Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss and share! The below books and discussion questions are suggestions for ages 7-9 in helping to begin recognizing the worth…

Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

Determining What is Right and Solving Conflicts.  Continued… Assignments:   Any of the discussion questions can serve as a writing prompt. Additional assignments include: Twain’s criticism…

Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

Determining What is Right and Solving Conflicts This ethics lesson plan is adopted from BrainPoP and is adaptable for grades 3-12.  Children explore the basics…

Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

Diversity and Bullying Lesson: Respect Popcorn Party Education World -Connecting educators to what works Brief Description:  Reinforce respect by celebrating examples of it in your home…

Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

Bullying and Diversity Lesson:  What’s Your Name? Education world -Connecting educators to what works! Brief Description:  Children play a variation of Simon Says that highlights their…

Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

Values Jar Character Counts, Josephson Institute Overview:  Children learn to be more conscious of their day-to-day behavior when family, teachers, or elders formally recognize those…

Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

At the Core Project Wisdom Key ideas:  Making choices is easier when you know what your values are -determining one’s core ethical values. Character traits:…

Recognizing Others’ Rights and Worth

Table of Contents:  Lesson Plans The Golden Rule:  Do Unto Others At the Core Values Jar Lessons and Activities for Teaching Respect Bullying and Diversity…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Movies that Teach! From the online resource:  Teach with Movies       This is American Charlie Brown:  The Smithsonian and the Presidency.  The Peanuts…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss, and share! The below books are suggestions for ages 7-9 for beginning to understand the use of the democratic process…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Activity 6:  Back to the Playground Students have looked at speech not intended to harm anyone (the student newspaper) that was not protected.  They have…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Activity 5:  Can You Not Say That? In this lesson, the children will consider two related cases, the Gobitis case and the Barnette case, each…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Activity 3:  But Speech is Protected Undoubtedly, some of the brainstormed suggestions in Activity 2 represented an attempt to limit speech (e.g. “You’re not allowed…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Activity 2:  Banning Speech on the Playground? Discuss problems on the school playground. (If more appropriate substitute a discussion of problems that occur in the…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Lesson Activities Activity 1: Names Can Hurt Me Activity 2: Banning Speech on the Playground? Activity 3: But Speech is Protected Activity 4: Can You…

Discovering the Democratic Process

The First Amendment:  What’s Fair in a Free Country? National Endowment of the Humanities EDSITEment!  Introduction Young people have a profound sense of the importance…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Activity Working in groups of four, draw a picture for each of the five purposes found in the Preamble.  Make sure you don’t use the…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Problem Solving Let’s examine the basic ideas in the Preamble to see how important they are to all of us.  To do this, your children…

Discovering the Democratic Process

What basic ideas are in the Preamble to the Constitution? Lesson Plans by Center for Civic Education NOTES ON TEACHING THIS LESSON Purpose of the…

Discovering the Democratic Process

NOTES FOR TEACHING THIS LESSON What basic ideas are in the Preamble to the Constitution? Lesson Overview This lesson explores some ideas in the Preamble…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Problems to Solve In this exercise, children apply what they learned about the benefits and costs of using authority to resolve a problem.  Read the…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Thinking Critically “Problems to Solve” In this exercise, children apply what they learned about authority, power without authority, and the sources of authority. Have children…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Materials Needed The lesson Drawing paper and crayons Benefits and Costs chart Authority for Leaders chart Introducing the Lesson Have children look at the following…

Discovering the Democratic Process

NOTES ON TEACHING THE LESSON What is Authority Introduction Authority touches the lives of everyone in society.  It affects parents, teachers, students, judges, legislators, and…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Why should we know how to choose people to be leaders? When Beth and her friends play, they choose leaders.  All the children picked Sam…

Discovering the Democratic Process

What are the costs of authority Authority can also cause problems.  We call these costs.  A cost is what we give up.  These are some…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Problems to Solve Look at each of these problems. Say if the person is using authority Say if the person is using power without authority.…

Discovering the Democratic Process

What is authority?   Lesson plans by the Center for Civic Education What you will learn in this lesson In this lesson, children will learn about…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Table of Contents:  Lesson Plans What is authority? Problems to Solve What are the costs of authority? Why should we know how to choose people…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Ages 7-9 The objective of these lesson plans along with suggested books and movies is for children to begin to understand the use of the…

Discovering the Democratic Process

Problem to solve All people with authority have limits on what they can do.  Can you describe a limit for each of the following: parent…

The Crucible

Post-Viewing Enrichment Worksheet The following Enrichment Worksheet will give students valuable information and is suitable to distribute after they see the film, either before or…

The Crucible

Pre-Viewing Enrichment Worksheet Enrichment Worksheets are a TWM innovation containing text and questions designed to get students thinking. Questions are focused on comprehension, application, analysis,…

Twelve Years a Slave Background

Additional Helpful Background ESSAY ON THE HISTORICAL ACCURACY OF THE MOVIE 12 YEARS A SLAVE The book, Twelve Years a Slave, is a traditional American slave narrative…

Twelve Years a Slave Worksheet

FILM STUDY WORKSHEET – FOR THE MOVIE 12 YEARS A SLAVE  A WORK OF HISTORICAL FICTION If you haven’t seen the movie already, read the questions…

Decision-making

Being Assertive – Answer Key Your friend tells you to “shut up” during an argument. I don’t like it when you speak to me that…

Decision-making

Being Assertive Your friend tells you to “shut up” during an argument   You want to tell your best friend that you are gay  …

Decision-making

Types of Communication Assertive Stand up for their rights without denying other people theirs Respect themselves as well as others Ask for what they want…

Decision-making

An Important Decision: Handout Use what you have learned about the decision-making model.  List and explain the steps that Matt used to make his decision.…

Decision-making

Talking About Sex Set Limits Think about how far you want to go and set your own limits.  Don’t do anything you don’t want to…

Decision-making

A Model for Decision Making: Handout A decision-making model can provide information that guides important choices.  Read about the decision Cody has to make, and…

Decision-making

A Model for Decision-Making Define the problem Generate at least three options Analyze the consequences Make the choice Reflect on the decision  

Acknowledging Responsibility for One’s Actions

Decision-Making: Sexuality Teaching Sexual Health Outcomes: Examine the relationship between commitment and intimacy in all its levels Identify expectations and commitments in various relationships Examine…

Lesson 5 parent/teacher notes

Parent/Teacher Notes Preparation and planning Review the PowerPoint slides and tailor them to suit your teaching and class ability. Photocopy worksheet 14 and cut out…

Developing a System of Ethics Towards Others

Self-Control and Self-Motivation Character Education:  Self-Discipline Purpose:  The learners will investigate the importance of self-control and self-motivation by analyzing examples of self-discipline. Objectives: The learner…

Developing a System of Ethics Towards Others

Benjamin Franklin’s Wisdom Character Education:  Self-Discipline Purpose:  In this lesson, the learners express their point of view related to the quotation about self-discipline.  They learn…

Developing a System of Ethics Towards Others

Skills and Attitudes Character Education:  Self-Discipline Purpose:  In this lesson, the learners will become familiar with vocabulary and concepts associated with self-discipline.  They will examine…

Developing a System of Ethics Towards Others

Experimenting with Self-Discipline Character Education:  Self-Discipline Purpose:  Kids experience an opportunity to practice self-discipline, and they compare and contrast discipline and self-discipline. Objectives:   The…

Developing a System of Ethics Toward Others

Activities Table of Contents Experimenting with Self-Discipline Benjamin Franklin’s Wisdom Self-Control and Self-Motivation Go For The Goal Celebrate the Constitution:  Freedoms A Game of Honesty…

Identifying Ethical Behaviors in Others

Movies that teach values! From the online resource:  Teach with Movies     Friendship, courage, self-esteem, disabilities, responsibility, respect and caring.  Happy Feet is an entertaining…

Identifying Ethical Behavior in Others

Movies that teach values! From the online resource:  Teach with Movies       Friendship, courage, self-esteem, disabilities, responsibility, respect, and caring.  Happy Feet is an…

Identifying Ethical Behaviors in Others

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss, and share! The below books and discussion questions are suggestions for ages 5-7 in helping to learn about the dignity,…

Identifying Ethical Behavior in Others

The Power of Words Wilton Manors Elementary School Overview:  The children’s classic The Ugly Duckling is an excellent read-aloud to prompt discussions on caring, empathy, tolerance, and…

Identifying Ethical Behavior in Others

Social Skills Role Playing Lawrenceville Elementary School Overview:  This lesson can be taught either collaboratively, or solely by a parent or classroom teacher.  Begin by…

Identifying Ethical Behaviors in Others

Diversity Similar and Different Objectives Children will learn that we are all as similar as we are different Children will build community by discovering their…

Identifying Ethical Behavior in Others

Settling Problems (conflict resolution) Talk it Out Together by TeacherVision (adaptation) Objectives Learn the “Talk it Out Together” method of solving conflicts. Practice this conflict-solving process.…

