We need to know about where we came from and how we got here to better see who we are and where we are heading. We humanists need to root our convictions more firmly to gather the strength to deal with a world that has become increasingly cold and hostile.
Holy wars rage in the Khyber Pass and around the persian Gulf. The faithful are called to prayer from Minarets that tower over Baghdad in Iraq and Dearborn in Michigan. The Mullahs run Iran. Fanatics take innocent hostages off the street, hijack airplanes, leave bombs in restaurants, and murder innocent citizens.
You can dial a prayer at any time, or work your Sunday around any number of the TV pulpits anchored by high-tech preachers. In the name of God, these holy men censor textbooks, ban novels, coerce school boards, legislate the teaching of biblical creation, ban homosexuals, excoriate secular humanists. Hundreds of thousands watch and pay their money, firmly believing that they are saved for an eternal life in the sky.
Nations continue to take aim at each others hearts. Leaders at the highest levels endorse cruel and unspeakable punishments of their dissident citizens. At this very moment developers are chopping down the trees in the Amazon Basin. Their efforts eradicate thousands of species every year as habitats are destroyed. Since the world now has fewer trees in one of its wettest places, less moisture is pumped into the air. As a result, global patterns of rainfall are altered forever, less rain will fall in Africa and droughts will continue to kill thousands more by starvation.
Some of the greatest of the classical forests of the world are shriveling, lakes are poisoned, fjords soured, and still the rains continue to carry down acid. Thousands know more about the drivel in the TV series, Dallas, than about the many more out in the world who will go blind from vitamin A deficiency.
We humanists have not lit up the sky. Religious fundamentalism has grown stronger than ever. Compassion, justice, and the sense of humanity have gone out of style. Wither Humanism?