If there is no god, from where do we get our hope?; Joseph Chuman, PhD Leader of The Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, New Jersey

For those who are traditionally religious, hope is derived from belief in a Divine Being who promises that all will work out for the best in the end. But for humanists, who doubt the existence of such a being, what are the sources of hope, especially when we are challenged by life’s misfortunes and tragedies?

Dr. Chuman has been the leader of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, NJ, for 30 years. He has a doctorate in religion from Columbia University where he teaches seminars in religion and human rights for master’s and doctoral students.

Dr. Chuman also teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hunter College, and has taught at the United Nations University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. He has published numerous articles in the Bergen Record and has also had articles published in The New York Times, The Humanist, Free Inquiry, Humanistic Judaism, and other periodicals. His articles on Ethical Culture and religion have appeared in several encyclopedias.

As an activist, Dr. Chuman has worked on many progressive causes, notably on behalf of human rights and civil liberties and in opposition to the death penalty. He has recently initiated a sanctuary program for asylum seekers detained at the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, NJ.

“I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” – Elie Wiesel