I’ve been reading quite a bit lately about Humanism and participating in our FreeThinker Book Club, and especially its role in the Unitarian movement. Thus, I took the opportunity this year to do a talk and focussed on the 10th anniversary of religious Humanism. I’ve come to learn (thanks to John Dewey) that religious humanism is not an oxymoron.
Rather, Dewey uses religion as an adjective to describe the sense of awe, wonder, gratitude and service that the universe and its creatures inspire. It is not the same as the word religion used as a noun to describe a social organization designed to propagate, support and preserve the ideas of a certain, often privileged, group.
I had lots of time to prepare for this topic , but not enough time to make it shorter. Thus, I was shocked to find in a trial read-through the day before show time, that it took 20 minutes just to get through 7 of the 17 pages of text to Atheists, Humanists and FreeThinkers in our Unitarian Closets. I also realized that I was terrible at both reading and maintaining eye contact – at least without a teleprompter as used by the politicians. Thus, I retreated to familiar territory from the keynote circuit and created the attached powerpoint slides.
The talk was generally well received and got the occasional laugh and an unusual applause at the end. Thus, I hope it serves to open a place for religious thought- especially of the Humanist type, in each of you this Solstice Season!