have to be atheist but the big reality is atheism is just refusing the need to believe that you have in the depths of your soul. Atheism is not logical event its sycologocal event in my opinion:) good luck

  7. @Elnur: What do you mean by "you feel you have to be" something? I don't really HAVE to be anything. It is a free country here. :)

    You either believe something or you don't. I actually understand the "need to believe" that people have. I totally get it, I just can't do it. As for what is "logical" it is very questionable to me. But this is not a subject people can ever argue about or agree on, as we all believe different things. Good luck to you too. :)

  8. > You either believe something or you don't.

    No. You can believe, or disbelieve, or remain undecided. This is one of many reasons why the agnostic butterfly will always look down its antennae at the atheist bunny.

  9. @Mark:

    I think the main problem is that the majority of people view atheism in a very ( in my opinion) wrong way. They think that atheism means you believe 100% there is no God. Whereas it simply means you think that the probability of supernatural power is very very slim. That is very well explained by the (most hated) Richard D. in the “God Delusion” (which I recommend to you, btw! I think you will enjoy it)

    It is also very often said by the religious people that atheism is also a religion, as the denial to believe in the supernatural power is a belief on its own. Which is not the case. I also used to say I was agnostic, and what I mean by that, is that I simply don't think it is realistic to think there is something there. ESPECIALLY in the way it gets presented to us in religious books and by people who claim to be the men of God. However, atheism is basically based on probability and facts; and if tomorrow I see something that makes me think differently, or suspect there might be something, I would happily admit I was wrong. That is the main difference, really. However, the actual word atheism has such bad reputation and is being so badly misinterpreted worldwide, that many atheists prefer to call themselves ‘humanists’. In reality, to me personally, there is not much difference, if any. It is done purely to disassociate them from the negative association people have with the word atheism.

    I am not 100% sure, how can I possibly be/know? Nobody can! But I think that- most probably- there is no supernatural being watching over me or my life.

  10. > Whereas it simply means you think
    > that the probability of supernatural
    > power is very very slim.

    Yes. Unfortunately you have no evidence that proposition P, "God exists," is significantly different from 50%. Without such evidence, jumping to the conclusion that P < 1% is a leap of faith.

    (For what it's worth, I do think that proposition P&Q&R&S&T&U, "God exists, & It's male, & omnipotent, & omnibenevolent, & made an afterlife, & sends people there," is very, very unlikely to be true. However, proposition P is not the same as P&Q&R&S&T&U.)

  11. @Mark: Okay, I just wanted to explain my understanding of atheism, and to say that I suddenly realized what the problem with the word is in a lot of cases.

    I think you can over-analyze; and there of course are a lot of variations and shades of colours, but the bottom line is, to me, is that you look inside your brain (or soul-whatever you want to call it) and be honest with yourself, and accept what you believe, or find difficult to believe. I find it difficult to believe. I might be totally wrong and will have the shock of finding a big fat worm waiting to feast on my flesh in hell one day...But for now, I am not too concerned about it.

    Btw: Please, please tell me you have not picked up this annoying habit from kaweh? If x tells z this, then Y listens and that means that X is a Barbie, but Y is something else...,etc and on and on, by the end of which the reader lost the thread of thought... why do you feel the need to use these mathematical terms to get your point across? Surely you, as a writer, don't need them! Neither do you need them to sound intelligent, you know that, right? I can understand you perfectly well when you don't resort to x,y,p etc.

  12. > but the bottom line is, to me, is that
    > you look inside your brain (or soul-
    > whatever you want to call it) and be
    > honest with yourself, and accept what
    > you believe, or find difficult to believe.
    > I find it difficult to believe.

    Scary, this is a personal prejudice, not a conclusion. "I find it difficult to believe..." tells us that you aren't objective, not that there is any evidence against the existence of a God.

    > why do you feel the need to use these
    > mathematical terms to get your point across?
    > Surely you, as a writer, don't need them!

