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 learning 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.
Description of Session One: 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, as well as consider non-western influences on contemporary naturalism.
Description of Session Two: Intro to Ethics
This week we will focus on the ethical imperative of humanism and disentangle ethics from religion. We will explore the moral theories and principles that lay the foundation of the humanist outlook. As interest arises, we will compare and contrast humanist ethics with liberal religious and spiritual traditions as well as identify differences from non-theist, agnostic and atheist worldviews. Contrary to popular opinion, we are not moral relativists (at least, not any more than religious people). Come explore the heart of humanism.
Description of Session Three: Intro to Meaning and Mattering
We are the products of an un-designed, evolutionary process. What meaning or purpose can there be to our lives? Does a person’s life matter at all—and for whom or to what end? For millions, religion supplies the answer. As humanists, we supply our own answers. In the last session of this series, we will look at what the Humanist lifestance--with its naturalist worldview and ethical commitments--can contribute to individual mattering and the pursuit of meaning. And how can a Humanist community enhance our evolutionary journey through time and space?