Tag Archives: Humanism

“The Truth About Mindfulness: Conversations in Secular Spirituality” with Robert Wright – March 3rd

Mindfulness meditation has become popular in the west as an essentially therapeutic technique that promises to reduce stress and increase happiness. But the Buddhist philosophy that was the ancient context of mindfulness meditation makes bolder promises: It sees meditation as an important part of a larger program that strips away delusions about the world and can even bring “enlightenment”.

This claim – that mindfulness meditation brings a truer vision of the world – suggests that any happiness it fosters might be a “valid” happiness in the sense of being based on accurate perceptions of the world. Modern psychology – particularly evolutionary psychology – offers some support for that view. 

Friday, March 3, 6:30 PM
Douglass Student Center, Meeting Room C (2nd floor)
100 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Please RSVP on Our Facebook Event Page


Image result for robert wrightROBERT WRIGHT is the author, most recently, of The Evolution of God, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The Moral Animal, which The New York Times Book Review named one of the ten best books of 1994, and Nonzero, which Bill Clinton called “astonishing” and instructed White House staff members to read. In 2009 Wright was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. Wright has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and his awards include the National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism. Wright has taught in the religion department at Princeton and the psychology department at Penn.

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nikki sternNikki Stern, author of “Hope in Small Doses,” comes to Rutgers on Tuesday, January 28 to optimistically kick off the Spring semester in an event sponsored by the Humanist Chaplaincy and cosponsored by the Rutgers Integral Spiritual Network.

The talk will take place at 7:30pm in Demarest Educational Building (not the dorm), which is behind the Second Reformed Church, 100 College Avenue, second floor Gym.  The entrance is on Mine Street at the back of the Rutgers Fed. Credit Union Parking Lot. Free parking for visitors is available in lots 26 (closest), 30 and the College Ave. Parking Deck.

Stern will describe how family history and personal experience, including her husband’s death on 9/11, have led her to search for a practical definition of ‘Hope.’

As a skeptic, neither (more…)

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American Atheist’s Dave Muscato at Rutgers November 21 to
Rally Support for Court Battles That Seek To Separate Religion from Government

daveAmerican Atheists Public Relations Director Dave Muscato will urge students and others to move From Slactivism to Activism: Turning Atheists into Activists” in a talk Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 7:30pm. The event will take place in the Red Lion Café, Rutgers Student Center, Lower Level, on the College Avenue campus.

Front and center will be a discussion of three cases that American Atheists are currently pursuing in the courts.  American Atheists v IRS seeks the elimination of favoritism toward religious institutions as opposed to other non-profits in national tax policies.  American Atheists v Kentucky seeks to remove language stating reliance on ‘Almighty God’ from the training and educational materials  and from public plaques of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.  American Atheists v Port Authority seeks to disallow solo placement of a Christian Cross at the 9/11 Memorial.

Muscato is a former Christian praise and worship musician who became an atheist activist in 2009.  His projects have appeared in Rolling Stone, People, Time, The New York Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, and on MTV News, NPR, MSNBC, Kevin & Bean/KROQ in LA, and Howard Stern.

Free parking for campus visitors is available in Lot 26 (Entrance on Bartlett St), Lot 30 (Sicard St.) and the College Ave. Parking Deck

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Barry Klassel
Humanist Chaplain at Rutgers University

It’s almost midnight.  Two friends in their twenties walk down the beach toward the water.  Behind them, the lights of the city glow in the distance.

Earlier in the day the two attended the funeral of a third friend.  His family seemed devastated, but one by one various speakers did their best to talk about the life of the deceased and his last days in pain as they tried to deal with the difficulty of accepting his death.

The two friends sit silently on the sand.   (more…)

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By David Madison
PhD., Biblical Studies

Two Weddings

David and David, 1992

The message on our placard was straightforward: “It’s Not Complicated: I Want to Marry the Man I Love. Case Closed.” My husband and I carried that sign for many years in the New York Gay Pride Parades—long before we had legal married status.

A few months after our 30th living-together anniversary, we were finally married in California in 2008. A few weeks later, voters passed the mean-spirited Proposition 8, which halted marriage equality in that state. A court subsequently ruled that the 18,000 same-sex marriages that had been performed were not nullified by the vote. We breathed an enormous sigh of relief. It had been a wonderful wedding on a riverboat in the Sacramento River, with our daughter Deb Sweeney co-officiating, a…

This post has been republished
here on our new blog Applied Sentience.

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By Conor Robinson
Director, Pathfinders Project

Are you interested in travel, service, Humanist leadership and community-building?

