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This Week in Humanism 2017–11–26


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/11/26

“ Fifty decades ago in a small town called Wittenberg, there was a man named Martin Luther who challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church that is said to have spread the idea of “humanism” all over Europe. His 95 theses showed the path of freedom that held the potential to enable one to devise one’s own means of making sense of the world. Although Martin Luther was not in favour of the peasant revolts that took place in the German countryside owing to his teaching, he could do almost nothing about it. A spark had spread that ignited the lamp of Enlightenment in Europe and through colonial rule has stayed on in full vigour in our own times. All discussion revolving around political freedom and civil rights could be said to owe its origin to the dramatic turn of events that took place in the German countryside five centuries ago.”


“Eastern Panhandle native Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. — a renowned Harvard scholar who hosts a TV ancestry show — is special to the Mountain State. He won a MacArthur “genius award,” wrote a book about his Appalachian boyhood, and was The Sunday Gazette-Mail West Virginian of the Year in 1994.

In a recent Time magazine interview, Dr. Gates pointed out that — despite the division of homo sapiens into thousands of tribes and skin colors — all people are connected to each other.

“We’re all related,” he said. “If you go back far enough, everybody came out of Africa.”

As for Americans (except Indians), he said, “We’re all descended from people who came to this country from somewhere else. … America is a nation of immigrants. The contributions of any of its many elements are just as great as the contributions of any of its other elements.””


“While a small team of Pressenza editors is in Santiago to cover the Chilean elections, we had the chance to meet Mario Aguilar, the President of the Chilean Teachers’ Association, the largest trade union in Chile. Mario, whose background is as a teacher of Physical Education, was first an activist in the Chilean Humanist Party almost since its formation, and for a short time held a post in the Ministry of Education in the first post-dictatorship government, resigning his position, along with all other humanists with roles in national government, after it became apparent that the project to bring democracy to Chile had turned into a project to deepen the neoliberal ideology installed by Pinochet.

Today the union has over 70,000 members.

Over the course of two hours we could talk with Mario about how he got where he is today, the use of communication media to communicate directly with teachers, how for him the policies that the membership have voted for act as a straightjacket that must necessarily limit one’s freedom of response, the conflicts currently facing teachers, and how he strives not to be a leader of anyone, but a spokesperson for the union’s members.”


“SHANGHAI, Nov. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The National Commendation Meeting of Spiritual Civilization Construction was held in Beijing on November 17. Shanghai Fu Shou Yuan Industrial Development Co., Ltd., as Fu Shou Yuan International Group’s parent company and one of the three award-winning death care service providers, was honorably listed on the fifth list of National Civilized Organizations in Facilitating Cultural and Ethical Progress.

On November 21, the Shanghai Symposium of Spiritual Civilization Construction was convened at Friendship Hall of Shanghai Exhibition Center. On behalf of Shanghai Fu Shou Yuan, Yi Hua, Chief Brand Officer of Fu Shou Yuan International Group, attended the symposium with representatives of award-winning organizations such as Shanghai Pudong People’s Court, Oriental Broadcasting Center of Shanghai Media Group, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and Shanghai Longhua Funeral Parlor.”


“It has been exactly 500 years since Martin Luther wrote his 95 Theses in 1517, and precipitated religious reforms that ultimately led to enlightened and tolerant societies we now see in the West. In comparison, if we look at the Indian sub-continent of the 15th and 16th centuries we do see religious currents in the shape of Bhakti Movement, Mahdavi Movement led by Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri, Baba Guru Nanak’s movement that later became a fully-fledged religion of Sikhism, Emperor Akbar’s Aaeen-e-Rahnamuni (which some people latter dubbed as Din-e-Ilahi), and Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s (later known as Mujaddad-e-Alf Saani) movement against Akbar’s religious antics.

In India, the causes and results of these movements were entirely different from the ones that expedited the religious reforms in Europe. The purpose of this article is to have a look at the religious changes that took place in Europe 500 years ago and understand how the Western civilization has benefitted from those changes. The article will also attempt to draw some conclusions and lessons that may help us understand how Europe embraced religious reformation, albeit after a lot of bloodshed, but our region despite having witnessed numerous religious movements almost at the same time never truly benefitted from them, and if it did at all it was only at a much smaller scale in comparison with Europe.”



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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