Identifying Ethical Behaviors in Others

A Storm is Brewing: Feeling Angry!  Continued… Focused Activity Overview:  First read When Sophie Gets Angry.  The book contains vivid descriptions of Sophie’s anger as well as…

Identifying Ethical Behavior in Others

The Storm is Brewing: Feeling Angry! Adapted from:  Peace First Lesson Plan Peacemaker Skills Purpose:  To identify and understand feelings of anger, as well as…

Identifying Ethical Behavior in Others

Table of Contents:  Lesson Plans The Storm is Brewing:  Feeling Angry! Settling Problems (conflict resolution) Diversity Social Skills Role Playing The Power of Words  

Discovering Others

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss and share! The below books and discussion questions are suggestions for ages 3-4 in helping to discover who are family,…

Discovering Others

Unfamiliar People Getting to Know You Objective: foster familiarity with people different from us understanding causal relations stimulate sensory pleasure tactile and visual exploration Education…

Discovering Others

Being Special to Someone Else Have a discussion about friends.  What is a friend?  How do you become a friend to someone?  How do you…

Discovering Others

Helping and Working with Others by Scholastic The focus of this lesson is to reinforce the concept of working together through teamwork by encouraging participation…

Discovering Others

Sharing Teach Preschoolers to Share With This Stone Soup Activity, by Keren Perles and edited by Amanda Grove Goals and Objectives:  After completing this lesson…

Discovering Others

Sharing The lesson plan was adapted from an “Early Childhood Wining Ideas Contest:  Top Ideas for Sharing in the Classroom” Scholastic Early Childhood Today, by Kim Stealey…

Discovering Others

Making Friends Perfectly Preschool Craft Activity One:  Friendship Bracelets Materials:  craft bead (large holes), pipe cleaners (cut longer than wrist), and colored masking tape. Have…

Discovering Others

Who are Family? Pre K-Pages:  Inspiration for Early Education by Vanessa Levin.  Vanessa is a passionate advocate for high-quality early childhood education.  On Pre K-Pages she…

Discovering Others

Table of Contents:  Lesson Plans Who are Family? My Family Tree Family Book Paper Doll Family Family Hugs Making Friends Friendship Bracelets Blooming Friendships Friendship…

Discovering Others

Ages 3-4 The objective of these lesson plans along with suggested books are to discover who is family, how does one make friends, what is…

Self to Others

Self to Others involves respect for the worth and dignity of other individuals and their truths demonstrating the use of the democratic process and developing…

Daring to Be Oneself

Movie Night!         The Perks of Being a Wallflower maintains the fine tradition of movies like Running with Scissors and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist in…

Daring to Be Oneself

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss and share! The below books are suggestions to young adults in discovering who they are, what they believe, and how…

Daring to Be Oneself

Who Are you Discussion  Who are you?  What defines who you are?  What is the best thing about being a girl/boy?  How is being a…

Daring to Be Oneself

Self Portraits Self-portraits offer people a creative outlet to express how they view themselves in a non-threatening format. Materials (suggestions) Craft supplies: Pens, pencils, crayons,…

Daring to Be Oneself

The Masks We Wear People often compare themselves to others.  They also wear different masks or put on different faces, depending on the particular norms…

Daring to Be Oneself

Are you Popular, Quirky, or Conformist?  By Holly Epstein Ojalvo  A writer named Alexandra Robbins –who was, she says, a “dork” in high school – believes…

Daring to Be Oneself

Consumer Culture (or what if you don’t have what everyone else has?) Sue grew up in Adelaide in the 1950s and 1960s She lived with…

Daring to Be Oneself

Julia, aged 16, has this to say about BODY IMAGE ‘Those two words have caused much hurt, sadness, and pain among teenagers.  The concept of…

Daring to Be Oneself

What are you led to believe about…? Fashion A recent fashion trend was for girls to wear tops and pants that left a lot of…

Daring to Be Oneself

Self Esteem - Where Does it Come From? Our relationship with our parents has a lot to do with self-esteem.  The way parents encourage, support…

Daring to Be Oneself

Chalk It Up.  Who Am I? Activities were prepared for Australian and New Zealand Schools by Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Objective:  Activities are focused on the…

Daring to Be Oneself

Table of Contents:  Lesson Plans Chalk It Up. Who Am I Self-Esteem–where does it come from? What are you led to believe about…? Julia, aged…

Daring to Be Oneself

Ages 14-18 The objective of these lesson plans along with suggested books and movies are for young adults to discover who they are, what they…

Developing the Freedom to Express Oneself

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss, and share! The below books are suggestions to assist children in learning to express themselves in meaningful and healthy ways.…

Developing the Freedom to Express Oneself

Designing Self-Collages http://www.educationworld.com/ Using pictures, words, or symbols clipped from magazines that represent things family members enjoying doing or own, places they’ve been, people they…

Developing the Freedom to Express Oneself

Capture Yourself: What Makes you Unique “Social network sites, online games, video-sharing sites, and gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones are now fixtures of…

Developing the Freedom to Express Oneself

Journals Based on a lesson plan by Melissa Fortenberry for creating visual journals. http://www.incredibleart.org/ Objective:  Family members will use an art journal format to share…

Identifying with Real Life Experiences

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss, and share! The below books are suggestions in encouraging children to learn how different life experiences can shape and affect…

Identifying with Real Life Experiences

Inspirational Athletes Based on a lesson plan from weebly.com This lesson plan directs family members to awareness of many great success stories from athletes. Purpose: …

Identifying with Real Life Experiences

Believing in your Dreams http://activekidsbooks.com/ Outcomes: Refers to a sense of your own worth and dignity Commits to realizing your full potential Indicators: As a…

Identifying with Real Life Experiences

Hooray for Heros, by Jacqueline Clarke http://www.scholastic.com/ Children hear the word hero used today more than ever.  Yet, what does it mean to be a…

Identifying with Real Life Experiences

Activity One:  Amazing Grace, by Mary Hoffman http://www.character.org/ Overview This lesson uses the story, “Amazing Grace,” to discuss goals, obstacles, and overcoming those obstacles. Lesson Objectives…

Recognizing Self in Story/Myth

Family Movies That Teach Values  http://www.beliefnet.com/  Parents may be shocked by this resource, but we found the reviews of “Family Movies that Teach Values” excellent.  Here’s…

Recognizing Self in Story/Myth

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss, and share! The below books are suggestions in encouraging children to learn about and appreciate their uniqueness as well as…

Recognizing Self in Story/Myth

Positive and Negative Feelings Activity One:  A positive spin.  In this activity family members will learn how to turn negative feelings into positive ones.  Write…

Recognizing Self in Story/Myth

Wanting to better in various ways Activity Two:  Harry Potter Discussion Guide, Josephson Institute, Center for Youth Ethics There’s a lot to learn about character,…

Recognizing Self in Story/Myth

Wanting to be better in Various Ways Activity One:  Character Book, Josephson Institute, Center for Youth Ethics www.josephsoninstitute.org Overview:  In this lesson, kids will learn…

Recognizing Self in Story/Myth

Overcoming Odds Activity One:  Overcoming Odds, By Mari Jill Whittaker  www.teacherlink.edu Read this story with your child or have your child read the story to…

Recognizing Self in Story and Myth

Self-reliance Activity One: The King’s Palace, a traditional story Objective:  To stimulate thinking about the importance of looking after yourself and not always relying on…

Recognizing Self in Story and Myth

Courage Activity One:  “What Are You Afraid of?”, Barbara Gruener (www.elementaryschoolcounseling.org) Courage:  The ability to do something that frightens you; the strength in the face of…

Recognizing Self in Story and Myth

Table of Contents: Lesson Plans Courage Self-Reliance Overcoming Odds Wanting to be better in Various Ways Activity One:  Character book Activity Two:  Harry Potter Discussion…

Recognizing Self in Story and Myth

Ages 7-9 The objective of these lesson plans along with suggested books and movies is to have children learn about and appreciate their uniqueness as…

Identify Self and Family

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss and share! The below books and discussion questions are a suggestion for ages 5-7 encouraging children to learn about different…

Identify Self and Family

Family Beliefs, Traditions and Values Activity One: Family History.  Share with your child stories about your family.  It could be something that has happened with…

Identify Self and Family

The Ways of Family We are Family, by Dolores Choat (www.scholastic.com)    Overview:  Dolores Choat, an elementary school classroom teacher, created these activities as a part…

Identify Self and Family

Table of Contents:  Lesson Plans The Ways of Family Activity One: Animal Clans Activity Two: Family Snapshots Activity Three: Thinking of You Family Beliefs, Traditions,…

Identify Self and Family

Ages 5-7 The objective of these lesson plans along with suggested books is to have children learn about different types of families; their family; and…

Discovering Self

Read anytime, ask questions, discuss and share! The below books and discussion questions are suggestions for ages 3-4 in exploring more about oneself as a…