Then consider applying to Pathfinders Project, a yearlong international service trip with clean water, education, sustainability, and advocacy projects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The trip is sponsored by Foundation Beyond Belief, a non-profit organization created to focus, encourage, and demonstrate the generosity and compassion of secular humanists.

Aims of the Program

Pathfinders Project has three primary aims

  • To provide humanitarian service and address specific regional needs in the respective countries visited,
  • To foster dialogue across religious, cultural, and ethnic boundaries, and
  • To evaluate and compare countries and partner organizations for consideration as the launch site of the Humanist Service Corps as an ongoing program of Foundation Beyond Belief. (more…)
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The past few weeks have seen a huge increase in visibility of Humanist Chaplaincies, and Humanism in general.  Here’s some links to recent highlights:

  • In a recent post on the CNN Belief Blog, Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, was featured as a voice for building bridges and focusing on community during the holiday season; a counterpoint to more aggressive tactics in the atheist movement.
  • Boston’s NPR News Station (more…)
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By Barry Klassel
Humanist Chaplain at Rutgers University 

The school killings on December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, brought representatives of various belief traditions together for a Memorial Service in a Somerset County (NJ) Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) a week later.

I went to express compassion for the survivors and to share some humanist thoughts.  The event was sponsored by the Somerset County Cultural Diversity Coalition.  The following is from a short few words I was able to offer while there.

The Human Community

Good evening.  I’m an atheist and a humanist.  You probably don’t have many people like me here with your group so thank you for inviting me to speak to you good people.

Joyful events bring good people together, like (more…)

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If you didn’t make it to the David Niose talk you missed out.  But you don’t need to miss out on a good summary of the discussion.

The Rutgers Targum, the University’s oldest newspaper, published a piece about the event on September 19th.

Check out the article in the link above.

In the talk David Niose discussed (more…)

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What do you think about the Democratic National Convention taking out and then putting back “GOD” in their Platform??

Do you think it should be taken out of the Dem Platform??  Is it harmful or inappropriate to stay in??  Are there pragmatic concerns that it should remain there… for now??  Or does it not really matter?


On the one hand, there are concerns about who represents atheists, and non-theists in general.  And further, are they being explicitly marginalized?

The re-assertion of “In God We Trust” as the national motto by the House of Representatives in Nov 2011 seems to imply that if you’re an atheist, then you aren’t part of the “WE”.

Does this reaffirmation of God in the Dem Platform now explicitly marginalize or exclude atheists?

On the other hand, are there any pragmatic arguments as to keeping it?  For instance, it’s merely an empty symbol or all things in their time.  If the Democrats kept it out they would lose too many voters and Romney would win.  If so, defeating Romney now might be worth keeping a merely symbolic reference for a while longer.

So does the use of a single scribble on paper really matter that much if their policies aren’t theocratic? and the losses it might spur if kept be too big?


So what are your thoughts?? Was the move harmful and marginalizing?  Or a necessary bit of pragmatism?

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By Lonna Murphy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology,
Passaic County Community College

I was a secular humanist for years before I was a psychologist. That’s why when I was in college and graduate school my ears perked up the few times that religion, or lack thereof, came up in academic discussions about various psychological phenomena.

The two findings that always stuck in my mind are that people who have strong religious beliefs are also more psychologically healthy, and that having strong religious beliefs is the second highest predictor of death among older adults (physical health is the number one predictor).

As someone with no religious beliefs, I took this quite personally. No one wants to hear in a classroom or read in a textbook that they are at risk for mental illness or an early death. Thank goodness that a large part of training in the psychological sciences involves (more…)

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By Jimmy Palmer
President of RU Secular Humanists
RU School of Engineering Sophomore

Secular Humanists have a place at the table when Atheists are discussing their having certain values. This has started up on FreeThoughtBlogs (FTB) and has gotten dissent from other online Atheist personalities. I take what they say with a grain of salt in fields that are not of their training (while I’m not claiming to be an expert). They may have good natured ideas but whether or not these ideas are applicable is what concerns me.

Atheism plus logoA good example is the concept of Atheism+ (pronounced like ‘Atheism Plus’) which is a part of the Atheist values arguments that have gone on.

This first came to my attention when a man aliased as IntegralMath posted a video on YouTube exclaiming (more…)

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At the root of our NATURE (whatever that means) are we GOOD (whatever that means)?  Or are we EVIL (whatever that means)??

When looking at events like the Holocaust or the Bosnian Genocide or countless other atrocities, can we conclude that our basically self-interested and evil tendencies are held back only by a few thin threads?

Or is it that deep down we are ultimately good??  That we have some fundamentally innate tendency towards compassion?  Even if it is within (more…)

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