ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Politics and Social Issues»
  • Social Issues

What are American values? American Heritage vs Secular Humanism

Updated on February 19, 2017

Man over board

 a man clinging to the past as if it were a life raft, while watching the future evolve without him
a man clinging to the past as if it were a life raft, while watching the future evolve without him | Source

Clinging to the past is like a man overboard clinging to a log in the middle of the ocean. Serving no purpose and going nowhere. Our destiny is in the future, not in the past. As it was meant to be, as time and space can only move in one direction - forward.

This preamble is in response to the comment below the following article. I can't seem to get the grasp of adequate clarification of intent, for my articles. So here is my clarification of the use of the term "secular humanism". It has nothing to do with a governmental process, type of government, or anything else to do with government. It is a state of mind, in reference to a type of society, that would be free of the encumbrances of the current unmitigated attempts to change our basic constitutional laws, based upon the unwanted (and unconstitutional) interference by any religious entity. Or any other type of money making businesses attempting to mandate morality, or change our laws to fit their own narrow and limited agendas to fulfill their need for greed.

I truly believe that if we had a government that is totally separated from all religious and corporate influence, most of our economic and social problems would simply fall along the wayside.

Religion has been nothing but a bane to society, and one of the basically malevolent, and major root causes of most past wars and conflicts. This is a factual statement - not implied or imagined.

If we ignore or forget our past, we are doomed to repeat those same mistakes.

The description of insanity is when we continue to do the same things over and over again, and expect a different outcome each time.

The continuity of basing our entire civilization on a mythical concept is at best insanity.

What is secular humanism?

  • A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on blind faith.
  • Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
  • A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it. Everything must evolve (which means to move forward, not backwards)
  • A concern for this life, and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
  • A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
  • A conviction that, with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, tolerance, and sympathetic understand, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

These rational and basic fundamentals are the only way to overcome our current system failures of basing a society on:

  • profits and greed,
  • selfishness and cruelty,
  • corruption and the total divide of the wealthy and poor,
  • spirituality, superstition and any base religion.

In our current state, we are rapidly eliminating the middle class in our faltering direction into the future, and inaptly trying to preserve a political ideal of religious control.

d.william 12/05/10

{This was the original article}

The American Heritage. Do you really want to preserve that monster?


Something transmitted or acquired from a predecessor: legacy, inheritance, traditions.

This can mean many different things to many different people. Also meaning - birthright. Example: the nations "heritage" of tolerance. Obviously this definition has been discarded long ago. And the term "family values" should be stricken from our vocabulary as well. There is no such concept that encompasses all types of families in today's world.

But, despite the radical conservatism agenda since this nation was formed more than 250 years ago, some ideas that were fought against survived, thrived and flourished; greatly enriching our lives.

As you may, (or may not) have noticed, i use examples with dictionary meanings frequently to make a point. Since our words seem to have lost their original meanings, or are twisted to 'bend' the truth, it is imperative to define the 'meaning' or 'intent' of a concept that i would like to explore, or discuss. This should, but not always, clarify my point of view to avoid any misconceptions.

This article is on the misuse of the word heritage that conservatives use today as something nostalgically good that has been lost in history by those apparently 'progressive' changes made by the radical liberals in this world.

Noah Webster was just such a radical liberal who also was criticized by your conservative ancestors. Thank goodness he did not cave in to that foolish criticism.

He was convinced that a national language would unify the country. Thus began the odyssey to the fulfillment of his quest for that unity through words.

Circa 1800 -1803 Noah Webster started his compilation of words, meanings, pronunciations, spellings, etc. There were educators that totally disagreed with his spelling reforms and bickered about some of his pronunciations.

Ignoring his critics, he continued his work for 20+ years and in 1828 the first two-volume, 70,000 word dictionary of the English language was printed.

After Noah Webster's death in 1843, Charles and George Merriam acquired the rights to his dictionary. The first unabridged (unshortened or uncondensed) version was printed in 1847 as: MERRIAM -WEBSTER's DICTIONARY. It was revised in 1864.

In 1890 they published the first International Dictionary and in 1898 the first Collegiate Dictionary was published.

The 10th edition was published in 1993.