Discovering Self

Learning how you are unique Activity One Have your child or children look at themselves in a full-length mirror.  Discuss their total appearance and how…

Discovering Self

The Best me I Can Be! Shades Cahaba Elementary School Overview:  At the beginning of the school year (if appropriate setting -adapt as needed), families…

Discovering Self

All About You Learn more about members of your family and/or other children within a classroom Materials: Paper (heavy paper that is durable) Markers Crayons…

Discovering Self

All About Me Cube Bring the family and/or school together in this lesson Materials: White heavy construction paper or poster board paper Marker Cube outline…

Discovering Self

All About Me Graphing Children learn about collecting and displaying data by making graphs about family and/or classmates’ characteristics. Materials:  Large piece of butcher block…

Discovering Self

All About Me Activities “Me” Activities Teaching ideas shared by members at the A to Z Teacher Stuff Forums. Teacher Kasey – Read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and…

Discovering Self

Table of Contents:  Lesson Plans All About Me Activities All About Me Graphing All About Me Cube All About You The Best Me I Can…

Discovering Self

Ages 3 to 4 The objective of these lesson plans along with suggested books is to have children learn about themselves, that they are unique,…

Self to Self

Self to Self involves an individual’s free and disciplined search for personal truth, meaning, and purpose for life.  It involves developing a positive self-concept. We…

About Curriculum Framework

Bringing Humanism Home is a compilation of humanist lesson plans intended for families or communities interested in practicing and exploring humanist values, principles, and beliefs. …

Climate Justice: A Better Future for Us All

Panel discussion with keynote speakers: Bailey Webster, Food Hub Director for the Hmong American Farmers Association Ben Passer, Fresh Energy's Director of Energy Access and…

Climate Justice: A Better Future for Us All

Timothy DenHerder-Thomas is the General Manager of Cooperative Energy Futures, a community energy co-op based in Minneapolis that develops affordable community solar gardens that help…

Climate Justice: A Better Future for Us All

Ben Passer, Fresh Energy's Director of Energy Access and Equity, directs Fresh Energy's work to advance equitable outcomes across Minnesota's energy system, and also supports…

Nourishment of the Heart Side of Humanism

The challenge to develop new symbols for “the heart side” as against merely objective language continues to this day. Abraham Maslow at a U.U.A. General Assembly in…

Nourishment of the Heart Side of Humanism

November, 1928 (Vol. I, No.6) issue of The New Humanist included several hymns by Edwin H. Wilson, including the original publication of “Where is our Holy Church”…

Nourishment of the Heart Side of Humanism

In an article by Edwin H. Wilson* appearing shortly after this in the Meadville Journal  entitled “The Use and Abuse of Words in Developing Religious Experience,” he…

Humanist Literature in Perspective

The uniqueness expressed in literature arises from its concern with feeling.  Not that art is an expression of feeling, but, as Suzanne Langer noted, art…

Humanist Literature in Perspective

In referring to poetry, Jonathan Holden notes that poetic truth is concerned with value, not ontology or epistemology.  The instrument of the poem is human…

The Literature of Humanism

2. SCIENCE LITERATURE.  My long-ago Professor of Soil Science, Professor Fred Hardy, may have been too specific when he asserted that “every educated person should have Arthur…

The Literature of Humanism, John Hoad

In addressing the topic, I first asked myself how I would define it.  Does it mean: Writings by Humanists? Literature suitable for Humanists?  Literature promoting Humanism?…

The History of American Humanism

At the same time that we seek to draw wider circles, and cooperate with persons of goodwill, the various Humanist groups of organized Humanism should…

The History of American Humanism

It is an important question as to how Humanism in its various forms or organization in many nations can assume positions on vital issues.  Are…

The History of American Humanism

There is a long history of attempts by religious. liberals and Humanists to conduct co-operative meetings and publications.  (This would make a useful subject for a student’s…

The History of American Humanism

Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Professor of the History of Religion in the University of Chicago Divinity School stated recently: “There is tension between the things that we…

The History of American Humanism

Who now remembers VanBuren, Hamilton, Altizer or Gabriel Vahanian?  Harvey Cox with his discussion of the Secular City has not been forgotten, but Christian Secularity as…

The History of Humanism

Alfred Loisy, an excommunicated Jesuit scholar, once declared that a definition of religion to be adequate must include all its principal examples including early Buddhism, which was…

The History of American Humanism

The Humanist movement has not yet agreed whether it is a philosophy, a religion, or a way of life.  There was no intent to form another…

Ceremonies of Death

The outline I follow for a memorial service most often begins with prelude music while people are being seated and sometimes a special piece of…

Ceremonies of Death

After date and setting and form are determined, I share with the family my general approach to the content of the service, namely to make…

Ceremonies of Death

Finally, a good memorial service should be unique to the person whose life is being honored.  Just as no two lives are the same, so should…

Ceremonies of Death

Death is also a generator of emotions, very powerful emotions, emotions like anger and guilt and fear and puzzlement and loneliness and relief and a…

Ceremonies of Death, Kenneth W. Phifer

My approach to the ceremonies of death as a Unitarian Universalist minister and Humanist leader grows out of several understandings and affirmations.  The first of these…

Humanism and the Ceremony of Marriage

Marriage is pre-eminently a social convention.  Sex and love, by comparison, are biological and emotional phenomena.  Marriage is society’s effort to co-opt and channel the energies resident…

Humanism and the Ceremony of Marriage

Marriage was perhaps the last formal institution of Western culture to undergo a radical change.  In the postwar era, such change did not begin to…

Celebrations of Humanism

We can look at birthdays of heroes and heroines as times to take note of their contributions to our movement, life in general and as…

Celebrations of Humanism

One holiday of Humanism that I really urge you to put on the calendar is International Women’s Day, March 8.  To me, this is an…

Celebrations of Humanism

In the past couple of years at our First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis we have been working on creating Humanist holidays which in some cases are new…

The Celebration of Humanist Holidays

The following candle lighting ceremony can be adapted to any Humanist celebration.  Quotes may be changed, new ones added, etc., etc.  I call it The Quotable Humanist. …

Holidays of Humanism

January I. New Year’s Day.  The Roman calendar has become the universal secular calendar of all humanity.  In the world of business, science, and professional…

Holidays of Humanism

The second procedure was a natural alternative.  Many Humanist groups, seeking to find a universal calendar that was unattached to any religious tradition, turned to…

Holidays of Humanism, Sherwin Wine

DO HOLIDAYS AND HUMANISM GO TOGETHER? That question has been a troubling challenge for Humanism from the very beginning of its “coming out.”  To many…

Developing a Humanistic Calendar

Dates, when anti-humanistic individuals met a deserved fate, are less likely to be celebrated, but sometimes ought to be remembered.  Often they don’t involve a…

Developing a Humanistic Calendar

Birth and death dates of significant individuals should next be considered.  On the matter of birthdays, one can think of many.  In ancient times there…

Developing a Humanistic Calendar

Humanists, then, will often find the Winter Solstice a time of good cheer, and a way to let their children open all their presents early! Had…

Developing a Humanistic Calendar

The Summer Solstice does not appear to bring with it the same holiday spirit as flows from the Vernal Equinox.  I know of no major religious…

Humanism Today: Volume Two 1986

The Aesthetics of Humanism: Holiday, Ceremonies, History, and Literature Table of Contents Developing a Humanistic Calendar, Frederick Edwords Holidays of Humanism, Sherwin T. Wine The Celebration of…

Response to Peace and the State

Political Reality: It has been shown that militarists and fundamentalists can be very adept at the use of our democratic processes. Are we to let that…

Response to Peace and the State

What has happened is that peacemaking now, by general Christian consensus, encompasses all who deplore nuclear war. That should qualify as a universal truth. I want to…

Response to Peace and the State

Another universal truth that comes through all of this information is the awful “nuclear world view” that has replaced all of our semi-comfortable images of the patriotic…

Response to Peace and the State

My first and most significant discovery was that most of the groundwork for the Christian peace movement came from the Bible. One explanation for the…

Response to Peace and the State

Of such momentum is this new peace movement, that when the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly meeting at Ohio State University two months ago, established a…

Response to Peace and the State

John Bennett, Senior Contributing Editor of Christianity and Crisis, tells about a commission of which he was a member in 1950. Created by the Federal Council of…

Response to Peace and the State

As Humanists, we must deal with pacifism as a reaction to the immoralities of war. To the extent that it is opposed to war or…

Response to Peace and the State

As opposed to this evangelical position, we, as Humanists, do take the position that nuclear war is and will remain morally unacceptable. Today, nothing poses…

Response Peace and the State

This dualism in the definition of the war determines the character of war as either a moral or immoral enterprise. The inherent contradiction in this…

Peace and the State

I want to just offer one last comment. I think peace is possible even in the nation-state form of evolution. I know there are many…

Peace and the State

Secondly, nonviolence, the philosophy and the strategy of nonviolence, which is an infant science, is, at last, making violence itself, if not only war, obsolete.…

