Early philosophers, Socrates and Plato among others, are usually credited with establishing the framework for Western civilization. These were thoughtful, just and compassionate men who lived long before Christianity, Islam and other religions were formally established. They did not belong to an organized religion, but advocated and followed a life of virtue, seeking knowledge in a critical, dialectic manner.
Today we have numerous religious dogmas that demand rigid adherence to doctrines that oppose one another, leading to strife, wars, intolerance, fear and bigotry, not to mention retardation in scientific research. Humanism, which seeks a rational solution to the problems encountered by man, does not promote nationalism, intolerance or retribution against those who choose to follow a different path.
Plato stated: "He who injures no one has no need of laws." This state of self-regulation and independent inquiry could also apply to those seeking knowledge and truth without sectarian allegiance. True believers are crafted from within.
Paula Ann Costis