There has been a lot of conversation recently about what exactly Humanist groups should be doing with our time. Some people focus on the problems caused by church state entanglement. Some focus on the need to improve science and critical thinking education. Some focus on debunking woo. Some focus on building community and volunteering. All of these various tasks are important. However, I’d like to talk about an area that we haven’t been too good at.And that is the area of teaching basic Humanist life skills.
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A Humanist Approach to Education
Humanists are very active in education. When the religious right complains about the Humanist influence in public education, they aren’t just spouting off meaningless rhetoric. Humanists have had a huge influence on public education. Much of what we consider to be basic principles of a good education nowadays come from Humanist educators and psychologists. People like Piaget, Maslow and Carl Rogers.
A Humanistic approach to education involves understanding what the child needs to learn and how to facilitate their natural learning instincts. It embraces human nature and encourages a child to explore, flourish and question. Our goal is to raise well-rounded, ethical, compassionate adults. We don’t just want workers for a factory or someone who can memorize lines. We want our kids to learn how to think for themselves and to be actively and joyously engage in the world.
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God and the GOP
At the moment, the Republican Party proposal to fix our economy is to prevent women from having an abortion, or any access to reproductive medical care. Apparently they think the reason our economy is suffering is because their god is mad at us. To fix the problem, they seek to appease their god, giving Him what they think He wants.
I am a Humanist. I have no idea if there is a god or not, though I suspect not. However, this apparently prevalent belief about how God plays politics is upsetting to me. Here’s why.
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The Language of Agnosticism
I was asked a couple of weeks ago how to talk about a secular/non-religious viewpoint, or even an outright atheist viewpoint while not turning off your listener, who may be a person of faith. Again, as I have a fan base that consists of humanistic people of faith, I’d like to offer some advice from my own experience.
I am a Humanist, which means when I talk to people, I’m not talking to them about atheism. What I am talking about almost exclusively is how approaching life humanistically will benefit people in the here and now.
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Witnessing vs. Proselytizing
There is a lot of discussion within the larger freethought/skeptic/atheist/humanist community about approach. How do we approach and deal with people who disagree with us about something as fundamental as our basic worldview without denying our own viewpoint.
What I hear from people who want to do Freethought or Humanist outreach, but who don’t want to compromise their non-belief is how to talk to people of faith to help them understand our approach without pissing them off. Granted, there are some in our movement who are happy to piss people off, but those of us who want to be understood, understand pissing people off isn’t conducive to real dialog.
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Thinking about Romney’s Tax Returns
It is the end of August and Romney won’t release his tax returns prior to 2010. It has become a bit of an issue. I have to admit that when this first surfaced I thought this story wouldn’t have legs. I thought he would fuss about it for a few weeks then release 6 years of his returns. He hasn’t and he and his wife appear to be digging themselves in.
This is a legitimate issue and it doesn’t speak well of the man that he doesn’t want to share his returns. Let me explain why.
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