Students, alumni, and friends in the New Jersey area!

Make sure not to miss Susan Jacoby, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of The Age of American Unreason and Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, who will be speaking with The Red Bank Humanists on January 11th.

The title of Jacoby’s talk is “The Secular Conscience.”   Further details concerning time and location are in the flier below!

Jacoby Flier

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  1. Henry James Halm says:

    I have yet to met even one humanist/atheist that does not believe in something spiritual. No human being on earth just wants to die and feed the worms. Our gigantic animal ego requires us to believe we are special and so eternal and life means ‘something ethereal’. If we live, eat, s–t, bred and just die than we are no different than a worm, which no human being can/will ever accept.
    And sadly many of those that call themselves atheists or humanists feel they have the animalistic right to commit the same kind of atrocities religious folk believe they are obligated to do/have a right to do, to serve their particular god/father/creator, et al. A true atheist/humanist would not reproduce because they would not want another to suffer and just die for no real purpose. You only justify reproducing because you want you kids to be rewarded for their suffering with the reward of some type of eternal reward.

    • hcru says:

      Mr. Halm’s comments are probably motivated by good will but they contain some common mistakes about humanism/atheism that must be corrected. The truth is that humanists/atheists can see life itself as rich, intriguing and filled with purpose so they find no need to conjecture about gods and the afterlife. I hope everyone who reads this can spread the correct message about this.

      First of all, humans may have the same bodily functions as simpler organisms, but this is not something to dismiss. If considered properly, those functions are amazing characteristics of life that we share. Beyond that, science is showing us interesting ways in which we are very much like other social animals, such as in awareness of self and others and in an innate sense of fairness and morality. But humans are also special and unique. For example, we can talk about our past and the past of our planet, can imagine the distant future and think of ways to create it, can be inspired by heroes and heroines, can see suffering and collectively try to overcome it, find beauty in art and nature, understand our connection to the stars.

      None of this requires us to become ‘spiritual’ or ‘ethereal’ or to covet eternal life. The adventure of a single lifetime can occupy our total concern. There is beauty in a flower, though its existence, from bloom to decay, is brief. I think most humanists would say that the briefness of life adds to its preciousness. We can be sad to die, to witness death, but that tells us we must make the most of life. In fact, to me, mortality, though sad, is a comfort, not a catastrophe.

      It’s true humanists/atheists aren’t immune from behaving badly. So we realize we must vigilantly promote the wellbeing of all if we are to have it for ourselves. And we know, though we may not be alive to witness them, our actions have future consequences. That is enough to give us purpose and morality. Humanist documents state this clearly.

      Finally, the question of having children is a moral issue for all caring people, regardless of background. It is beyond doubt that the children one has will experience grief, disappointment and pain. To me, neither the possibility of reward in eternity nor, on the other hand, the final annihilation of consciousness seems a good exchange for that. I think that some may legitimately consider giving the gift of a single life-time, with all of its rewards and challenges, the right choice for them. Others may choose not to have children or to adopt those already born. As with many issues, there is no single right answer.

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