A calmer, more respectable approach

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A calmer, more respectable approach

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Harvard's "God Free Chaplaincy" has a birthday

And there will be a conference with some big name speakers and attention to the intriguing subject of atheitistic fundamentalism. Here's a release:

March 8, 2007

Harvard's God-Free Chaplaincy Turns 30
Salman Rushdie, others honored by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A group of renowned Humanists, atheists and agnostics will gather at Harvard in April, to take on an unlikely opponent: atheist "fundamentalists."

The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard has long been among the most distinct institutions serving the non-religious community, and this April 20-22 it marks its 30th anniversary with an international conference asserting humanism is a non-theistic philosophy that allows for understanding and respect between believers in God and atheists.

"Vocal atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have recently publicized the notion that atheists must defeat religion and that science is all we need to understand the world. The press dubbed this phenomenon 'the new atheism,'" said Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University Greg M. Epstein.

But Epstein said "Humanism", which encompasses but does not end at atheism, is the philosophy that best represents the diverse, emerging population of 1.1 billion non-religious people around the world. And so the Chaplaincy is calling its upcoming conference "The New Humanism."

"Humanism takes science seriously, but is more than just science!" Epstein said. "Humanists love life here on Earth, find inspiration in human creativity, and respect all human beings."

The Humanist Chaplaincy has quietly committed itself to interfaith dialogue at Harvard for three decades, said Epstein, who has headed the Chaplaincy since 2005.

"The time has come to say to the world that inclusiveness is the best approach, for non-religious and religious people alike," Epstein said.

The April 20-22 conference at Harvard will include some of the greatest thinkers of our time, including novelist Salman Rushdie, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning scientist E.O. Wilson, and renowned psychology professor and author Steven Pinker. Humanist Congressional lobbyist Lori Lipman Brown, of the Secular Coalition for America, will speak about how humanists can become more active in politics. Singer-songwriter Dar Williams will perform a private concert.

The conference will emphasize humanism's positive values, connections among humanists from many cultural traditions, and how humanist thought can contribute to global peace.

"Humanists and theists must promote cooperation between science and religion, the two most powerful forces in the world, to protect the Earth and its environment, however we believe they came into existence," said E.O. Wilson, who is slated to speak at the conference on April 22.

This January, New York-based think-tank the Institute for Humanist Studies awarded the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard a grant to provide a full-credit course on modern, organized Humanism. At the conference, Epstein, along with retired founding chaplain Tom Ferrick, a former Catholic priest, will unveil plans to create this program and establish Humanist chaplaincies at other universities.

For information about the conference, visit: http://www.thenewhumanism.org.

For information about the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard, visit http://harvardhumanist.org.



- I thought this was interesting. What say you?

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Chaplaincy?  Wasn't this

Chaplaincy?  Wasn't this just discussed?  Aren't organized Atheism promotion centers inevitable?

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A calmer approach I'd

A calmer approach I'd definately agree with, but more respectable?  I think both the in-your-face approach and this style of approach are both deserving of high respect.  They have their own unique situations in which to best be used.

  The inclusive approach that the New Humanism is taking is an important one.  The fact of the matter is, religion is not going away for some time, and a refusal of both the secular and religious sides to work together would amount to no progress at all.  So, again, I say this is an important approach and one that has been waiting all too long to emerge.

 If you're going to attend the conference, I'll see you there!

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...

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"Humanists and theists must

"Humanists and theists must promote cooperation between science and religion, the two most powerful forces in the world, to protect the Earth and its environment, however we believe they came into existence,"

Explain that to the religions who view the end of the world with a silver lining.


It would be nice if everyone could just get along, but that doesn't happen. Here they are suggesting Humanism is the cure to the worlds problems but why is there then a secular humanism. Wouldn't that suggest even with humanism there are splits?

Am I suggesting "Atheism" is the cure to the world? No, atheism is a mere position on one issue and atheism doesn't make a person automatically "good" or reasonable, but that gets away from the point of your post.


"A calmer, more respectable approach"

You are saying there is a right and wrong approach, correct? Honestly there is no right approach and all approaches serve a purpose.

Calmer? Do you mean we can't have feelings or what? If that is what you are suggesting you are suggesting that we can't be human.

Respectable? I won't respect the beliefs like I should die and go to a place where I am to suffer for an eternity or there is a magical pink unicorn that makes the wind blow.