A few years back, I tried to start a blog to discuss some of my religious beliefs, having left organized religion behind. Life happened, and it fell by the wayside after only a handful of posts were published. My beliefs are still in a state of flux, but I think it’s worth republishing what served as my “about” page for Christian Humanism. It’s part religion, part philosophy, and it remains the context for how I interpret a lot of things of a spiritual nature. If I had to pick an existing church to identify with now, it would probably be Universal Unitarianism, but this is how I described my concept of Christian Humanism back in 2012:
Christian Humanism does not have a singular definition or one set of accepted beliefs and practices. There are different types of people who call themselves Christian Humanists, and I can only speak for myself. The most important part of being a Christian Humanist, however, is the belief in the humanity of Jesus Christ. There is room for debate about Christ’s divinity when you are a Christian Humanist. Some may believe He is the divine Son of God, while others may be satisfied with the concept of Jesus Christ as a historical figure – an ordinary man with extraordinary ideas. Myself, I fall somewhere in between. I believe that Jesus Christ had a cosmic (divine?) understanding of the universe, but the rational part of my brain is unsure about whether or not He had actual divine powers that cannot be explained by science.
But let’s take a look at the two basic beliefs that make up Christian Humanism…
To be Christian, you must believe in Jesus Christ. As previously stated, however, one does not have to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God to believe that He existed. For our purposes, being Christian means we accept the teachings of Christ. Those teachings included the basic tenets of love, tolerance, caring for the poor and the fringes of society… What you will notice is missing is any sort of hate, judgment, or intolerance that many others who call themselves Christians seem to believe makes them virtuous. While we acknowledge that sin exists, we also remember that Jesus taught us about forgiveness. It is not our place to judge those who sin, because we are also sinners. Every sin is supposedly equal, in the eyes of God, and the Bible enumerates thousands upon thousands of sins. Our brand of Christianity involves striving to be more Christ-like.
Humanism is defined by valuing ourselves as humans, both individually and collectively. It is a philosophy of dignity, rationality, and individual thought. When put in the context of religion, humanism derives itself from the idea that we were created in the image of God, and therefore, we are divine in our own right. We have value and import as human beings, and as such, we have a responsibility to all of humanity to care for one another – love of our fellow man.
Together, you can see how Christian Humanism comes together quite naturally. Jesus Himself was a humanist. He strove for His followers to preserve human dignity, to understand that we are all fallible, but we can always try to do better for ourselves and for others. He was a man, just like the rest of us. He lived like we did, only better. When the crowd wanted to stone an adulteress to death, for that was how they did things back then, Jesus reminded everyone that they were all sinners, too. He spared her life and encouraged her to do better, without shouting hateful things or telling her she was going to burn in Hell. When He healed the sick and dying, He didn’t stop to ask how much money they had first. He taught us in parables about the Good Samaritan, the unforgiving servant, and the prodigal son. These are stories of human decency, forgiveness, and redemption.
Hate and bigotry are not humanist or Christian values. You will find none of that here.