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This Week in Humanism 2017–11–05


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/11/05

“The Protestant Reformation is often dated to October 31, 1517, in Wittenberg, Saxony, north of Leipzig in what is now Germany. On that date Martin Luther sent his Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the Archbishop of Mainz. The theses criticized the Roman Catholic Church and the papacy, slamming the selling of indulgences and doctrinal policies about purgatory, last judgment, and papal authority.

In the following years Luther wrote works on the Catholic devotion to Virgin Mary, intercession and worship of the saints (for which he found no basis in the Bible), the sacraments, mandatory clerical celibacy, monasticism, further on the authority of the pope, ecclesiastical law, censure and excommunication, the role of secular rulers in religious matters, and the relationship between Christianity and the law.

At the Diet of Worms in 1521 Luther was summoned to recant his work but he refused and was sent away. The German emperor Charles V, although himself a loyal Catholic, simply did not know what to do with him, as Reformation ideas had already spread widely throughout his realm. Luther retreated to Wartburg castle, near Eisenach, where he remained for years translating the Bible into German to make it more accessible to a general readership.”


“This concerns something very close to my heart, having previously worked in a faith school for almost a decade, and being heavily involved in education, including on a political and philosophical basis.

Thi comes from Humanists UK:

The status of ‘faith ethos’ academies has been brought back into focus this week by a new report into England’s third largest academy chain, Oasis. The report, which details the overtly religious ethos of Oasis schools, challenges the organisation’s claim that its academies are not religious, and suggests that it ought to be more transparent about ‘its standing as a Christian organisation’.

Humanists UK, which has previously expressed concern both about Oasis specifically and repeatedly about ‘faith ethos’ academies more broadly, has reiterated the need for a rolling back of the pervasive and unaccountable religious influence in the education system.”


“Our roads are increasingly crowded and at times grid-locked. And it will get worse as Independence and Christmas approach, with shopping, socialising, excess alcohol and the inevitable accidents, injury, loss of life and even more delays on the roads. However, as someone claimed, potholes make you slow down, so there may be less accidents!

Everyone complains about the traffic jams, but nothing is done to study the causes or create solutions. The primary cause, of course, is the number of vehicles on the roads, partly because of the poor, erratic transport system. Secondary causes include the types of vehicles, the behaviour of the drivers and the nature of the roads. These causes suggest some obvious solutions.

First, the types of vehicles. We have more and more pick-up trucks, which are used as personal cars, and not for agriculture or industrial use. Twice the size of my little Nissan Tiida, they take up far more space on the road, and far more car park space, often making parking and exiting a major problem and a hazard. A farmer’s or factory license should be required to own such a large vehicle.”


“This past week, once again a Western city was the victim of a religiously-motivated act of terror. A fanatic chose to drive a rental vehicle onto a bike path in New York City, killing eight people and injuring several others.

In the midst of the shock and confusion following the attack, the skeptic could sincerely ask: Is there any good to religion? Doesn’t it just harm the common good and sanction violence?

These are great questions that merit answers, but maybe our conversation on religion can address not only tragedy and horror, or attacks on the rules, structure, teachings, historical offenses, social limitations, and otherwise undesirable aspects of religion, but also our spiritual nature, our call to community, and the positive achievements and societal contributions made by religious people.”


“BEING born in the village to a single teenage mom is disadvantage enough for any child, but for Chibwe Mwelwa, it became his motivation to strive for a better life.

“The fact that I didn’t know my father made me work harder,” he says.
Today, the 47-year-old is a holder of two masters’ degrees and serves as president of the Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply, and has worked in a number of organisations in influential positions. His most recent appointment was to the Zesco board.

Currently, he works as procurement director for the Millennium Challenge, where he oversees procurement in a multi-million dollar drainage project in Lusaka.

Chibwe Darius Mwelwa was born on May 4, 1970 in Mwense district, and would spend the first few years of his life under the care of a grandmother in order to allow his young mother pursue her studies and career.

His mother, Charity Mwandu, was only 16 when she had him.

His grandfather, James Mwenso, was a wealthy businessman who owned a string of shops. He, however, died when Mr Mwelwa was only nine.

Mr Mwelwa describes his childhood as a little privileged.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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