Peter Goodhew

Why believe? What's wrong with humanism?

One of the most serious and, for me, inexplicable phenomena of our times is religious intolerance. I do not believe, indeed cannot believe, in any religion although I can understand the power and utility of a set of social behaviours which help us to live together peacefully. This includes the right to think and believe anything, but it cannot include the right to take action against anyone who has different thoughts or beliefs.

In a world with many major religions (and atheism), each supported by many millions of people, it is logically impossible to act intolerantly to someone whose beliefs (rather than their actions) are different from yours. I cannot find any example where such intolerance has made the world a better place.

For these reasons (and others) I would describe myself as a humanist. I believe that I have only one life, that I must take responsibility for my own actions, and that my ethical values should be based on a concern for the welfare and happiness of all the world's people. I am also a scientist who prefers to base decisions on evidence and rational analysis.

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