Peace and the State

I am also aware that fully half the graduates at Manhattan College School of Engineering, which is a college founded by the Christian Brothers, go…

Peace and the State

The second great point is that all human relationships must be based on the virtue of justice. Peace without justice is a negative and shallow peace, and…

Peace and the State

The fourth great tradition, which again has appeared in many places, really is a renaissance tradition, and it really, I think, is the Humanist tradition.  It…

Peace and the State

The second is that war is a religiously glorious activity. Now, for the first time, it is a war of God. Roman Beton in his classic…

Peace and the State

The third great tradition is probably the longest, the median between the two so-called extremes of pacifism and the crusade, that second tradition is still at least…

Peace and the State

Gene Sharp, I don’t need to remind you, in his monumental work, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, which is now just about eleven years old, has 198 different non-violent…

Peace and the State

The third great reason why war now becomes a legitimate activity not only of the church but of the state is to defend the church…

Peace and the State

So the Pax Romana and the Pax Cristiana gradually come to be seen as conjoint works of God. If we ever saw evidence of that it…

Peace and the State

In the Fourth and Fifth Centuries, the second great tradition comes in, which is known again in every culture and time, and that is the…

Peace and the State

The same, I would argue, applies to the issue of military service or service even in something I consider to be perhaps the most objective…

Peace and the State

When I was going through my own professional training, those were pretty much the reasons I had been taught. That the church wasn’t pacifist, but rather it…

Peace and the State

The Stoics, on the other hand, the name speaks for itself, as you know, in the ancient world also were pacifists. Even though they did…

Peace and the State, Joseph Fahey

When I became Director of the Peace Studies Institute, in 1974, at Manhattan College, the first person that I sought to hire was Ies Spetter,…

Response to Humanism and the Welfare State

3. An 8-year-old boy with behavior problems lives with his depressed mother, and her live-in boyfriend (not getting married because benefits would be taken away). She lives…

Humanism and the Welfare State

The first priority of Humanists should be to restore the cuts. Some reforms are no doubt needed, but first, we need to get thousands of…

Humanism and the Welfare State

In comparison with these issues, in the face of ecological and/or nuclear catastrophe within a generation, it may seem futile for us to argue about whether we…

Humanism and the Welfare State

Then we can go on to action. Several years ago, some practitioners of religiously-based social action came up with a useful model or “window” for social action.…

Humanism and the Welfare State

So in terms of new programs, the welfare state really hasn’t expanded very much since World War II. What has grown is the number of…

Humanism and the Welfare State

Although some trace it back to Bismarckian Germany in the 1880s, the modem welfare state really began in the United States, the older British Commonwealth,…

Humanism and the Welfare State

From the General to the Particular With “The Theory” in mind, we can now proceed to a consideration of the welfare state, with particular reference to…

Humanism and the Welfare State

Rawls adds that the initial bargain or contract is made public and is understood by all parties and that the terms of the contract are…

Humanism and the Welfare State

Clearly, then, it is time for the formulation of a new approach to social issues by. organized Humanists. Neither the old theologies nor the old ideologies will…

Humanism and the Welfare State

A century ago, more or less, the young Felix Adler worked out an ethical philosophy and its religious expression on just such a universal basis,…

Humanism and the Welfare State

Thus, I see nothing wrong with religious people, either as individuals or as corporate bodies, petitioning and demonstrating for or against particular issues. Every faith has its…

Humanism and the Welfare State

Another Humanist fundamental is a strong belief in individual freedom, so long as one person’s freedom does not interfere with anyone else’s.  Humanists recognize that freedom…

Church, State, and Religious Freedom

Writing in 1950, Julian Huxley said, “Population is the problem of our age!” Nobody who was running for office listened. In the late 70’s Linus…

Church, State, and Religious Freedom

The length of time that an unconstitutional practice has gone on does not insure it is being invulnerable to being outlawed once it reaches the…

Church, State and Religious Freedom

The fourth and final myth to be considered in these opening remarks concerns the role and nature of toleration. Tolerance has long been heralded as…

Church, State and Religious Freedom

One of the most amazing myths to enjoy permanence and almost reverential equality is the idea that the founding fathers were God-fearing Christians.  Naturally, there…

The Free Society and the Runaway State

Unlike the parliamentary parties of Europe, and especially the British Labor Party in recent years, the American parties have resisted ideological rigor and party discipline. For decades…

The Free Society and the Runaway State

The generative concept of British Whig (Lockean) liberalism and its descendant, Madisonian constitutional democracy, can be described as the principle of the articulated society, a…

The Free Society and the Runaway State

If Hamilton declaimed against the government by the common people as the empowerment of the mob, Madison and Jefferson grasped clearly the difference between a…

The Free Society and the Runaway State

As a young exile in England, Voltaire developed what proved to be a life-long admiration of British ideas of limited government and constitutionalism, as well…

The Free Society and the Runaway State

While the high Federalists, including Hamilton, were concerned that the best people should govern, Madison addressed the problem differently. For him, the issue was to ensure that…

The Free Society and the Runaway State

One of the chief advantages of the division of the government of a geographically extensive confederation of states, Madison argued, is in restraining authority by…

Humanism Today: Volume One 1985

Ethics, Religion, Education, Welfare, Peace, and the State Table of Contents The Free Society and the Runaway State, Edward L. Ericson Response to The Free Society…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedThe Right to Die This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which…

Conclusion

This course was intended to provide factual information and perhaps some insights about the Right to Die.  Readers are encouraged to learn more about the…

Humanism and the Right to Die

Several prominent humanists have been key figures in the fight for the Right to Die.  The second Humanist Manifesto of 1973 explicitly endorses the right…

In Other Countries

The United States is not the only country to deal with the Right to Die.  As of March 2018, active human euthanasia (lethal injection provided…

What About Hospice?

Hospice care is a form of palliative care, which focuses on providing comfort rather than on curing an illness.  The hospice profession is generally thought…

VSED — An Alternative?

The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the right of a competent individual to refuse medical therapies as well as food and fluids.  The official term…

Secular Opposition Continued…

Abuse Opponents of the Right to Die expressed concern that family members or caregivers might encourage or even coerce the patient to end his or…

Secular Opposition

The most vocal opposition to medical aid dying comes from religious conservatives, but there is also secular opposition, usually falling into one of four categories…

Religious Opposition

The most vocal opposition to the Right to Die is often that of religious fundamentalists and Catholics.  Although humanists and others with a secular perspective…

Is it Suicide?

In psychological terms, people are considered suicidal if they want to end their lives in spite of being physically healthy.  Someone diagnosed with a terminal…

Is Final Exit Network Legal?

FEN is extremely careful about making sure it operates within the laws of each state and in accordance with the requirements of its status as…

Final Exit Network

Many people currently suffering intolerable physical pain, or anticipating that future, will never qualify for medical aid in dying under the provisions of laws such…

Brittany Maynard

One of the most highly publicized Right-to-Die cases was that of Brittany Maynard.  Maynard was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer on January 1, 2014.  She…

The Oregon Trail

Largely due to efforts by the Hemlock Society, Oregon voters passed the world's first medical aid in dying law in 1994 -- the Death with…

Jack Kevorkian

In 1990, Dr. Jack Kevorkian of Pontiac, Michigan assisted Janet Adkins, 54, an Alzheimer's sufferer, in ending her life.  Kevorkian was arrested but the charges…

Derek Humphry and the Hemlock Society

In 1980, Derek Humphry founded the Hemlock Society in Santa Monica, California after emigrating from Britain two years earlier.  In 1975, Humphry had helped his…

Theresa “Terri” Schiavo

In February 1990, 26-year-old Terri Schiavo became comatose after sustaining a cardiac arrest at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She did not have a…

Nancy Cruzan

In January 1983, 25-year-old Nancy Cruzan lost control of her car while driving at night near Carthage, Missouri.  She was thrown from the vehicle and…

Karen Ann Quinlan

In April 1975, 21-year-old Karen Ann Quinlan of Roxbury Township, New Jersey fell unconscious and stopped breathing after ingesting alcohol and Valium while also on…

Milestones in the United States

Humanist Origins The first prominent Americans to support the Right to Die were Felix Adler and Robert Ingersoll, whose popularity paralleled the Golden Age of…

Introduction

The Right to Die -- also commonly known as Death with Dignity -- refers to the legal right to determine the circumstances of one's own…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyed Introduction to Humanism This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which you…

Lesson 2, Section 7: An Open-ended Quest

As this introduction shows, humanism seeks to provide answers to life’s questions based on the best available knowledge and philosophy. But sometimes the best available…

Lesson 2, Section 6: Self-determination

There is another political and social area where humanists generally find themselves united behind common goals in opposition to many other groups and lifestances. This…

Lesson 2, Section 5: The Open Society

The fundamental concepts of humanism have given rise to a diversity of shared positions and goals among humanists. For example, humanism’s ethical dimension means that…

