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Secular Ethics: Empathy

Hey everyone,

In May we will be talking about Empathy. We will be reviewing a lot of what we spoke on in February's Altruism chat, but we will be focussing on empathy specifically.

the readings to go over again are de Waal's "Age of Empathy," Sam Harris's "Moral Landscape," and Keltner's "Born to be Good."

Humanism is much more than mere Atheism, it is a robust communitarian social philosophy for which the question of the existence of the supernatural is frankly irrelevant. Our moral commitments to one another would be unchanged regardless of a god's existence.

Rather than just asserting ourselves as Atheists, it is time to cultivate our own field and concentrate on what we do believe in. This will be the start of a new monthly series that we are going to turn into a book.

The American Humanist Association, for which we have been a chapter of for 40 years, has come out with some wonderful values positions for children. They are called the 10 commitments. Yet, we find that with a little tweaking, the 10 commitments are great points of discussion for adults.

Each month we will get announce a set of readings, together for a lecture on the stated topic, workshop over a series of questions, and then inevitably turn our dialogue into a book on workable Humanist Ethics for the American Humanist Association.

January: Overview of topics and methods

February: Altruism

March: Environmental Stewardship

April: Critical Thinking

May: Empathy

June: Ethical Development

July: Global Awareness

August: Human Rights

September: Peace & Social Justice

October: Responsibility

November: Service & Participation

And in December we will review what we have worked on over the course of the year.


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  • Nicole I.

    Where do you find the announced set of readings? I was thinking of checking this event out, but I'd like to be prepared. I just googled "ten commitments" and found this as the second result:

    It reminded of why I'm looking for a non-theist community.

    April 29, 2013

    • Jason F.

      The 10 Commitments are a thing introduced by the American Humanist Association-and we have a great time discussing them. I look forward to seeing you.

      April 29, 2013

    • Nicole I.

      Thank you Jason. I do not believe I will be able to pull off the readings in a few days. Is it cool if I come anyway? If not, can I get next month's readings?

      April 29, 2013

2 went

  • Jason F.
    Humanist Celebrant, Humanist Association President, Organizer,
    Event Host

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