In 1961 the third International Dictionary was referred to as a "calamity", ''monstrous" and "abominable". They were accused by the NY Times of "betraying a public trust and lowering the standards of the language". I remember that controversy well and totally disagreed with the NY Times on their accusations. I only saw the New York Times as a radical conservative entity that was hell bent of maintaining the narrow minded heritage of our forefathers.

The Merriam editorial philosophy maintained that "the dictionary should not try to dictate or influence the development of language, but should only record its actual use" - "the purpose of the dictionary is to provide a record of the language as it is used by educated people who have been speaking and writing it all their lives.".

It has become an excellent general reference source and the current versions include such information as: 2,600= biological names, 12,000+ geological names, 500+ foreign words and phrases, a list of 2,600+ American colleges/universities and a table containing the Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit and Russian alphabets.

And for you true conservative prudes; just to agitate and poke at your prudishness: I will point out that in the 3rd edition of the Collegiate Dictionary all but two of the most common "obscenities" were added. Of the the two that were omitted, one was re-entered into the 1973 edition with objections by only about a dozen readers, who wrote voicing their complaints. (that word that was added, by the way, was the "f---" word), and remains there to this day.

The other one is 12 letters long (i will leave that one up to your imagination to figure out) and still is not part of the dictionary, although we hear it being used frequently in general speech, in the movies and on pay t.v. (not one that i would ever use, as i find this one particularly obscene, and although i am for free speech, it is well to leave it out of our dictionary).

My greatest hope for the survival of mankind is to see a total conversion to 'secular humanism' with a total and final moulting [shedding] of conservative heritage, once and for all.


© 2010 d.william


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      In revising this article, i noted that i never acknowledged your comments above. My sincerest apologies. That was not intentional.

      I agree with your comments 100%, but the current political trends (of the GOP at least) threaten that very foundation with their intent to mandate women's decisions for them, deny gay rights to a significant portion of the population, and cram their religious beliefs on those of us who think those beliefs are hypocrisy at best. We must continue to demand that the separation of church and state be upheld without question.

    • Valentine Logar profile image

      Valentine Logar 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Nicely done. Agree entirely, the removal of all religious dogma from government is the right answer. That was the intent of the original founding documents, the bastardization of the intent is human error. I don't think we can demand that others stop "believing" or having faith, much as we might disagree with their framework. What we can do is demand their personal belief not be imposed upon us through legislation.

      For as long as man has walked the earth he has worshiped a God or god(s). It is the nature of man to create something greater than himself to explain the mysteries, impose order and take away the fear of the great unknown that is death. It is an emotional need that has never been filled with anything other than "faith".

      All we can do is work toward mandating "faith" remain a private activity rather than a public affirmation.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Thank you for your comments. I have added a preamble to this article in hopes that it will clarify the term 'secular humanism' for you. You specifically mention Al Gore as being a capitalist pig, but you neglect to add the other 99.9% that run this government also as such. And i do not know any one individual that believes, or ever did believe, that this or any other government has the best interest of the people at heart. Politicians make the rules to benefit themselves and their benefactors, which truly ARE NOT the American citizens.

    • drbillfannin profile image

      drbillfannin 7 years ago from Atlanta

      Great Article, but I disagree with your vision. It is well known from history that all great societies who wander too far from their original founding and uniting principles fail. America is in decline, and it will fail. This country has no common uniting philosophy anymore. We are at war with principles, and secular humanism won't save us anymore than ultra-conservatism will. Most people still lean right, that is a documented fact. The only hope for salvation this county has is when we all decide to meet in the middle. No extreme will work. I am a true conservative at heart, but not the kind represented by Sarah Palin. However, in practice, I am more of a moderate. I support gay rights, equality, and acceptance. I do not support total government control as so many humanists do. All societies who allow massive government control fail. We only have to look to history. Why so many people think more government control is the answer to any problem is beyond me. After all, what is the government but a bunch of self-serving people who couldn't care less about what the people think? Anyone who believes the government has our best interest at heart is living in la-la land. Al Gore is the biggest capitalist pig on the earth, but many people worship him as our savior. If he was, why doesn't donate his millions to help improve our planet? His plan is to make us pay, while he gets richer. This is the way of all politicians and "cause" leaders. Show me an honest leader, and I'll show you someone who is blinded by the propaganda.