Lesson 2: Introduction

The Contemporary Humanist Philosophy: Lifestance Humanism The word “humanism” has been used in many different senses over the years.  It has referred to the educational…

Lesson 1: Organized Humanism

Some of the ancient schools of humanist thought, such as Epicureanism, were associated with organized movements.  These schools of thought disappeared with the decline and…

Lesson 1: Section 3

THE PHILOSOPHES Enlightenment thought was championed by a group of influential French philosophers called the “philosophes.”  The high point of the French Enlightenment was the…

Lesson 1: The Age of Reason

The Age of Reason, also known as “The Enlightenment”, starts in the seventeenth century and reaches its high point in the middle of the eighteenth…

Lesson I: Classical Greece and Rome

In the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, the Greek world experienced a cultural flowering that was to transform human civilization.  Many of history’s most influential…

Lesson 1: Introduction

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANIST THOUGHT Humanism is a fairly new name for a very old philosophy.  The basic principles of humanism – skepticism of…

Defining Humanism

“…seeking, without religion, the best in, and for, human beings.”Chambers Pocket Dictionary   “…a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or…

Introduction to Humanism

A PRIMER ON THE HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY, AND GOALS OF HUMANISM Humanism is a godless philosophy based on reason and compassion. …is a ten-word, static definition…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyed Humanism and/in Hip-Hop This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which you…

Course Conclusions

In this course, we’ve explored first the roots of African American humanism as a response to suffering. We’ve discussed the way such a remixed humanism…

Part 3: Graffiti

Much of what came to be hip-hop was framed around finding creative outlets within a society that did not recognize African Americans, poor people or…

Part 2: Clothing

2425262728 Another extended example of this embodied response to social conditions is found in hip-hop dress. For centuries, African Americans have responded to the larger…

Section Two: Faith in the Flesh

Part 1: Dance There is more to hip-hop than lyrics. Embodied movements have been part and parcel to the culture of hip-hop since it began.…

Part 3: Cultural Sensitivity

2425262728 Another reason for turning to culture is that it saves us from ourselves. What I mean is that it helps ward off against the…

Section One: Why Culture Matters

Part 1: Culture for Study of Humanism One of the reasons culture proves so important to humanism or hip-hop is simply that much of what…

Lesson Two: Preliminary Definitions

Outlaw Humanism: Grounded in hip-hop culture, this brand of humanism emerges, consciously and sometimes unconsciously in untraditional ways that speak to the marginal nature and status…

What’s a humanist to an artist?

Sticking with the lyrics of “No Church,” we can ask a similar question of humanism that Kanye and Jay-Z ask of religion: “What’s a god…

What’s a God to a Non-Believer?

“What’s a God to a Non-Believer?“ So where do we go?  Where do we turn in the face of these and other challenges involved with…

Lesson Two: Outlaw Humanism

Outlaw Humanism: Living Humanism, Thinking Religion Introduction What’s an Outlaw? The aim of Lesson Two is to suggest that humanism in hip-hop is best understood…

Section Three: Humanisms in Hip-Hop

2425262728 Part 1: Weak and Strong Humanisms Time does not permit a full discussion of all the humanist perspectives present in rap music.  As such,…

Part 3: Hip-Hop is Born

Hip-hop is a term used to describe a whole host of cultural activities that developed in the urban decay of America during the late 1970s…

Part 2: Black Power

In the wake of the tumultuous 1960’s and the Civil Rights Movement, a largely humanistic political position developed as the “Black Power Movement.”  Inspired by…

Part 3: Early Black Humanists

Before moving forward, it is important to point out that in light of the alienation and isolation experienced by African Americans, one of the primary…

Lesson One: Preliminary Definitions

Religion: The search for greater life meaning, increased agency, and recognition of identity. Hip-Hop: The name given to the cultural emergence of artistic productions, such…

Lesson One: The Weak and the Strong

The Weak and the Strong: Hip-Hop, Humanisms, and African American Response to Social Suffering Introduction Lesson One sets out to situate the emergence of African…

A Primer on Humanism and/in Hip-Hop

Course Introduction What can hip-hop teach humanists about the evolving nature and dimensions of humanism among marginal communities today?  This course offers an introduction into…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyed Humanism & Race This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which you…

Lesson Two: Preliminary Definitions

Archaeology of Knowledge – historical analysis that attempts to uncover “discourses” within systems of meaning Blackness – recognition of the impossibility of ever fully accepting human limits…

Lesson Two: Introduction

Few today would suggest that humanism is an exclusively or purposefully “white” space.  The various humanist organizations and the many strains of humanism(s) that exist…

Lesson One: Preliminary Definitions

Deism – the theological position that god probably exists but is completely hands off with the world Empiricism – a philosophical method of investigation based on observing…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedFeminism & Humanism: Women of Color Beyond Faith This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is…

10 Fierce Atheists: Unapologectically

There’s a pivotal scene in freethinker Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun in which matriarch Lena Younger tries to put the fear of God in her…

Lesson Four Review

Terms: Culturally Relevant Humanism:  Refers to the movement to make humanism more relevant and responsive to people of color communities, especially when it comes to intersectional…

From Faith to Secular Activism

But in the final analysis, black women can pray until Jesus comes down from the cross but they will always be among America’s “original” heathens.…

From Faith to Secular Activism

We’re coming out of these sexist/misogynist roles and asserting ourselves a lot more.”  Thomas’ comment underscores the paradox of atheist organizing amongst African Americans.  Black…

From Faith to Secular Activism

Howard University student Georgina Capetillo contends that the right to abortion should be a leading humanist issue for Latinas breaking free from religion.  She cites…

From Faith to Secular Activism

As a former teen mother, Downey’s experiences were radically different from that of the average white middle-class male atheist who represents the most visible demographic…

From Faith to Secular Activism

From Faith to Secular Activism  My father’s abandonment of the family actually brought about some deep thinking concerning belief in god.  My father-figure could not…

Lesson Three Review

Guiding Questions: What significance did the Azusa Street revival have for initiating people of color into Pentecostalism? Why has Pentecostalism increased so rapidly among African…

Latinos and the Rise of Pentecostalism

Emotionalism and raw expressivity are crucial to the Pentecostal tradition which “encourages emotions not usually seen in middle-class churches, from moaning and personal storytelling to…

Latinas and the Rise of Pentecostalism

In American Latino communities, contemporary Pentecostalism has a strong female orientation.  This is paradoxical given what some have identified as its fundamentally patriarchal, conservative ethos.…

Lesson Two Review

Terms: Intersectionality:  The idea that peoples’ identities and sense of subjectivity are informed by multiple positions and statuses relative to, but not limited by, race/class/gender/sexual orientation/disability…

Lesson One Review

Terms Abolitionism:  Refers to the movement to abolish slavery in the U.S. before the civil war Anti-clericalism:  Refers to historical movements that oppose the clergy for reasons…

First Wave Feminism and Racial Politics

Their labor was raw material for European American intellectualism.  European American freethought traditions were predicated on the enslavement of the racialized sexual other.  Within the context of…

First Wave Feminism and Racial Politics

In her book, Jacoby not only implies that anti-clerical secularists were the driving force of abolitionism but also props up white thinkers and activists as…

First Wave Feminism and Racial Politics

Susan Jacoby’s Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism is a case in point.  Jacoby devotes a chapter to the connection between anti-clericalism, abolitionism and feminism in 19th…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedHumanist Parenting This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which you can…

Humanist Parenting Resources

Dale McGowan co-hosts a Parenting Beyond Belief blog with Rebekah Bennetch of Sakatoon Secular Family Network that shares thoughts and ideas by and for secular parents.  “It’s…

Social Connection and Community

Personal identity, social connection, and community Multiple studies had suggested that churchgoers are happier than non-churchgoers by several life-satisfaction indicators. But a University of Wisconsin/Harvard…

Multiple Perspectives

When children are ready for the next level of engagement, or no longer find the previous notion adequate, several useful concepts can be introduced. But…

Naturalizing Death

It’s also important to recognize that comfort is only one goal.  Death is also the subject of some of the most meaningful human reflection imaginable.…

Mortality

Mortality Creating the healthiest approach to mortality begins by overthrowing three common myths: 1.    That religion cures the fear of death. By pretending that religious…

Questioning Environment

Equally important is creating a questioning environment around morality. Oliner and Oliner conducted a powerful study in which 700 survivors of Nazi-occupied Europe—both “rescuers” (those…

Moral Development

Moral development is often portrayed either as a mysterious process or as a matter of inculcation from the outside. Neither is true. A tremendous body…

The Religious Extended Family

Pressures from religious extended family over issues such as churchgoing, baptism, and confirmation often complicate nonreligious parenting. Sometimes the pressure is relatively mild or passive.…

Daily Practice

A fully-formed religious literacy plan does not center on long lectures or sermons.  Instead, it is woven into daily life as follows: Notice religion in…

Religious Literacy

In addition to exposing children to a naturalistic, science-based worldview, part of ensuring an open and honest process is providing them with broad religious literacy,…

Indoctrination vs. Influence

Once a freethinking parent has decided not to label a child, they often develop a strong concern that they will do so unintentionally—that they will…

Are children atheists?

