Minneapolis, where we're holding this General Assembly currently, is really the birthplace of Humanism, or at least this modern incarnation of Humanism as it relates to our movement. There's a wonderful all-day series on Humanism on Saturday which I will not attend because it conflicts with important plenaries, but which is a wonderful opportunity to experience and learn about Humanism here in its heart.
But what I did get to do was go to a workshop with Greg Epstein, the Harvard Humanist chaplain, author of Good Without God. Greg Epstein is a delight, and I say that not just because he's from Michigan and a University of Michigan grad, although that helps. Greg Epstein is a pioneer of the "New Humanism," which stands in contrast to the "New Atheism." New Humanism is a positive articulation of what we believe, and Greg Epstein's interpretation of Humanism is very much in keeping with interfaith work, rather than being opposed to all religion, as the New Atheists are.
As a Humanist Unitarian Universalist, I've said to my own congregation that whatever type of Unitarian Universalist you are, as a faith we are open to new possibilites, we are not dogmatic, and we believe in working with and learning from people with different beliefs than our own. That goes for our UU Christians, and it goes for our UU Pagans, and it goes for our UU Humanists. This "New Humanism" is what we, at our best, are and are always becoming. Unfortunately, of course, we don't always live up to that vision. And that's why it's great for us to have someone like Greg Epstein articulate it at our General Assembly to a large crowd of UU Humanists.