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This Week in Humanism 2018–01–21


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

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

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/01/21

“Over the next month, residents of Atlanta (GA) will see a billboard that reads “In Science We Trust”, courtesy of a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

FFRF member Jack Egger paid for the sign, which depicts an astronaut suspended in outer space to illustrate its slogan.

“If all of us had faith in science and humanism, we would improve life on Earth so fast,” says Egger. “By giving up supernaturalism, we all can have a more fulfilling life, with a brighter, more peaceful and predictable future.”

Notes Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, “We need to place our trust not in some deity to rescue us, but in reason, compassion and humanity. The only afterlife that should concern us is leaving our descendants a secure and pleasant planet and future.””


“News flash: Concord Monitor editorial board wiser than the “wrongheaded U.S. Supreme Court.” I refer to the Sunday Monitoreditorial, in which the editorial board decries the use of taxpayer dollars to support religious schools or religion-based instruction. The editorial quotes from Justice David Souter’s 2002 minority opinion concerning the Cleveland, Ohio, school voucher program. In that opinion, Justice Souter mentions many world religions. However, he leaves one out, namely secular humanism.

The word “religion” means “a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.” The adjective “religious” means “of, or relating to, or concerned with religion” ( Any human enterprise, including that of educating people, has a fundamental set of beliefs and practices that members of that enterprise practice, some of them are practiced religiously. In this light, it can be argued that public schools are also religious schools. While they are not Christian, nor Buddhist, they are secular humanists.”


“Vaikom Muhammad Basheer was perhaps the most Whitmanesque of Malayalam writers — he ‘contained multitudes’ and his creativity was defined by an all-embracing catholicity. A reappraisal on his 110th birth anniversary

Throughout Basheer’s creativity there is an aspect of secular humanism shining bright. This is very significant in the current context, when people in our society have withdrawn into the cocoons of caste and religion.

Basheer knew that the only thing which is going to survive is the spiritual unity of mankind. Perhaps, he understood this truth more than any other writer in Malayalam literature. He was not against religion but he sought to understand the reason why religions came up in the first place. He felt there are two ways to reform a person — through punishment and through love. Basheer always felt the second path was better.”


“The Renaissance was a period in Europe that marked a major break from medieval times. Now, we may be living through another transitional period driven, once again, by scientific revolution.

Shaking up the political and religious spheres, the Renaissance period saw the emergence of new sciences and new literary and artistic schools along with new political, social, and economic models.

It marked a time where education and discovery fundamentally shifted from authority and faith to scientific reasoning and thought. Many historians see this period as the beginning of the Modern Era, and that is largely due to the changes in thought that happened during this time.”


“The U.K.’s immigration officers have denied a Pakistani humanist’s application for asylum after he failed to adequately answer questions about Plato and Aristotle.

The man had sought protection in the U.K. after denouncing Islam and joining the Humanist U.K. organization, according to the Guardian. But the Home Office said Hamza bin Walayat’s inability to name any famous Greek philosophers who were humanistic revealed that his knowledge of humanism was “rudimentary at best.” The office reportedly concluded that Walayat’s fears of religious persecution in Pakistan — where he claimed he had received death threats from his own family — were unfounded.

Critics could counter that while Plato and Aristotle, influential Greek thinkers of the 5th century B.C. may have written works that influenced the humanist movement, they predated the emergence of both the Renaissance human-centric movement and the 19th century’s humanistic philosophical and ethical principles by several millennia.”



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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