It is an interesting and demonstrable fact that all children are Atheists, and were religion not inculcated into their minds they would remain so…[T]here is…

Humanist Parenting

Introduction This course introduces many of the developing best practices for raising children without religion. Areas explored include moral development, worldview literacy, influencing without indoctrinating,…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedHumanist Political Activism: Campaigns & Voting This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most…

Conclusions & Course Review

  The political process begins and ends with voting—and includes campaigning. It is up to you as a citizen lobbyist to determine how involved you…

Campaigns: Donations

Donating to a political campaign or political party at the federal, state, or local level can be effective with a donation of just over $200.…

Campaigns: Fundraising

Another way to be active in campaigns is to give money. During the 2012 elections, there was lots of news about Super PACs and the…

Campaigns: Participating

Many people who have never participated in any kind of political campaign think participating is less to be excited about than scheduling a root canal.…

Voting

Without looking them up, can you name your state’s governor? Lieutenant governor? State legislative representative(s)? Your local council representative? Maybe more importantly, can any of…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedHumanist Political Activism: Lobbying This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which…

The Lobby Visit: 10 Things to Remember

After you have done your research, prepared your lobbying paper, and scheduled your appointment, use these tips to ensure a positive meeting. Be Nice to…

Preparation (Continued)

Research the Issue Take time to do an Internet search about the issue, read web news, or find a Wikipedia article.  Next, be sure you…

Preparation

From understanding the issue to knowing the background of the public official you are meeting with, preparation is the most important part before the lobbying…

Identifying Issues for Lobbying

There is no shortage of issues that a citizen lobbyist may want to become involved with, whether related to gun control (or preventing gun laws),…

Who Can Lobby? (Continued)

Professional Lobbyists and Lobbying Organizations The federal government and each state has its own regulations for paid lobbyists—or for those who are acting on behalf…

Who Can Lobby?

Individuals Anyone can lobby any public official in the United States.  Any citizen or permanent resident has the right to lobby his or her elected…

Educating

Perhaps most importantly, lobbying is about educating our public officials about the multitude of issues they are going to be bombarded with.  Being a public…

Advocating

Lobbying is also about advocating.  This means speaking out in favor of specific public policies, issues, and even candidates for regulatory agencies and judgeships.  Advocating…

What is Lobbying?

Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often elected officials and regulatory officials who are appointed…

Humanist Political Activism: Lobbying

How to Become Politically Active in Your Community Introduction Being politically active does not mean yelling during campaign commercials. By taking this online course, you…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedHumanist End of Life Course This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful…

Resources: Books

Books Living at the End of Life:  A Hospice Nurse Addresses the Most Common Questions by Karen Whitley Bell, RN.  A surprisingly warm and informative resource…

Resources: Supportive Organizations

Final Exit Network Guiding Principles:  We hold that mentally competent adults who suffer from a fatal or irreversible physical illness, from intractable physical pain, or…

Plan, Plan, Plan

Recently I got an interesting request.  A man wanted me to meet with him and his two sisters in my office.  He had been diagnosed…

Deathbed (and post-deathbed) Conversions

Most hospices and hospitals employ chaplains.  Most of these are well-versed in religious diversity and respectful of it.  However, there are some chaplains or visiting…

Stepping Away

The fact is that death can take a very long time, even when the person is actively dying.  Celebrants often must remind loved ones to…

Sit Down and Breathe

After the above and important paperwork is in hand, the next thing is to return focus on the dying person and the loved ones around…

Know The Ropes

As mentioned earlier, if you are just getting acquainted with the dying person or if you have few or no plans on file, the situation…

Am I In Over My Head?

Death can bring out the worst in people.  Families that have been dysfunctional for years suddenly find themselves in a tiny room.  Sibling rivalries reignite.…

Flashback! The Icy Hand of Death

Most people living in North American or Western Europe have seen very little of death.  Perhaps you were with a loved one who died, but…

Assess the Distress

First, ask questions to assess the level of distress of both the dying person and loved ones.  A death in old age can be very…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedHumanist Memorial Course This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which you…

Other Resources

Funerals Consumer Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral.  We do for funeral purchases what…

Sample Readings

12345678910111213 For My Daughter When I die choose a starand name it after methat you may knowI have not abandonedor forgotten you.You were such a…

Sample Service Continued

A Service for an Elderly Person Prelude:  “One Fine Day” Welcome Lighting the Chalice We are gathered today, family and friends, to celebrate the life of…

Sample Service

A service for a young person Opening song Opening words: We have gathered today to mourn the death and celebrate the life of _____________, whose…

Family Squabbles

The death of a loved one can bring out both the best and the worst in everybody involved.  If you have not experienced this situation…

It’s All in the Details

Music Some questions to ask: What sort of music does the family want?  Who will provide that?  Sometimes family members are talented singers and musicians.…

Meeting with the Family Continued

But before we go into that quandary further, allow me to share the general outline of a memorial service I use. (Samples are included below.)…

Meeting the Family

Meet with as much of the family as possible as soon as possible.  This meeting not only offers the chance for you to be a…

When You Get That Call

When a celebrant gets the call that someone has died and the family wishes to have a memorial service, a good outline to keep in…

Humanist Memorial Services

Introduction Birth, marriage, death. Celebrants are asked to assist at life’s big transitions.  Celebrating a child or a marriage tend to be light, happy occasions,…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyedHumanist Wedding Course This course is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education is the most powerful weapon which you…

Humanist Celebrant Resources

One of the most challenging tasks facing a Celebrant is writing the ceremony itself. Below are resources to help you get started. There are many…

At the Rehearsal

The Celebrant should be prepared to welcome various members of the wedding party who arrive before the bride and/or groom, and invite them to make…

Exercise for Creating the Vows

In a meeting with the couple several weeks before the ceremony, the officiant should review relevant logistics and details, including other elements of the service.…

Elements of Wedding Ceremonies

The Vows and the Consent The Vows and the Consent are often conflated in the popular imagination, but they constitute two separate functions of a…

At the Second Meeting

At the Second Meeting Couples should arrive at the second meeting with selections from the material provided at the previous session.  If they have not…

First Meeting Continued

At this point, other questions may have occurred to the couple, or they may have been reminded of questions they forgot to ask before. Be…

The First Meeting

Assuming that the celebrant does not know the couple well already, the first meeting is an opportunity for them to become acquainted with one another,…

Preparation

The Marriage License In American society, the officiant at a wedding often functions as an officer of the state, whose action establishes a legally enforceable…

Convenant Promise

The wish to be able to make a promise of solemn significance is part of human nature. This aspiration is sometimes expressed in the language…

Role of the Celebrant

People undergoing a rite of passage may seek guidance from someone who is presumed to be familiar with the process, and able to help them…

Theoretical Understanding of Weddings

What is Unique About a Humanist Wedding Most Humanist couples want what most couples want from their wedding ceremony: a beautiful, joyful, sincere and meaningful…

Introduction

A wedding ceremony brings together many cultural influences, family dynamics, and emotional expectations, as well as logistical challenges. A Celebrant who intends to be helpful…

Lecture Complete

We hope you enjoyedAre the "Nones" Done with Civic Engagement? The open lecture series is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education…

Are the “Nones” Done with Civic Engagement?

We co-sponsored an Augsburg University Martin Olav Sabo Symposium on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 in Minneapolis, MN. Are the “Nones” Done with Civic Engagement? brought together several…

Lecture Complete

We hope you enjoyedSocial Justice: Addressing the Narrative of Fear The open lecture series is made available largely through donations by individuals like you! Education…

Lecture Complete

We hope you enjoyedFuture of Humanism: New Voices for the 21st Century The open lecture series is made available largely through donations by individuals like…

Course Review

  We hope you enjoyed Religious Humanism Continuing Education Units (CEUs) In order to receive CEUs, please submit the quiz below. You will receive an…

About the Author

David Breeden The Reverend Dr. David Breeden is Senior Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.  He has a Master of Fine Arts in poetry…

Sources and Further Reading

Wikipedia article on religious humanism Reading List History and Philosophy American Religious Humanism, Mason Olds (Introduction and one of the three humanists – Dietrich, Reese, Potter) Freethinkers: A…

Conclusion

Though the language is sexist, the 1933 Humanist Manifesto sums up the intent of congregational humanism very succinctly: EIGHTH:  Religious Humanism considers the complete realization…

Wonder and Awe

The conventionally religious often object to humanist gatherings by asking how such events can create those presumably most religious of emotions, wonder and awe.  In fact,…

How We Gather Together

Ideally, a humanist congregation gathering is a religion-neutral zone.  A humanist gathering is not an anti-religion zone or a no-religion zone.  It is a place without…

Standard Operating Procedure

In 1933, the same year that the first Humanist Manifesto was published, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis issued a pamphlet titled Humanism: a Religion for Today.  The…

