Best of Podcasts
Selected podcasts describing our Society and its philosophy
Each August for the last four years Kate has given a platform address comparing and contrasting Ethical Humanism with a different religious or philosophical tradition: Judaism, Buddhism, Unitarian Universalism, and secular humanism. In this age when many people choose to stay home on Sundays, or to belong to virtual communities rather than physical ones, we will take a slightly different angle and look at the similarities and differences between the Ethical Society and National Public Radio, which many members listen to religiously, so to speak.
Will Humanism End or Save Religion? A platform presented by Kate Lovelady, Leader of the St. Louis Ethical Society.
Also see Kate’s related blog post, Will Humanism End or Save Religion?
This platform looks at what Ethical Humanism has in common with secular humanism, and how it differs as a form of religious humanism.
Faces of humanism: Robert Ingersoll and Felix Adler
Hell has been a powerful image for thousands of years, although in more recent times many religious traditions have been moving away from the concept of hell. This platform address will look at hell’s history, how it’s been used, and what it means to abandon it. Ethical Humanism has never promoted the notion of hell, and while there are obvious good points to not believing in hell for oneself, there are also ethical and psychological issues with not having a “final jail” to which to consign people who have committed cruel acts. What does it mean to live in a world with no hell below us, as John Lennon sang?
As part of the Ethical Society’s new long-range plan, we are striving to strengthen our role in St. Louis as a welcoming home for humanists. The need for a home, or a home-away-from-home, is shared by many people, though we may have different ideas of what exactly that means to us and what that home should look like. There has been much discussion in recent years about community in America: people seem to be drifting away from traditional sources of community and toward sub-cultures, commercial transactions, virtual networks. How can humanists and our allies create community today? Why should we even want to?
A comparison of classical Buddhism and Ethical Humanism that explores the overlaps of these traditions, both of which are non-theistic and focused on practical ways to improve human life.
There is a lot of over-lap in the history of the Ethical Culture and Unitarian Universalism. Both are liberal religions that grew out of enlightenment ideals and free thought movements. Today, both tend to attract people of similar bent: social activists and others looking for community and inspiration without dogma. Many people have found a comfortable home in ‘ one religion and then the other, and some people continue to visit or belong to both. But there are also differences, in history, emphasis, and style that make each tradition distinctive and that cause most people to choose one or the other. This platform will explore the similarities and differences between Ethical Culture and our nearest religious neighbor, Unitarian Universalism, to increase our knowledge and appreciation of both.
I like periodically to update and present some of the great wisdom from our past. We need to know history in order not to repeat it, or not to have to re-invent it; there is a lot of historical thought that is surprisingly relevant to today. Unfortunately, that thinking can lose its power over the years due to changes in language and communication styles.
This Sunday we will explore the central ideas in “A Common Faith,” a seminal work on religious humanism by famous American philosopher John Dewey, who while not a member of an Ethical Society had close ties with our movement. His ideas were radical in his day, and remain radical in ours, and I will do my best to translate them into modern language so that they may re-inspire a new generation.
“The religious is any activity pursued in behalf of an ideal end against obstacles and in spite of threats of personal loss because of its general and enduring value.” – John Dewey
The U.S. Constitution explicitly prohibits any religious test for public office, yet polls reveal that Americans are less likely to vote for an atheist than a member of any other minority, and the presidential candidates as usual are vying to be named “Most Religious.” Americans also tell pollsters in over-whelming numbers that they believe in a god, yet more Americans are living outwardly-secular lives than ever before, and “angry atheist” books top the best-seller lists. What are the roots of anti-atheist prejudice and what is it really like being an atheist today? What is the duty of Ethical Culture, a “non-thiestic” religion that seeks to unite people on the common ground of ethics, to stand up for non-believers?