Humanism (with either upper or lower case "h"), whether labelled a philosophy, life stance, worldview, movement or "religion", dates back to the ancient Greece and Rome of Eipicurus and Lucretius. After lying dormant for centuries it began to reawaken following the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the development of science. The Deism of Voltaire and Paine and Jefferson was a sort of proto-humanism. The 19th century growth of democracy, science, public education, and industry - aided by Darwin's breakthrough in science - spurred the advances of freethought and rationalism. The Ethical Society movement took off after the Civil War and Unitarian congregations moved leftward theologically toward naturalistic Humanism.
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There is a new book on UU Humanism to be published by the UUA's Skinner House press this Fall, Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism. At General Assembly in Columbus, on Saturday, June 25th, there was a panel discussion about topics from the book. On the panel, seated left to right, were David Breeden, John Hooper, Maria Greene, Amanda Poppei, Kendyl Gibbons, and T. K.Barger.
This is the description of the session from the GA Program Book:
Authors from the new book, Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism (Skinner House, Ed. Kendyl Gibbons and Bill Murry), share their hopes for humanism. Can our humanist ancestry reach today’s “unaffiliated” and “spiritual but not religious?” What is the future of humanism in a spiritually pluralistic Unitarian Universalism?
Outgoing UU Humanist Association president John Hooper had the pleasure of awarding the 2016 Religious Humanists of the Year award to Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow at this year's UUHA Annual Meeting. The meeting was held at the UUA General Assembly, Friday, June 24, 2016. Below is the video of their address, titled "Evolutionary Eco-Humanism".
[Editor's Note: If you are interested in the topic of Effective Altruism, there is a Coursera course by that name being taught right now by the well-known philosopher Peter Singer of Princeton University! Coursera courses are free and there is an entire week devoted to the Giving Game including an opportunity to play online as part of the course.]
“Thank you. I never thought of applying the scientific method to charity. My giving will never be the same.”
I was delighted to hear this feedback from a participant in a workshop I ran for my local Unitarian Universalist Humanist group at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus in late July 2016. The workshop, called a Giving Game, aimed to help facilitate rational thinking about our positive impact on the world through applying the scientific method to charity. Read more about Applying The Scientific Method To Charity »