Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What price peace?

What price peace?

A guest columnist, Jeff Nall, wrote a piece published by AHA recently. He calls the article "Saving the Soul of Secularism."

I'm not quite certain that I can agree with Jeff's point of view on everything, but he makes a good point. His bottom line is that Humanism, secularism and atheism are still a mixed bag when it comes to arriving at any agreement for ending the cycles of war around the globe and especially our American involvement in them.

Mixed bag or not, Jeff Nall makes clear his opinion:

The very legitimacy of secularism and freethought is at stake. Humanists, atheists, and assorted freethinkers along with the organizations that represent them: the American Humanist Association, American Atheists, Secular Student Alliance, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Center for Inquiry, among others, should join anti-war/peace organizations in calling for a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy away from neo-liberal imperialism and militarism. (emphasis added)

Humanism might suggest the most passive root possible, yet neither secularism nor atheism could unanimously agree with that philosophy. And statistics will bare that out. The anti-war solution always looks good on paper but somehow it just doesn't seem to fit well with reality.

My own rationality leads me to accept that wars will likely plague mankind long into the future, even after religious influences are removed from causing the social rifts supporting war. It just happens that there always seems to be some aggressive government somewhere - North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Malaysia or elsewhere - and there doesn't appear to be any clear reason for it.

Prudence tells me that keeping a strong nation militarily is better rather than worse. It's the safer thing to do. Using that force, however, is something of a different question - something that has to be decided case by case rather than taking a dogmatic stand.

If Humanism takes its stand, dogmatically, in an anti-war philosophy, hands down and no questions asked, I couldn't be comfortable as a Humanist. There are times when war must be waged and we, unfortunately, are currently at one of those times.

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