The Enlightenment - August 2019

1) Christianity – A Series of Human Inventions, By Don Hatch 

  • The God Delusion 

  • The Christ Delusion: How Did Jesus of Nazareth Metamorphize into the Christian Jesus-the-Christ? 

  • The First Thirty Years 

  • The Last Three Years 

  • The Evolution of Christianity 

  • Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John 

2) Atheism and Islam on the Rise in Britain: Poll


Click below to read the full edition of the Enlightenment!

Being Truthful with Yourself Can Save You Frustration

Being truthful with yourself can save you frustration

by, Goldwin Emerson  

gandjemerson@rogers.com

 The  London Free Press, July 27. page NP 9

Telling the truth is an important ethical obligation. When asked,“Do you want to know the truth?” most of us immediately say “yes.” We want others to be honest with us, especially if their knowledge affects us personally. 

 

In everyday life most people wish that businesses would represent their products accurately and avoid deception in advertisements. We want politicians to tell us truthfully in advance what they are prepared to do if elected. Caring parents want teachers to tell them honestly how well, or poorly, their children are progressing in school. When doctors have information about our health, we want to know the truth. In short, we want others to be honest and have a caring attitude, especially when it is  important that the truth still leaves us with hope that things may be better in the future. 

 

But when called upon to be truthful with others, there are times that telling the truth seems less important than when other people are revealing information to us. When we are invited to a home-cooked meal, we are likely to tell the host or hostess how much we enjoyed the food. We may sacrifice some of our desire to be completely honest because we value other social obligations such as friendship and hospitality. In this case, the value of telling the truth with precise accuracy may become secondary to maintaining good relationships with our host. In everyday language, we often call these kindly responses “white lies” because they are designed to save the feelings of others from embarrassment or feelings of failure.

 

There are many kinds of partnerships that require honesty. In business and in legal agreements honesty and clarity are necessary to protect the interests of the individuals involved. Without such agreements partners can be badly treated and  harmed by dishonesty. Marriage and common-law partnerships require trust but more than that truth and honesty are essential. These are special relationships that are formed in their beginnings by trusting each other in love and admiration. But in the end they must be based on truth. Especially in arguments and strong disagreements marriages will not succeed without honesty. In fact most arguments cannot be settled without honesty from both partners. 

 

In politics nothing is more damaging to politicians and disappointing to their supporters than losing the trust they had when electing their leaders at the ballot box. While it is necessary, even in democracies, to maintain privacy and confidential information, as much transparency as possible is desirable. Dwight Eisenhower once wrote “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

 

While it is important to be honest with others there is the need to be honest with ourselves. We need to know who we really are. If we are too demanding about our own talents and our ambitions we may be hard on ourselves. We may become depressed or discouraged or we may lose our ability and desire to help others if we are not realistic about ourselves. On the other hand we need to know ourselves well enough to understand the limits of our talents. We may come to demand praise when we don't deserve it. We may become narcissistic and think of ourselves as more capable than others in solving problems. This latter tendency does not fit well with democratic forms of government. In the earlier growth of democracy, Greek philosophers commented on the importance of truth and knowledge of the self. Socrates said “nosce te ipsam” (know thyself) and Aristotle believed “knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom.”

 

When Barack Obama was President of United States. his wife Michelle said  “We learned about honesty and integrity....that the truth matters....that you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules....and success doesn't count unless you can earn it fair and square.” 

 

As Benjamin Franklin and other founders of the American Constitution believed “ honesty is the best policy”and most Canadians would agree.

Ethics and Economics Call for Support of the Middle Class - By Goldwin Emerson

London Free Press, page A 11

June 8, 2019

Our free enterprise system has developed over the years to provide freedom of

choice and to promote hope for those who were willing to work hard and be

responsible. Citizens who succeed best in a capitalistic free enterprise

environment usually possess qualities that enable them to “get ahead” in life. They

are motivated to improve their chances of success for themselves and their off-

spring in order to have a better life than what they may have inherited from their

own parents.

Whether people are rich or poor there is a strong ethical component that motivates

them to improve the economic conditions in which they find themselves. Most of

us want to make life better for ourselves and for those we love. The ethical part of

the free enterprise system is that we require a just and fair opportunity to make

our efforts work for us. In a fair system, it seems ethically appropriate that when

citizens work hard they deserve to be rewarded.

In a free enterprise capitalist system, the success of the middle class is important.

In fact, it may be more important than for the poorer class and the upper wealthy

class. There are a number of reasons why the middle class is likely to be of

greatest importance to our country's welfare.

First, the middle class is the most numerous. While the money which is required to

support entrepreneurial ventures often comes from the upper wealthy class, the

labour required to turn projects into practical products like automobiles, houses

and food is provided by middle class workers. Second, it is this larger middle

group who will purchase the finished products in sufficient quantities to warrant the

capital investments devoted to various enterprises. Third, the middle class

collectively pays the largest total proportion of taxed income. Fourth, standards of

living in most democratic countries are measured by the success, or lack of

success of the middle class.

Let’s take a look at how the middle class is fairing in Canada. Those who remain

unemployed are falling behind financially. There are Canadians who are working

part-time but are not able to keep their families out of a gradual decline towards

poverty. In addition to these depressing conditions, there are Canadians working

full time whose incomes continue to slip below the basic costs of living.

Some cities across Canada have done calculations as to what level of wages

would provide a “living wage” in their areas. For example, in Hamilton, workers

would need to earn approximately fifteen dollars per hour to maintain a standard

of living that would not cause them to fall into the poverty level. A living wage

varies with each community depending upon the costs for housing, heating, and

food. In Vancouver, a living wage would require approximately twenty dollars per

hour to stay above the poverty level.

Governments at all levels that cut back on benefits in education or health care

exacerbate the problems of the middle class.. In an effort to cut expenses,

governments may overlook the added pressure that occurs among middle class

workers because of new cutbacks.. Increased costs occur for passport renewals,

and postal costs and gasoline while fuel taxes and food costs continue to

increase. Energy costs are likely to rise in the coming years. In general, the

middle class seems to have to work longer and harder just to keep up. Even then,

some are falling behind and joining the growing ranks of the poorer lower class.

The ethical issue for the middle class is their willingness to work longer and harder

to give their children and grandchildren the opportunities they will need. For those

in government, the ethical question is how can the middle class be protected from

falling behind and joining the ranks of the poor?

Fortunately the Canadian government in it's budget for 2019 has recognized the

need to have a strong economically sustainable middle class. Canada has had

good economic growth in the past four years, especially in comparison to most

other countries in the G 7 group. Government assistance in home ownership,

retraining in workplace skills and lower drug costs are steps in the right direction.

It continues to be important that the middle class can maintain a spirit of optimism

about their future.

Enlightenment - June 2019

Tiers of Humanist Associations and What They Do. 

1. International

2. National

The American Humanist Association

Humanist Canada

3. Provincial

Ontario Humanist Association

British Columbia Humanist Association

4. Other Humanist Associations

Freedom from Religion Foundation

Canadian Secular Alliance

Center for Inquiry

5. Local Humanist Associations

Our Local Association, HALA - What Lies Ahead?

More on the Word Humanism 


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