Monday, July 28, 2008

a bipedal primate mammal

What is it that makes us human? What characteristics define us? Are we human simply because of our DNA? Are we human no matter what? It is simple to contrast a human with an inanimate object, and even with other species. We are singular and unique on this planet. There isn't anything much like us. We walk on two feet, using our opposable thumbs and our amazing brains to literally change the face of earth. As of yet, we aren't just unique to our planet, or our solar system, but we are unique in the universe. There are likely other intelligent beings in the universe, even though they are undiscovered by us, but they most likely aren't quite like us. We are humans, but what does that mean? According to Webster.com, the title of this post is all that human, the noun means.

Describing myself as an atheist doesn't say much in the way of my beliefs. It simply says that I don't believe in a god, not what I do believe in. I'm an atheist because I'm a freethinker, not because I'm ignorant of the gods. As a freethinker I've thought about many of the things I do believe in. I've also looked at a lot of beliefs that other atheists have that I don't share. I like to try on their ideals and see if they fit, and if not, why. Humanism is what has been on my mind lately. The basic gist of Humanism is kind of like the beginning part of the second paragraph of the declaration of independence, but slightly more politically correct. All humans have certain rights that should be guaranteed simply because they are human.

I agree one hundred percent that all humans deserve the chance to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Where I disagree, is the definition of human. I don't think that just having 23 pairs of the right chromosomes makes you human. There are people with down syndrome that definitely deserve the name human. On the other hand, there are people in this world with the right amount of chromosomes that don't deserve to be called humans. Basically, I think that everyone that is born has the potential to be a "human", but because of the person they become, they may lose that privilege. If someone chooses not to live by the very basic principles of the golden rule, then they forfeit their right to be treated by said rule. I don't mean minor infractions like praying or not, or some other trivial thing, but big things like physical abuse, murder, stealing, etc. If you don't want to act like a decent human being, then I don't think that you deserve the basic rights of a human being.

So essentially, I don't think I could exactly call myself a humanist. There are too many people in the world that I don't think deserve basic human rights.