Are you new to humanism? Or, not exactly sure what contemporary humanism represents? Do you want to explore the humanist lifestance for yourself? Or are you interested in reviewing how to explain humanism to others? If any of those apply, then this three week series surveying the basic tenets of humanism is for you.
Participants are encouraged to come to all three of the sessions, but folks are welcome to come as they are able. Each one-and-a-half hour session will begin with an overview of one salient aspect of humanism followed by group discussion. Please note that this is not an academic course, but a review of contemporary humanism as understood and practiced by a growing number of people affiliated with such organizations as the American Humanist Association and the Council for Secular Humanism.
The focus of each session is as follows:
Intro to Naturalism
We begin this series on Humanism by looking at the naturalist worldview which lays the foundation for modern day humanism. While non-theistic perspectives have always been present in human thinking, the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment of Western Europe ushered in a new age of human reason and ways of knowing. In this session, we will review the scientific explanations and philosophical developments that changed the focus of our attention from the supernatural to the natural.
Intro to Ethics
This session we will focus on the ethical imperative of humanism. So many secular and atheists groups say they support humanist ethics. But what does that mean? Clearly those in the freethought community reject supernatural, authoritarian morality, but what moral theory and principles lay the foundation of the humanist outlook? Contrary to popular opinion, we are not moral relativists. Come explore the heart of humanism.
Intro to Meaning and Purpose
We are the products of an un-designed, evolutionary process. What meaning or purpose can there be to our lives? For millions, religion supplies the answer. As humanists, we supply our own answers. But how? In this last session of this series, we will look at what the Humanist lifestance--with its naturalist worldview and ethical commitments--can contribute to the individual pursuit of meaning-making. And how can a Humanist community enhance our evolutionary journey through time and space?