American Humanism: Time to Cross the Threshold

On Sunday 10th the American Humanist Association’s 70th Annual Conference drew to a close. What did this convocation of American Humanists (and important visitors from around the world) reveal about the state of Humanism in America?

It showed that American Humanism is brimming with potential. And it showed that we must work hard to fulfill it. It is time for a full-throated Humanism with strong foundations. Prepare your voice, and prepare your hands: we have songs to sing, and communities to build. [Read more...]

The Beacon of Humanism – Beacon for Whom?

I love Humanism and I love my Humanist Community. When I say I am a Humanist, I mean far more than that I do not believe in God. To me, Humanism is a visionary commitment to a better world, in which the emancipation of all humankind is not an abstraction but a reality.

And this is why I’m wary of Humanist conferences. Because too often they fail to live up to the ideal of Humanism that I have in my head. So I ask today, the day before this years AHA Annual Conference, who are we calling to, and how will we represent our movement to the world? [Read more...]

Fighting Theocracy at Harvard

On Saturday last week (04.02.2011) I spoke at a counter-protest to the “Social Transformation Conference at Harvard”. This conference featured 3 speakers with deep ties to something called the “Seven Mountains” movement – a virulently anti-gay, anti-Muslim theocratic group. I spoke out to say that it is our duty to confront these theocrats, and to defeat them, to ensure freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, and secular government remain among the guiding principles of the United States of America. [Read more...]

Informed Worship – Res Miranda!

“I would suggest that science is, at least in my part, informed worship.”

Who said this? Perhaps you’re thinking it has a sense of the New Age about it, a slight hint of woo. Maybe it’s the sort of thing you might expect Deepak Chopra to say, an amalgam of pseudoscience and feel-good spirituality that is fed to credulous seekers for a “reasonable” price. It’s surely not, you may think, something any self-respecting naturalist would would allow to pass their lips… [Read more...]

Singing Together: “No, Please, NO!” or “Sing Aloud!”? – Humanism and Song, Part Two

Giving voice in song should be considered a deep human need. And if Humanist communities are good for anything, they should attempt to fulfill human needs. Avoiding communal singing simply because it is a practice that is common in religious spaces is irrational. We should not forfeit valuable activities which promote human flourishing simply because the religious do them too. When it comes to singing together, we should not cut out our secular tongue to spite others’ religious face. [Read more...]

The Profane Harp – Humanism and Song, Part One

The experience is intoxicating, enhanced by the prismatic paintings behind the singers, by the ecstatic look on their faces, the feeling of my blood pumping in my ears, breath bursting from my lungs, crazy colors on the wall, vibrations in the gut, tingle in the hands, song in my soul. This is singing. I am enveloped by the song, carried up by it, exalted and exulting. [Read more...]

Drums and Fire – Pillars of the Temple

Is there a drumming inside your head that church bells fail to quiet? A pulse that outdoes heaven for sweetness, and hell for heat? A rhythm you want to share with others, so powerfully does it move you? Perhaps, like me, your head harbors the drums of reason, and thrills to their beat. [Read more...]


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