    I do write, but my college degrees say I'm a scientist and mathematician. And the mathematical fields of logic and statistics deal directly with the truth value of propositions, and mathematical language is must less ambiguous than conventional language.

    Using conventional language, I can tell you that the chance for any proposition to be true is between zero and one. So, it's mathematically inevitable that compound claims consisting of multiple elemental claims multiplied together *must be* no more likely than the elemental claims themselves. And in almost all cases compound are less probable than the elemental claims taken individually. This isn't just me making an argument; it's mathematically inevitable.

    And this is why I think it's important to distinguish between just the proposition that there is a God, and the package claim of traditional religion which says, "There's a God, AND He's like this, AND did that, AND likes this, AND hates that," and on and on. Judging by the things you post, I think your intuitive skepticism towards the elemental claim of "God" has formed because of these compound claims about "God watches over us" and "there's a big worm that eats people only they never die." Yes, those claims *are* unlikely, if for no other reason than that they contain a series of other dubious claims.

    But just God? Just God, by Itself? Forget miracles in the desert and guardian angels and some worm that doesn't die and just consider the idea of a God. Now forget that "God" is male, is all-powerful, all-knowing, loves everyone, lives in heaven, and so on. If you can imagine H.P. Lovecraft's Azathoth, you're getting warmer:


    Out in the mindless void the daemon bore me,
    Past the bright clusters of dimensioned space,
    Till neither time nor matter stretched before me,
    But only Chaos, without form or place.
    Here the vast Lord of All in darkness muttered
    Things he had dreamed but could not understand,
    While near him shapeless bat-things flopped and fluttered
    In idiot vortices that ray-streams fanned.

    They danced insanely to the high, thin whining
    Of a cracked flute clutched in a monstrous paw,
    Whence flow the aimless waves whose chance combining
    Gives each frail cosmos its eternal law.
    "I am His Messenger," the daemon said,
    As in contempt he struck his Master's head.

  13. @Mark: I won't argue my point here, just because I could never do it as well as Richard Dawkins does. That is why I think you should read the God Delusion. Because, from some things you personally said before, it sounded to me like you could enjoy it. I have read it and thought it was great, whatever people say about him. Now, I am actually looking for a good book that tries to prove to me God or whatever supernatural power (in whatever form) does exist. I think it would be fair for me to read the opposite view and opinion, to weigh them up against each other. But, in the end, nobody can know for a fact, and that I guess, is the bottom line! You are right, it is very different to just think there might be something out there to some very crazy ideas people seem to have. I understand what you are saying. Is this what you think/feel about it? I think that makes you a Deist, if I get my terms right.

  14. Hypothesis: There is a god
    Research: No evidence has been found to support the claim
    Conclusion: There is no reason to assume there is a god

    Perhaps god exists, perhaps god doesn't exist. The same can be said about invisible leprechauns.

    @Scary, I didn't think my X and Y examples were that complicated..?

  15. @Scary: I'm an agnostic. I was actually a deist for a little while after discarding Christianity, but it seems to me that the chance for a God to exist is not very far away from 50%.

    I will check out The God Delusuion. Be forewarned however that by insisting I consider the works of the holy prophet Richard Dawkins, you have submitted your future self to an unremitting stream of complaints and counterarguments taking the form of arcane mathematical formulae.

  16. Here's what I think of atheists:

    /selfpromotion off

  17. I just noticed this group online, The Institution for the Secularization of Islam.

  18. @Mark: Why, do you think, when people like some other good book it is ok, but as soon as it is RD you are told you are following him religiously and he is holy prophet? :)
    Anyway, don't you think you need to read the book before making your mind up on how fascist or arrogant, or whatever else people claim him to be? I found the book very entertaining, well-written and smart without being pompous (which I can’t always say about people who want to sound clever in this life) I don’t see his work as a replacement of Koran or Bible in my life, for sure. Just was a good thing to read.

  19. @Steve: Hi, nice to meet you, hope you are enjoying Az.

    Will have a look at your link.