By Matt Maier
We get asked a lot: “why a church”?
It’s a fair question. Who starts a new church anyway? The idea sounds crazy, or at least grandiose.
We want to prioritize the best interests of Humanity above anything else. Humanity first. What kind of organization does that?
Our scope is broader than any of the non-profits we’re aware of. In pursuing Humanity’s best interests we need to tackle the “big questions”. We settled on churches as organizations that can encompass life and eternity.
When Humanity isn’t first priority
A hyperbolic example is the cliche paperclip maximizing AI. The idea is a super powerful AI prioritizes paperclips over everything else, except maybe it’s own existence. The AI ends up wiping out the human race as the AI progresses towards its goal of maximum paperclips. No hard feelings. The AI doesn’t necessarily want to destroy Humanity. That’s just a side effect of pursuing it’s on top priority (paperclips).
A less extreme, but more tangible, example is the modern food industry. The food industry has a top priority of making profit. They prioritize making more money over everything else. So Humanity has unhealthy products pushed on it. No hard feelings. Maybe try to exercise more, or take some supplements. The pharmaceutical industry invented a lot of it’s own profitable products to treat the negative effects from the “food” products. Nobody is willfully trying to make Humanity sick. It just happens as a side effect of prioritizing profit above anything else.
We want an organization that can prioritize Humanity’s best interests above paperclips and profit. That way we can push back against forces that might degrade Humanity, whether or not it’s intentional.
Most situations aren’t as clearly black/white as mindlessly creating paperclips. Most actors don’t actually have a well articulated set of priorities and many share the same priorities but disagree on how to pursue them.
For example, humans needs to move around, which means expending energy, which means side effects. Burning fossil fuel is in Humanity’s interest on one hand because it’s a cheap, flexible source of energy. On the other hand it’s not in Humanity’s interest to burn fossil fuel because it distorts politics and pollutes the only environment we can currently live in. We want to make sure someone is framing the situation as “what best advances Humanity” because not everyone will. Additionally, it would be nice if the Humanity-first pressure was large enough to be a relevant factor in a situation as big as global economics and geopolitics.
By articulating a Humanist philosophy and evolving a Humanist church we can create large force pushing Humanity towards it’s best future instead of hoping it happens accidentally.
We are not including any ideas to the effect that other priorities are bad. Other priorities simply are. No hard feelings. We will work to maximize our top priority (Humanity first) even if that means clashing with other priorities. We expect to cooperate with the vast majority of people and organizations in the vast majority of circumstances.
Pro-human, not anti-X
This is a positive priority, not a negative priority. We are advancing Humanity’s agenda, not degrading any other interests. If it turns out we can’t all have everything, which seems likely, Being Human Church will ensure Humanity has a champion fighting for it.