“For Position Only”

Felix Adler, John Dietrich, Sherwin Wine, and many other humanist leaders are what the French philosophy Michel Foucault, called “founder(s) of a discourse.”  That discourse, humanism,…

Religious Humanism and Social Change

Until the mid-twentieth century, the religion, denomination, and congregation a person belonged to often defined social status.  This pervasive cultural assumption filled the pews–or at…

Human Responsibility

It is important to note that neither Felix Adler nor John Dietrich were in-your-face atheists.  Felix Adler believed that the god concept would slowly disappear as…

Birth of an Idea

“Humanism” was first used as a term in the late Middle Ages, and the humanist world view created the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. The first…

Course Complete

We hope you enjoyed Positive Humanism If you have questions or comments about this course, please Contact Us.   These courses are made available largely through…

References

Caldwell-Harris, C. L., Wilson, A. L., LoTempio, E., & Beit-Hallahmi, B. (2011). Exploring the atheist personality: well-being, awe, and magical thinking in atheists, Buddhists, and…

About the Author

Bo Bennett Positive humanism represents everything about which I am passionate, even though the ideas outlined in this book are the product of frustration.  Once…

On Dying and Living

Let’s face it, the thought of dying is quite unpleasant—and this is a very good thing.  This means that our will to live is strong…

Love and “Soulmates”

Love is arguably one of the most wonderful of all human experiences.  When we experience love, we feel a warm sensation all throughout our bodies.…

Why Does It Matter

While science may never uncover the mystery behind the concept of freewill, it has provided us with ample empirical evidence showing that there are different…

Exploring the “F” Word: Freewill

For over 2500 years, humans have been debating the issue of freewill.  There are numerous books on the topic, entire university courses, countless recorded lectures…

Making Sense of Reason

How can one account for and justify the use of reason within a secular framework? Some might suggest that this question is meaningless. For example, the “What happened before…

Religion: A Middleman to Well-Being

It seems as if a new study is released almost daily showing another benefit of religious belief.  As a humanist, these articles used to detract…

Morality Continued

No Moral Anarchy Nor Utility As long as morality is grounded in human well-being, “anything” is not permissible.  Rape is wrong because it clearly subtracts from human…

Why Positive Psychology

Why Positive Psychology? In 1998, the then president of the American Psychological Association (APA), Martin Seligman, chose positive psychology as his theme, using the humanistic psychology of…

Preface

Positive humanism is an applied secular humanistic philosophy based on the scientific findings of positive psychology that focuses on personal, professional, and societal flourishing.  As…

Positive Humanism

This course is based on the book, Positive Humanism: A Primer, by Bo Bennett, PhD. “In his latest book, Positive Humanism: A Primer, Bennett makes a…

Course Review

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Social Contract

The Preamble to the US Constitution begins with the words, “We the people…”  This signaled that the new republic would be based on asocial contract among its citizens and between…

Participation

In Democracy in America [1835], Alexis de Tocqueville remarked on our habit of making and joining groups of all kinds – clubs, political parties, churches, etc.  But while Americans…

Agency

The British biologist and Humanist, Julian Huxley, wrote that the humanity is “evolution becoming self conscious.”  With that phrase, he identified the emerging role of the…

Organization

Cultures change – but slowly.  For example, the hunt fails over and over again.  A clan settles down and we are farmers and no longer…

Society

Culture In this section, we will explore a third basic humanist theme:  the “social animal.”  Of course, there are lots of social animals – bees…

Nature and Experience

Sometimes, when we are drawn into a problem of what is and is not, we forget how and why we got to that point.  But,…

How Many Worlds?

But we don’t have to follow Ayer all the way.  For most humanists, nature is the name we give to an inclusive and evolving reality,…

What We Know

The Moon Isn't Made of Green Cheese For the humanist, there is one and only one world.  Let’s be very careful here.  There was a…

Nature

Fighting Words In the philosopher’s study, metaphysics is an abstract discipline, indeed a peaceable discipline.  As we noted in Philosophy and The Humanist Connection, Introductory Course,…

And Dignity

Let’s assume that humanists are not fools and that they are as aware as anyone else of the good and evil that shapes human history. …

Inherent Worth

When humanists say that human beings have “inherent worth” the sentence appears descriptive – like saying human beings have arms and legs – but it…

The Human Being

In this and the following sections, we’ll be looking at some of the basic themes of humanism – human being, nature, religion, reason and the…

Course Review

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Consider a Raindrop

Let’s see how territories become tools and let’s begin with something very simple and familiar, a “raindrop.” I suspect that the first thing that occurs…

A Vocabulary Lesson

As I’m sure you know, much has been written and spoken and much yet remains to be written and spoken about each of these territories.…

Names and Meaning

Territories In the West, philosophy, beginning with the Greeks, has evolved into a modern discipline with its own history, methods, and vocabulary. Of course, other…

Humanism

We’re going to look at humanism through a philosopher’s eyes– in fact we’ve already begun. Like all philosophers, we’ve got to make distinctions so we’ll…

On the Road

A couple of examples Einstein calls curiosity “holy.” What’s he trying to tell us? What does Aristotle mean by “wonder?” Socrates always started a discussion…

The Road to Philosophy

Wonder Philosophy, wrote Aristotle, begins in wonder. 2500 years later, Albert Einstein in his autobiography traced the philosophic adventure to “holy curiosity.” Both remind us…

Course Review

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Looking for Another Way

Are there any plausible moral theories out there? Are there any theories that are consistent with our considered moral judgments and our moral life and…

Act-Utilitarianism

Is act-utilitarianism a better theory than the TCT? In its simplest form act-utilitarianism says that what makes an action right is that it maximizes overall…

Dissecting Moral Theories

Now let’s apply what we’ve learned to evaluate two very different moral theories — one religious, one secular. The assessment of other influential theories will…

Judging Moral Theories

Theories of morality are like theories in science. Scientific theories try to explain the causes of events, such as a chemical reaction, the orbit of…

Some Basics

Theories of morality are theories of right action — that is, theories about what makes an action right. The two major types of theories are…

The Two Paths

When people try to think of a religious theory of morality, they often come up with a moral code (set of rules) consisting of the…

Ethics II

Introduction Ethics, or moral philosophy, is the study of how we should live our lives. For at least five thousand years, issues in ethics have…

Course Review

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Judging Moral Theories

An underlying principle in this module and the others to follow is that it is possible to assess the validity of moral theories and moral…

Preliminaries

Traditionally, the main interest in ethics has been theories of right action — that is, theories about what makes an action right. The two major…

Ethics

Introduction To be a person is to be forced into the thorny realm of morality –the place where moral choices, judgments, and debates are inescapable,…

Course Review

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Humanist Response

The humanist response to such views is dictated by a desire to ensure a quality of life for all human beings, and the right of…

Further Considerations

Non-voluntary, active, and passive euthanasia In contrast to voluntary euthanasia, non-voluntary euthanasia would occur when individuals have not expressed any wish to die, perhaps because they are not…

Voluntary Euthanasia

Voluntary euthanasia is simply not voluntary if there is any degree of persuasion or pressure placed on a patient. Care for the old, the infirm and…

Euthanasia

The word euthanasia is sometimes referred to as “mercy killing”; that is to say, it is the act of ending a life of one who has no…

The Case Against Abortion

Whatever the opinion of the individual humanist about abortion itself, the humanist position is a clearly pro-abortion rights one, and it is supportive of the main bodies…

The Case for Abortion

How far should an unborn potential life dictate the future of the life of the woman that carries it in her womb? It is only…

Ethical Issues

Birth and Death Issues Where unnatural methods of controlling life are accepted — whether to create it, prolong it or end it — ethical issues…

Death

From antiquity, perhaps the most important life-cycle rite has been associated with the death of a person, and all kinds of ceremonies have been carried…

Marriage Ceremonies

In Britain, many minority religious groups such as Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs still regard the two ceremonies (in their case civil and religious) as normal…

Rites of Passage

Initiation into adulthood The important occasions marking an individual’s journey through life are called rites of passage. Many religions and cultures have ceremonies for the…

Birth

Although it is likely that pre-religious cultures developed celebrations for childbirth, birth rites today are usually associated with religion. In many cases, despite birth being…

Introduction

Celebrating the Important Stages of Life without Religion Thinking About Life and Death Issues Most human beings enjoy the celebrations that mark special occasions in…

Course Review

We hope you enjoyed Religion & Spirituality – Level One If you would like to continue, the next course in this series is: Religion &…

Afterlife Continued

How deeply rooted such prejudice is can be evidenced in the case of Sikhism. Sikhism is the newest of the established religions emerging from India…

Afterlife

Humanist rejection of an afterlife In later levels we shall see that there is no sound reason for the acceptance of the existence of God.…

Religious Humility Continued

One of the problems with religious institutions and cultures is that they are usually prescriptive about the way life ought to be lived. They perpetuate…

