Humanism In the Light

Natasha Vita-More (
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 19:16:28 -0600

Today, in the news was reference to humanism and a current change in direction for a segment of humanists who favor bringing religion into the philosophy of humanism.

These changes are stemming from what is referred to as a "younger generation" who have adopted an affiliation with religion and who are now moving away from atheism, skepticism, etc. This about-face turn is directed toward what is known as "religious humanism." This fraction of humanists recognize God as the creator and follow biblical teachings.

Those now affiliated with religious humanism are breakaways of orthodox Catholics, Episcopalians, Anglicans and Unitarians, as well as those who have had no former religious commitment. Apparently, the Pope recognizes religious humanism, with a few qualifiers. Pope sees problems with science and/or philosophy when these domains of study are used to seek an
"ultimate" truth.

"All humanists believe in the dignity of human begins," says William
Franklin, dean of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University. "The difference is religious humanists believe that dignity comes from having a relationship with God."

This type of watering down of belief systems has pros and cons. While I rather like the idea of those who had had devote religious belief systems branching out toward humanism to incorporate a bit of skepticism in their thinking, I wonder if this particular group of humanists is using the word humanism inappropriately and in a way that is damaging to the historical significance of humanism.

I also wonder if this media-attention-getting-religious-group is part and parcel of Hollywood's religious few's new found flirtation with bring religion into television and film.

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