Support the Humanist Community at Harvard

Chris Stedman and Chelsea Link are doing a twelve-hour-blogathon right now to raise money for the Humanist Community at Harvard. It’s a fantastic organization, so check out their posts and chip in a few dollars if you can.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • ortcutt

    Why should people who don’t belong to this social club give money to support their quasi-church?  Wouldn’t it be better to support groups like FFRF that actually do something productive for secularism?

  • Katherine Lorraine

    Nope. They held up Seth MacFarlane as an example of mumanism to which we should aspire (given he was their Humanist of the Year.) So according to HCH, humanists should be homophobic, transphobic, racist, and misogynist.

  • cxmiller10

    Humanist Community at Harvard – isn’t that redundant? Just kidding – I couldn’t resist.

  • VladChituc

    Come on. You can disagree with the concept of Humanist Chaplaincies but it’s silly to suggest that the HCH is merely a “quasi-church” which does nothing for secularism.

    They currently have a project going with the American Humanist Association to help provide materials and support for developing Humanist groups. They take part in a lot of service events that many other groups don’t, like their recent drive to feed 40,000 food insecure children in the Boston area. 

    They’re creating and promoting moral communities for humanists. That’s not a “quasi-church.” It helps real people and real groups. And it’s definitely productive for secularism.

    You can promote the FFRF, which does great work, without diminishing the work the Humanists at Harvard do. 

  • ortcutt

    As they understand it, their “Humanism” isn’t even compatible with opposition to religion.  Stedman wrote, “I believe that this so-called New Atheism —  the kind that singles out the religious lives of others as its No. 1 target — is toxic, misdirected, and wasteful.”

    I guess Russell, who wrote that “I think all the great religions of the world – Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity , Islam, and Communism – both untrue and harmful.” would be unwelcome in Stedman’s version of Humanism.  Epstein and Stedman would rather make pals with Eboo Patel and his gang than Dawkins, Harris or any of us.  Let’s all pretend that religion is harmless and go back to the days when religion could never be criticized.  Why is that anything that we should support?

  • VladChituc

    Why are you speaking about how “they” understand it. Chelsea, who is also blogging with him, is an outspoken antitheist. Jonathan Figdor who came from the Chaplaincy is one as well. 

    The quote you make is somewhat out of context, and Chris has admitted it reads overly broad. His sentence before that is more specific: “reactionary atheism that fixates on making antireligious proclamations is creating even more division.” He’s stated again and again he values religious criticism, he says as much in the Salon piece you link to. He says “many New Atheist critiques of religion are correct and have helped many people find liberation from oppressive beliefs” but goes on to say that  “some of these critiques have also often neglected to account for the full range of religious expression and have resulted in segregation that has parsed the religious and the secular into opposing camps.” All he’s doing is making a critique of how he sees a lot of new atheists conduct themselves, and how they tend to treat religion in a reductive way. He’s never expressed a problem with criticism in and of itself. You can disagree with his points, that’s fine. But don’t pretend like he’s against all criticism of religion when he’s never said so. 

  • ortcutt

    “Outspoken antitheist”?

    Chelsea Link’s most recent blog post is one tssk-tssking about the tone of American Atheist billboards.

    The more I read work by people affiliated by this group, it’s basically all people who want say “I’m not one of THOSE atheists”.  We should be proud of AA’s Christmas billboards, not tssk-tssking every time someone has the guts to state the obvious.

  • VladChituc

    You can’t be an outspoken antitheist while thinking that AA billboards are counterproductive? Here’s a blog post Chelsea wrote last year:

    “I wish religion would go away. I think it’s wrong, I think it’s a net negative presence in the world, and if all else were equal, I would prefer a world without religion to one with it. I agree whole-heartedly with Voltaire’s warning that “whoever has the power to make you absurd can also make you unjust” I fully support “persuading more people out of religion and into atheism.” I am, you might say, an evangelical atheist.”

    Does she not count as a real antitheist to you because she doesn’t approve of American Atheists billboards? Does that somehow not count as being “in opposition to religion.”

    It’s fine if you think they’re wrong. But criticize them for things they actually believe and say, not this made up straw man you have of them in your head, where religious criticism is totally of limits and they’re just waiting for Christians to set up a theocracy and crush all those mean old True Atheists.

  • ortcutt

    I don’t doubt the atheist part. (I think the term “antitheist” is stupid beyond belief.  Someone isn’t against god if they don’t think there is one.)  It’s the “outspoken” part that I doubt.  Self-described “humanists” don’t dislike the New Atheists because they’re atheists.  They dislike them because they’re outspoken.   To many people that’s “rude”.  Too bad.  I don’t care if Bill Donohue or Chelsea’s mom thinks it’s rude.  I’m old enough to be sick of these tone police by now.

  • VladChituc

    antitheist strikes me as more anti-theists than anti-god, but whatever.

    How is that post not outspoken? How is being open about the fact that you think religion is a bad thing not outspoken?

    And how is criticizing others for how they present their message not appropriate? How does that make you not outspoken? 

    Chelsea voices that she thinks religion is bad. Chris has never said we shoudn’t criticize the religious. Are you willing to admit that you were way off base when you said “as they understand it, their ‘Humanism’ isn’t even compatible with opposition to religion”

    Would you agree that Chelsea is in opposition to religion, and that it isn’t impeded by her humanism at all?

  • chicago dyke

    sorry, but i’m going to give my charity money to much, much more needing and hard pressed progressive communities like the Ali Forney center for runaway gay teens or the SPLC or Lambda Legal or even the relatively “rich” progressive organization PFAW before i give to any student group at Harvard. it’s not that i have auto-hate of all things Harvard, but as “needy” goes, they rank way, way low on any sensible list. 

    this is true if you’re like me, that is, and can only give a relatively small amount every year. if you’re a trust fund baby or name-on-a-building grade donor, sure. this “charity” is your responsibility. serious (regular tax bracket) humanist/atheist/secularists who want to make a statement by choosing which of our charities to donate to, please do so in a state and/or school where there is a much greater need. like AL or MS or ND. we have organizations there too. none of their members benefit from the automatic benefit of media attention simply b/c they can attach the title “Harvard Student Organization of….” in front of their causes.