Who decides what fits rational ethical humanism? Who decides what is the best utilitarian vision for a society?
Humanists. They begin with a moral intuition that the optimal society is the one that promotes the most opportunity for the most people to pursue and attain happiness as they understand it. Then, they choose the rules that they think will facilitate this vison, and test them. The rational part is everything that comes after the utilitarian intuition.
Seems we're no closer to the utilitarian utopian society you envision in the "advanced" countries of the world where religion has become authoritatively impotent in the face of secular rule than humans were millennia ago when religion held authoritative sway over society .
There is no expectation of utopia, just an optimal society. And I disagree with you. The countries that are the least religious have the happiest citizens. The Western democracies lead the world in generating opportunity with their guaranteed personal rights, public education, and strong middle classes with extensive social safety nets, and the more atheistic, the happier they are. Look at the greenest countries and where they are - the same places that humanism (and atheism) has the most sway:
Are you suggesting that my ethics are inferior to yours?
I don't know your ethics, but the typical Christian's ethics are flawed by humanist standards. Do you consider atheists or homosexuals abominations to a good god? Do you think that your religion's precepts should be enacted into law?
What makes men speaking for themselves any more superior to men claiming to speak for God?
Rational ethics is superior to received ethics because the latter is crystalized and inflexible, and often contain outdated ideas and bigotries that harm people.
Which Christian ethics are you speaking of ? I suspect many of those bigotries and messages you speak of are representative of historically relevant and culturally necessary bias.
Agreed. I gave you the example of the Christian sexual mores, and suggested that they are more appropriate to a time where too few people was a problem. Today, too many people is the problem, but Christianity has no mechanism for self-correction. To the extent that those mores have been relaxed as with the legalizing of divorce and contraception, those corrections came from humanistic rational ethics, not the pulpit or scripture.
Would you rather scripture ONLY describe a historically non existent society living in an idealistic paradise protected from all harm by their God forever and always?
I'm not sure what you mean, but I would prefer rational ethics to received ethics, and that where biblical ethics conflict, that the humanistic preference be the law.
Christians aren't insisting, I hope, that women be forced to get pregnant in order that they have unwanted babies.
Perhaps not explicitly or in those words, but that is what the church's preferences lead to, and the church appears indifferent to the consequences except to fetuses.
What Christianity does believe, I think, is in the sanctity of human life once began at conception.
It's a de facto Christian principle that this religion has little regard for life. What is written on paper but not rendered is irrelevant. Where was the pope or the Protestant church during the pandemic? What is it doing to mitigate climate change, which will become increasingly devastating for most life? What does it do for the fetuses once they are born? What research that can improve the human condition is it underwriting?
You'll have to explain that humanistic input, I'm not sure what your referring to.
I had written, "When they update their ethics as when American Christians accepted the overthrowing of God's divinely appointed king and to accept divorce, it was because of the input of rational humanistic influences."
The American Revolution was rebellion against God's chosen ruler, and is forbidden by scripture
- "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves."- Romans 13:1-2
- "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient" - Titus 3:1
Imagine the barrier this created for the Founders, who were advocating deposing God's king to a largely Christian populace. These were largely deists appealing to Abrahamic theists. Have you ever wondered why the only reference to a creator is the claim that rebellion is a right from the Creator? It's pretty clear why that appears in the Declaration - to mitigate against that scripture:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
That's the humanistic input coming from these deists forced to give lip service to a creator. They're doing exactly what the theists who came before them did - speaking for a god to give their own ideas its imprimatur. God gave us these rights, right?
Uncritically? That's not Christianity, that's "some" Christians.
I had written, "Any that people say come from a god and are to be received and obeyed uncritically" in response to, "And what laws and morals given by God are you referring to? The ten Commandments?" Yes, I mean received and assimilated uncritically. That's what received morals are. They're presented as the immutable, absolute, and timeless will of a good god. They're not up for debate. There a little wiggle room on blasphemy. The believer is not free to declare gays sinless because his critical thinking skills tell him that that an unjustified belief, or that sin isn't a real thing. Why? Heaven is not a democracy and God doesn't count hands.
Led astray or enlightened?
I had written, "have been led astray by Abrahamic theology and its homophobic deity." Humanist ethics dispatches of that debate rationally. Homophobia is irrational, hateful, and destructive, not enlightened. The opposite: benighted.
Do you accept the scriptures take on unbelievers? It's pure hate speech. Scripture depicts unbelievers as lying, corrupt, vile, abominable, wicked, godless vessels in the service of darkness and evil, not one of which does any good, and fit to be burned alive forever as the moral equivalent of murderers and whoremongers, and the declared enemy of a good god [Psalm 14:1, Revelation 21:8, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 John 2:22, and Luke 11:23]. Imagine your reaction to seeing Christian substituted for unbeliever in that. What if it were about Jews or blacks instead of atheists? Would that be enlightened?
How does disagreeing with certain desires of the human condition translate into a phobia?
Phobia in this context is not the psychiatric usage as with arachnophobia, claustrophobia, or agoraphobia, which means fear. In lay language, it means any aversion or dislike, and so we have the words homophobia, atheophobia, and islamophobia, none of which imply a neurosis.