More than two years after The New Humanism conference at Harvard and coinciding with the release of Humanist chaplain Greg Epstein‘s new book, Good Without God, the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University is putting out a new online magazine:
The New Humanism is an online magazine meant to explore and help pioneer new ways of bringing Humanists, atheists, agnostics and the nonreligious together to build a movement that can make a lasting and far-reaching positive impact. In short, we are interested in anything that is good, without God.
I love the concept, though I’m not yet convinced it’s a mindset that a lot of atheists will want to adopt.
A look at a few of the articles and I feel like they’re just setting themselves up for a backlash from the more vocal non-theists:
Since June, we’ve met about twice a month on Saturday mornings at the Harvard Science Center. After introductions and personal check-ins, we meditate for about half an hour, and then talk about what the experience was like, and what we think about it.
We’re walking a fine line here, trying to appropriate practices associated with religions without buying into their discredited metaphysics or otherwise losing our secular bearings. We welcome debate about how to separate the wheat from the chaff — what we should and shouldn’t make use of as Humanists.
Many of the organizations that represent nonbelievers use words like “reason” or “rational” in their titles. That serves us well as a counterpoint to “faith.” However, as some dictionary definitions equate reason with logic, one might gain the impression that we reject emotions as well. In fact, feelings are essential to human flourishing and optimal decision-making. Emotions, especially joy, have a place in Humanism.
A little too touchy-feely? For me, yes.
It’s not all flowers and rainbows, though. The articles are interesting and I’d like to see this magazine continue even after Greg’s book is an afterthought.
I wonder if it would be more effective as an actual print publication — a quarterly or annual magazine that could be sent to Humanist (and student) groups around the country for a very low cost. The articles don’t quite function as blog postings, but they are exactly the type of reading you want to share with people who are making the transition into atheism.
(Thanks to Jonathan for the link!)