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Re: Dundee on Humanism

From: Zachary B.
Sent on: Tuesday, April 24, 2007 1:23 PM
Dear Amanda:

I take your point, but there are those of us who suspect that any community 
organized around "questions of ultimate concern" (i.e. the meaning of life, 
morals, etc) rather than more pragmatic issues (e.g., economic welfare; 
professional affiliation; geographic proximity, neighborhoods) will 
inevitably enable top-down dogmatism. The old congregational model seems to 
make sense to me, where the "church" actually functioned more as a townhall 
and meetinghouse than a location of worship.  The Orange Books of Humanism 
International focus so much on societal change that there is scant attention 
to the absence of community ties that religion provides but that humanism 
has so far failed to deliver. Kurtz's Secular Humanism is likewise a 
cultural movement, rather than an implementable model for bringing people 
together. Look, I've gone from one topic to another rather quickly. Here's 
my point: there are strong moral reasons not to promote the establishment of 
communities that resemble the religious model, regardless of taste. There 
are likewise strong moral reasons to establish communal institutions that 
fill the same social niche as local religion once did. With my understanding 
of its various incarnations, I do not see how Humanism will sidestep the 
first problem or provide a solution to the second.

-Zachary

YOU WROTE
The point I made is that whatever we think of the issue of religious as 
opposed to secular humanism we can work together in coalitions and continue 
to work out these issues.

The second point I made was that we all agreed that we wanted to build a 
humanist community.  The degree to which the trappings of that community 
involved things that felt similar to religion was a matter of taste.  We 
should all go out and build humanist communities that suit our different 
tastes.

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