segunda-feira, 9 de abril de 2007

Paul Kurtz: «The Old New Humanism»

«It is intriguing to note that Greg Epstein (Humanist Chaplain at Harvard) is about to launch “The New Humanism,” which he hopes will bring together the disparate elements of humanism in America. Humanist organizations in the United States are pluralistic, perhaps reflecting the competitive character of the culture, with contending factions arranged on different sides of every question—though no doubt with some shared values.
On the scene today in the United States there are wide differences among humanists that cannot be easily papered over. On the one side are the outspoken atheists who take the attack on God and religion as their primary agenda, and on the other side are those who consider themselves to be “religious humanists,” chortling loud hosannas in praise of “religiosity” and “spirituality,” though no doubt in naturalized form.
At the center of the spectrum are secular humanists, who do not avowedly identify as atheists per se. Although highly skeptical of God talk, they wish to submit religious claims to scientific examination. They deny that humanism is a religion, though they are not anti-religious per se. They wish to emphasize the affirmative aspects of naturalism and humanism, and they seek to provide ethical alternatives to the reigning religious orthodoxies and to defend democratic secular society from religious incursion.


Greg Epstein is himself apparently a religious humanist. Ordained as a rabbi by the Society for Secular Humanist Judaism, he wishes to form a consensus out of the discordant viewpoints among the humanists. No doubt a commendable goal. He has coined a new term, The New Humanism, which is offered to develop a more inclusive, nonconfrontational humanism—a bold move indeed!
Greg Epstein is to be applauded for his ecumenical efforts, and the thirtieth anniversary of the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy, formerly under Tom Ferrick, deserves recognition. But does he mean to return to “The New Humanism” already proclaimed by Harvard’s Babbitt, or should he call his “The New New Humanism?”
(Paul Kurtz; recebido por correio electrónico do Council for Secular Humanism.)

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