Category: Humanist Voices

First-Person Humanism: Questioning the Biblical Filter in Search of Truth

By Justin Bovee

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. ~ Humanist Manifesto III
Humanism. A life lived in the service of others, lacking dogma, focusing on compassion and a better world for all humans based on the best evidence and the eternal search for truth. In contrast, had you asked me 10 years ago where my purpose for living came from, I would have opened with the Westminster Shorter Catechism: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.  

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Cohousing: An Antidote to Loneliness, a Path to Community

By Katherine Johnson

“Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.” That’s from Humanist Manifesto III. It has special significance for me right now because I’m devoting a great deal of time and energy to creating the first energy-efficient intentional community in the Twin Cities. 

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A Story of Persecution, Survival, and Annihilation with Lessons for Today

By Bob Aderhold

We were in Lübeck almost two years ago, walking down the street, when we came upon a little brass plaque, about four inches square, embedded in the sidewalk. My Aunt Ursula, who grew up there, explained it was a memorial to a Holocaust victim who lived at that address. I’d never seen these before. It had been a long time since I was last in Germany.

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Government Can Work – If It Follows the Evidence

By David Schultz

Hope is great when it comes to miracles. Belief is terrific when it comes to the Tooth Fairy. But neither hope nor belief should guide the making of public policy to solve our nation’s or Minnesota’s pressing problems, especially now. The making of good laws and government programs should be driven by facts and good evidence regarding what does work, otherwise taxpayer dollars maybe wasted.  Unfortunately, often that is not the case.

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First-Person Humanism: Becoming Captain of My Own Rational Ship

By Ellie Haylund

My “descent” into humanism began, like many of us, before I even had a name for it. At the ripe old age of 14, I had a stark realization: the concept of a god seemed silly. Magic was the word I used when I nervously confessed to my then (and still) best friend, Jenna. I grew up going to church, but it was a progressive, open-minded Congregational community that encouraged exploration.

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Local Humanist Leaders Explore Ways to Make Humanism Thrive

By Richard Logan

How do we build a thriving secular humanist future? How do we compete with organized religions, especially fundamentalist ones, which offer their members compelling narratives, a sense of meaning, a welcoming community, and comfort in times of distress? A panel of local humanist leaders explored those questions on Oct. 11 at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. They included Audrey Kingstrom, Humanists of Minnesota president; David Breeden, senior minister at First Unitarian Society; and Eva Cohen, Or Emet activist and rabbinic candidate. Paul Golin, executive director of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, moderated.

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Why I Write — And Why You Should Too

By Mary McLeod

My propensity to write letters to the editor is well known, but not well understood. When someone says to me, “I saw your last letter in the paper, and agreed with what you wrote,” I sometimes respond, “Well, I write a lot, because I consider the letters section our equivalent of the ‘public square.’ I’d love to see your letter published, too.”

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First-Person Humanism: Engaging the Younger Generation

By Michael Rauser

What do you believe in? It’s a question that everyone gets at some point in their life. For a lot of people, the answer depends on when and where you ask them. I know that answer has changed for me a lot. I grew up in a very religious family and realized at a young age that I was not very religious, or in fact religious at all. However, religion fascinated me.

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Getting in Touch with My Inner Conservative

By Harlan Garbell

Most of my life (yes, even including childhood) I have considered myself a “liberal.” This is no accident. My parents were dyed-in-the-wool FDR liberals, and union members, who always identified with the underdog. I recall despising Joe McCarthy as a kid while watching him on television demeaning his opponents.

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Chris Stedman: The Development of a Remarkable Humanist Leader

By Mary McLeod

Chris Stedman, a widely published, award-winning young gay humanist writer and advocate, is an important ally to Humanists of Minnesota now that he has returned to the Twin Cities. He is working to build a Humanist Center of Minnesota and conducting a study on ”nones,” or people with no religious affiliation.

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First-Person Humanism: A Passion to Help Others With Mental Illness

By Mick Anderson

People are often drawn to humanism because they have a passion about something that really matters in their lives. During the last six months I have met a lot of wonderful humanists who fit in that category. Let me tell you about one of my passions (besides my children, grandchildren, and music): helping others who have mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders.

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Remembering Matt Stark

By Paul Heffron

Matt Stark died on April 10 at age 88. You may have seen tributes in newspapers and freethought publications describing what a major force he was for civil rights in his positions with the American Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota. In his later years he and his wife, Terri, wintered in Florida, and he was less active when they were home in Minneapolis. So many of our newer members may never have met him or know that he was also a long-time member, and former board member, of Humanists of Minnesota.

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Coffee Is Not Just for Closers

By Harlan Garbell

If you are a movie buff, you may be familiar with David Mamet’s great screenplay for “Glengarry Glen Ross.” “Coffee is for closers” is the iconic tagline for that movie, one that has also seeped into the popular culture. Now that I have your attention: If you like coffee, but are not a “closer,” yet interested in politics and current events, come join other like-minded people for lively conversation on the second Friday of every month

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How Non-Religious Leaders Establish Credibility

By Sarah Kruger Hilger

Sarah Kruger Hilger interviewed Humanists of Minnesota members for a graduate-school study she is conducting on non-religious leaders. She is exploring how such individuals establish credibility when many Americans equate morality with religion.

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Appreciating Robert Ingersoll, the Humanistic Freethinker

By Paul Heffron

The Robert G. Ingersoll Birthplace Museum will celebrate its Silver Anniversary in August, prompting Paul Heffron, our chapter historian, to offer these reflections.

Although I completed a PhD program in American studies at the University of Minnesota, I don’t recall being made aware of Robert Ingersoll, one of the most prominent political, legal, and cultural figures of 19th-century America.

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