Bob spoke to us today about Humanism and recommended the book Personal Paths to Humanism. It is a book of essays by several people about the topic of what brought them to the Humanist way of thinking. He called it a collection of ideas by people who are looking for answers and are unsatisfied with the answers provided in the faith they were reared in.
Bob called Humanism the idea that deeds come before creeds, but actually Humanism is much more complicated than that… or not as complicated at that depending on how you look at it. It is good to take note of the fact that Humanism only began to take on the association with Atheism in the 20th century. In the 1200’s (early Middle Ages) there was a movement called Christian Humanism that emphasized the humanity of Jesus instead of insisting on Jesus as divine entity in a human world. Jesus in this tradition was on earth to reveal the message of God instead of his own message as God.
In today’s world, Humanists don’t look for explanations of why the moon rises and sets in mystical world where ancient texts about the nature of God are treated as if they are modern texts about the nature of physics and chemistry. Acts of kindness are a core Humanist belief. Humanists don’t perform acts of kindness because they are commanded to do so and fear divine retribution. Humanists don’t perform acts of kindness in exchange for a reward in heaven either. Ethical conduct is its own reward.
If an introduction to Humanism appeals to you then come out and meet us in person at the little church in the woods on Sunday morning. We do not all call ourselves Humanists, but several of us are. One thing we all identify with is that we are reasonable people who enjoy engagement in the world. Come out and engage.