For Humanists, the opening was inauspicious: Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists Inc., told those gathered for Skepticon IV that to call yourself a Humanist is a “cop-out”. For Silverman, nothing less than “atheist” would do. If he had stayed for the rest of the conference, though, he would have seen a profoundly Humanist series of speakers – speakers who on no account “copped-out” of their responsibility to skeptically scrutinize beliefs and actions, and who had their eyes firmly on the use of skeptical tools to promote human welfare. [Read more...]
“Gelatogate” is a genuine and troubling instance of discrimination against the nonreligious, and as such should be deplored. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate our capacity for compassion and forgiveness – values central to the Humanist outlook. [Read more...]
Religion and politics – two subjects we are admonished to avoid discussing at all costs. But what about irreligion and politics? How does the life stance of Humanism intersect with the political sphere? Are there political views that are mandatory for Humanists, part of the definition of the term? Is Humanism necessarily political? Or can Humanism as a philosophy stand aloof from political concerns and embrace the whole range of political perspectives? [Read more...]
I’ve just written another post on the 9/11 cross controversy, which I find particularly interesting as a philosopher of aesthetics and symbolism. You can find it here:
http://www.stateofformation.org/2011/08/museum-or-memorial-and-why-it-matters-thoughts-on-religious-symbolism/ [Read more...]
Most American are religious. Most of those religious people are Christian. Isn’t it understandable that in a time of enormous suffering people who are religious, and whose religion is commonly represented by the symbol of a cross, will latch onto a cross-shaped piece of rubble and ascribe significance to it and draw strength from it? I understand it. I think many non-Christians can understand it. Now what if you wanted to put this cross in a museum? What if you wanted to record it as part of the history and narrative of the 9/11 attacks, and our response to them? And what if the museum, the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, is supported by public money and on public land?
American Atheists, Inc. says no. I say yes, and loudly. [Read more...]
It is a fundamental principle of this nation that everyone be considered equal under the law, and that that law must be secular in character. In Rhode Island – a state with a proud history of supporting democracy, freedom and equality – this principle is under attack. [Read more...]
While Humanists frequently voice our commitment to a set of humanitarian values, often our most high profile movement efforts are related to defending the barrier between church and state: lawsuits against the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance, or against the National Day of Prayer, for instance. I can’t help but wonder, laudable though these efforts are, if the resources we devote to them might do more good – for humanity and our cause – if they were temporarily diverted to humanitarian work which directly improved the lives of our fellows.
Instead of crafting a movement which is (Good) Without God, let’s endeavor to be Good (Without God). [Read more...]