Throughout human history, families and bonded groups have created ceremonies and honored their ancestors by repeating them across time. Traditions can recall generations past and also recognize what is new and developing. While the primary emphasis in this course is on humanist practices, other traditions will also be addressed in sidebars. The goal is to intentionally breathe life and choice into rituals and ceremonies so that we understand the stories they tell and the values they preserve. The process is collaborative and inclusive–as well as being simultaneously reflective and inventive. Adapting ancestral traditions with humanist intent is an important goal of this course.
A humanist framework is powerful, honoring deep values of humanity, without imposing dogma or belief. It offers a particularly stabilizing and cohesive base upon which to build your own unique vision. The humanist vision is literally “beyond belief,” inclusive of worldwide human values, leaving behind prejudices and exclusionary dogma. With this open perspective, the world’s traditions have so much to offer and are acknowledged as valued sources and models. Humanism as a framework, inclusive as it is, supports all humans.
By bringing a humanist orientation to family and community gatherings, one can strengthen values of inclusivity, non-commercialism, and last but certainly not least, care for the environment. While family events can call upon the intimacy of our inner worlds, humanism reminds us that our inner world is always integrally connected with how we live on earth. In the grand finale of this course, lessons 7 and 8 take a deep dive into the practical elements of making holidays humanist, and humanizing holidays.
The one thought into which all I cherish most, all I most hope for, and aspire to, can be compressed, is this: May the humanity that is within every human being be held more and more precious, and be regarded with ever deeping reverence!” —Felix Adler