an open letter to a

Dear theist,

thank you for your letter that you wrote to us. It was well received. From it you said you were a secular humanist but you left. If you don’t mind my asking, what was your understanding of secular humanism and why did you leave?

What in the philosophy of secular humanism did you find most untenable? Is it embrace of human reason, ethics and philosophical naturalism or is it the rejection of religious dogma, pseudoscience and superstition that you didn’t like?

Or is it the claim that  human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god that you most disagree with? I hope you will be kind enough to indulge me.

As to your question, you ask what is the meaning of life? You say this question is fundamental and being that it has been asked by several generations of humans, I will take it to be so. Do you ask about all life or just human life? In my time I have seen men, mostly men, kill other life forms for pleasure. I am sure you heard of Cecil. Do these lives matter or do they exist for the pleasure of men? I digress. Life is to be lived. Trees have life, they grow and then die. Animals live and then die. We are unfortunate. We find ourselves in an absurd universe with the faculty for reflection. And we often think every question that occurs to us is answerable.

This is not to evade your question but to point out the futility of asking it. Maybe we should start by answering what is life before we get to what is the meaning of life. I hope you can shed some light on what is life?

In your letter you mention Belgium and it’s suicide rates and laid the blame on secular humanism. Assuming for a moment you are right and secular humanism is to blame, what is your argument against suicide? Who’s to decide when a person should quit this life? Does the alarm you raise about the low birth rate have anything to do with your Catholicism that sees women as breeders or something close? Or is it intellectual? I would love to know why you decry low birth rates.

You say the fatal flaw in secular humanism is its attempt to give meaning where there is none and me wonders really whether you thought about this statement fully. How it would be a flaw?

Your final question is unclear.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours naturalist and secular humanist.