Religious Humility

Religious humility or humanist self-assertion and autonomy? Whereas religion held sway over personal lives in the recent past, today we live in a more secular…

Introduction

Developing Human Potential Without Religion Humanism believes in the dignity of individuals and in their right to develop their own individual personalities and potentials in…

Course Review

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The State of Free Exercise

Today, the pervasiveness of government regulation and the diversity of religious sects make it evident that religious persons are burdened more often by laws that are…

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

On top of all this, Congress tried to get into the act. In 1994 it passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), essentially telling the…

Privileged View of Religion

As I will argue in later modules, this privileged view of the religion seems to violate the whole spirit of the First Amendment, if not…

Strict Scrutiny Test

Near the end of the eighties it seemed unclear whether the Court would continue to enforce an expanded view of the Free Exercise Clause or…

Expanded Free Exercise

After these two cases the Supreme Court seemed to waver and send mixed signals with regard to its newly expanded free exercise jurisprudence. In two…

Sherbet v. Verner (1963)

Mrs. Sherbert was a Seventh Day Adventist whose religion prohibited her from working on Saturdays. Because most of the employers in her area required a…

Religious Freedom Continued

Generally speaking, a religious purpose is not enough to invalidate an act of a state legislature simply because the secular motivation for a law happens…

Religious Freedom

For reasons that will become apparent later, it is easier to start out by examining the second clause first. A good paraphrase for the Free…

The Free Exercise Clause

Preliminary Discussion The First Amendment begins by stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”…

Course Review

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United States Supreme Court

Article III, Section 1, Constitution of the United States: The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in…

Constitutional Principles

Before we go too much further it would be helpful to give a brief description of the Constitutional principles and provisions we will be examining.…

Religion & the Constitution

Introduction While no one is burned at the stake anymore for their spiritual beliefs and religious civil wars are thankfully a thing of the past…

Course Review

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Determinants

Now how do we decide whether each of these components is most likely genetic, learned, or due to trauma? Well, we can inform this decision…

Self-Reliance

Some core humanistic principles are that people should be self-reliant, self-responsible, socially responsible, well-educated and versed in the arts and sciences, and motivated to use…

Humanistic Implications

3 Natural Psychological Determinants At this point, you should have a good, clear, basic understanding of each of the three natural determinants of human psychology,…

Traumatic Timing

All other traumatic factors being equal, the timing of traumatic events, especially in the all-important CNS, can be critical in determining the effects of psychological…

Psychological Trauma

If you are a typical reader, you’ve probably been conditioned to think of “psychological trauma” as something metaphysical and mysterious, contrasted with the much more…

Summary

People who behave very consistently throughout their lives literally can’t think of any other way to behave to get the positive consequences they need; and…

Behavior Management

The other term we need to define up front is behavior management. Associative learning occurs almost every minute of every hour of every day of…

Learning and Conditioning

Learning (conditioning) is the most important natural determinant of human psychology for AHA Center for Education students to learn, for two reasons: As was previously…

Nature

Contrast this slow human developmental pattern with the much more rapid development of most other animals, and (again) the fact that the adult repertoire of…

Development

As we’ve already seen, two types of psychological capabilities are genetically pre-programmed: instincts (inherited, specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which occur automatically in response to…

Learning

Galapagos finches and woodpeckers both eat beetle larvae that live beneath tree bark and catch them by spearing. But woodpeckers have sharp beaks and thick…

Genes: The First Natural Determinant

Genes are the segments of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) code that enable humans to develop general physical capacities and specific physical functions from the moment of…

Introduction

Genetic Psychology In the level just completed, we’ve emphasized how and why science has played such a critical role — and continues to play an…

Course Review

  We hope you enjoyed Psychology & Humanism – Level One If you would like to continue, the next course in this series is: Psychology…

Occam’s Razor

These determinants interact in lawful ways from the moment of conception to the end of the sequence of brain death to produce every thought we…

Empirical Constructs

But while psychodynamicists speculated about non-empirical hypothetical “mental” constructs, behavioristic researchers studied the real empirical constructs of stimuli and responses. Others such as D. O.…

A Very Brief History of Psychology

At the birth of psychology, not unlike today, non-scientific approaches were much more popular and influential and were exemplified by the NEC-riddled psychodynamic (or Psychoanalytic)…

Hypothetical Constructs

While there are many factors that distinguish between scientific and unscientific theories in psychology, we’ll focus on one of the most central ones here in…

Scientific Method Continued

If experimentation reveals that we have accurately determined the causal agents, Step 5 then is replication (where each step of this study is directly duplicated to double-check…

Scientific Method

The scientific method, in brief, is a means of explaining and predicting cause and effect. In psychology, the effects (also called dependent variables or DVs)…

Psychology

In a practical sense, all people are students of psychology, since understanding why we think, feel, and act as we do is an integral part…

Introduction

Understanding Ourselves and Our Universe How Psychology Can Turn the "Mystery of Human Nature" into Useful Tools for Self Improvement and Success in Life An…

Course Review

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What To Do

What to do with Science Education The most important thing we can do to advance the public’s understanding of science is to teach good science.…

Beyond Biology

Beyond Biology Creationist arguments span the whole of science, not just biology, and that is why they find some scientists unprepared. An evolutionist does not…

Science Education

Problems and Solutions in Science Education Let us now turn to some faux pas that scientists make when confronting creationists. Again, this is not an…

Fallacies and Education

Fallacies and Education Another creationist fallacy is the claim that there are no intermediate fossils showing the process of evolution. Gaps in the fossil record…

Logical Fallacies

Creationist Logical Fallacies Let us proceed then to take a look at some of the major logical fallacies of creationism. This is not intended as…

Scientism

The Problem with Scientism The second component of the problem with the evolution-creation controversy is, in my judgment, the attitude that at least some scientists…

Anti-Intellectualism

Forms of Anti-Intellectualism The first component of the problem is reducible to a widespread anti-intellectual sentiment that characterizes the American public at large (in contrast,…

Course Review

  We hope you enjoyed Science & Humanism – Level One If you would like to continue, the next course in this series is: Science…

Intelligent Design

Is the fact that evolutionary theory can explain neither the origin of life nor the formation of the universe a “failure” of Darwinism? Of course…

Evolution and the Origin of Life

So far we have seen what evolution is according to biologists. Now, it is important to understand what evolution is not, notwithstanding misleading claims by…

Evolution as Descent with Modification

Most people think of evolution in terms of descent with modification, to use Darwin’s term, of large organisms, and in particular animals. Of course, the…

Course Review

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Interest Group Politics

By last count, the non-religious represent almost 30 million people in the United States. While it’s difficult to say how many of these individuals fall…

Tolerance

Humanists, despite their rejection of traditional religious belief, are firmly committed to the principle of religious tolerance. A cornerstone of this stance is retaining a…

Democracy

Among the clauses of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and entirely consistent with core humanist principles, is the support for the right (and obligation)…

Humanist Rights

A central tenet of the humanist philosophy is respect for individual autonomy and human rights. This principle was codified by the General Assembly of the…

Science and Reason

Humanist support for critical thought and application of the scientific method puts us at the forefront in the perennial battle between science and religion. This…

Advocacy for Humanist Principles

In this section, we will explore some of our core values and the contemporary issues that they should help to inform. In many cases, there…

Introduction: Applied Ethics

To influence the progress of humanity in all spheres of life, humanists must take an active role in shaping public opinion and government policy. As…

Course Review

We hope you enjoyed Humanist Activism & Organization – Level One If you would like to continue, the next course in this series is: Humanist…

Increased Public Understanding of Humanism

Humanism often seems synonymous with scientific progress, democratic reform, and increased human rights. Indeed, in many advanced societies humanism has become the predominant worldview, in…

Protection of Humanist Rights

While it is sometimes the case that non-theists are singled out for discrimination, in most respects the protection of humanist rights should be indistinguishable from…

Advocacy for Humanist Principles

Free from the constraints of religious dogma and imposed political ideologies, humanists are uniquely positioned to be effective advocates for democratic reform, human rights, individual…

Activism, Outreach and Education

Humanist activism focuses on the development of actions that facilitate advocacy for humanist principles protection for humanist rights, and increased awareness and understanding of humanism…

Applied Humanist Ethics

It should be recognized that, with the exception of increasing public awareness of humanism itself and defending the rights of its adherents, there are no…

Part Two

As explained in the Introduction, humanism is a positive worldview defined by more than its rejection of theistic religion and autocratic government. Defense against the…

Core Humanist Principles

From these public declarations of contemporary humanist thought, we may derive a set of core humanist principles. It is this set of principles that must…

The Evolution of Modern Humanism

Although humanist thought dates from antiquity, the existence of humanist organizations is a phenomenon of the modern era. Contemporary humanism begins, for all practical purposes,…

Introduction

Historical Perspectives Humanism is a rational, scientific worldview that traces its heritage to the philosophers of antiquity. Greek, Roman, Chinese, and Indian philosophers initiated this…