Pilgrimage – Humanist Style
Who doesn’t like a good pilgrimage, but if you are a Humanist, where should you go?
There are a few Humanist Halls – here and there, like the Conway Hall in England or the Humanist Hall in San Francisco. But when you think of buildings and things that Humanists like or consider making a pilgrimage to, you are going to be thinking primarily about libraries. These are places where human knowledge is stored and we find them irresistible. Architecture is married to knowledge. I don’t think there are many Humanists who would not consider a pilgrimage to the Library at Alexandria to be anything less that – a form of Humanist pilgrimage. That being the library of libraries.
We are also hugely fond of museums for the same reason. So – the British Museum is high on the list of places that as a Humanist – I consider rather “holy” because it houses the Rosetta Stone. My son is only 9 and his two favorite places to go, since he was about 2 – are the local museum and the libraries. He’s kind of really obsessed with both – they are places where you learn things – and that’s really cool to him.
However, back to the subject of monuments & buildings, there are other buildings and places we think are important and that tie more directly into our values and philosophy.
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Do Humanists have a “text?”
(This question was asked of me by a couple of seminary students doing a report on Humanism and by someone over at Quora). Here are my combined responses.
There are no "key" texts or authors. Humanism arises in every culture and in every time.
A great site to get started on the international and historical nature of Humanist thought is Humanistic Texts
The reason this site is called Humanistic texts is that the term Humanism wasn’t coined to describe this philosophy that’s always been around until the early 1900s. So, we can look back at different philosophies and say – they were Humanistic, but because the term was not applied to those philosophies at the time (because the term didn’t exist), it would be intellectually dishonest to say they were Humanist in the modern sense, even if it is clear, they were pretty darned humanistic.
That gives you the historical texts; now let’s look to the modern texts.
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Comparing Apples to Melons To Cherries
The stupidity of Standardized Testing in America
Testing is big business. Every time you change the test, which is happening yearly in Florida now, you change the curricula (which now supersedes the state curricula). Here’s why. Every time you change the test, you are now testing against a specific curricula and a specific set of text books. If you don’t have the correct books for the test, you probably won’t pass the test.
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Are only the rich allowed to be altruistic?
Why we need to professionalize Humanist Activism
Someone complained to me the other day that I had the audacity to charge for an online bullying course. They said I was making money off of other people’s suffering. It’s apparently ok that I sell a book, and if I wanted to create a business selling t-shirts – that’s ok to. But if you have something that can actually change people’s lives, selling it isn’t ok. If it’s good and important and available online, it should be free. And that’s a lovely idea. The problem is that I live in the real world and in the real world, I can’t dedicate my life to helping others if I can’t afford to feed my family and provide shelter and basic necessities. It would be nice to make money – any money for a change.
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The 4 C’s of Humanism
Critical Thinking, Compassion, Courage, Commitment
Defining Humanism is such a difficult thing to do. There is no easy way to say – this is what Humanism is and have that be the end of it. It is a life philosophy. It is vibrant and full of nuance, and that’s why it works so well.
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Why I do Humanist Outreach
Humanism is important. People need to know that they have an alternative. And no, just promoting atheism isn’t enough.
I do what I do because I think Humanism is important. I think it can help not only transform the world, but that it can transform people’s lives And not in a pie in the sky kumbayah sort of way, but in very practical pragmatic ways.
Humanism is a philosophy of life. It is an approach. That’s all it is. It is a way of choosing to see the world and an active reminder to ourselves that we should and can be better. Are the assumptions Humanists make about the ultimate nature of reality true? Honestly, it doesn’t even matter. Our focus is to every day try to improve ourselves and who we are with what we have to work with here and now. And we choose this approach because quite honestly, there aren’t any other good alternatives.
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Humanism in Marriage
How do Humanists approach the important business of being married?
I can’t speak for all Humanists, I can only speak for me and my spouse, who is also a self-professed Humanist. We approach our marriage realistically. It is about love, but it is also a pragmatic partnership. I don’t expect my husband to be a super hero, perfect all the time. My real hope is that he will tolerate my weirdness and quirks and occasional ill-temper well enough to stick with me through thick and thin. Because I really do like him.
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