Sunday Platform - Joe Chuman: A Humanist's Search for Absolutes

Date: 
Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 11:00am
Location: 
Ceremonial Hall - 4th floor
Admission: 
Free

In my universe there are no ghosts, angels or gods. I see and feel no need for a divine custodian. Yet, at the same time, I confess that I am not quite a secular humanist. By temperament I am driven to seek something more than is discernible by the world of sense. I seek for something that does not change beyond the world of flux; something that stands beyond what we know or perhaps can be known. Perhaps it is an idea, an intuition of lasting beauty, impersonal and abstract, yet inextinguishable from my thought and yearning. It is a source of reverence and contemplation that elevates beyond the practical and the fulfillment of mundane aspirations. I plan to share such speculations.

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Felix Adler, our Movement's founder, once said "Ethical Culture is religious for those who are religiously minded and merely ethical to those who are not so minded." I think what Adler was implying was that whether we view Ethical Culture (and reality as a whole) religiously or not is a function of temperament. And Adler made clear that he was of a religiously minded temperament.

Here's a personal confession of my own. I am a humanist and a philosophical naturist. I believe that nature is all that there is and there is nothing outside of nature. I therefore give no credence to supernaturalism and supernatural beings. In my universe there are no ghosts, angels or gods. I see and feel no need for a divine custodian. Yet, at the same time, I confess that I am not quite a secular humanist. By temperament I am driven to seek something more than is discernible by the world of sense. I seek for something that does not change beyond the world of flux; something that stands beyond what we know or perhaps can be known. Perhaps it is an idea, an intuition of lasting beauty, impersonal and abstract, yet inextinguishable from my thought and yearning. It is a source of reverence and contemplation that elevates beyond the practical and the fulfillment of mundane aspirations. I plan to share such speculations. I hope you can join me.

This week’s shared charity is the Northern New Jersey Sanctuary Coalition, which sponsors people who have applied for political asylum and been released from federal detention, and for selected other asylum seekers — helping them to establish themselves and achieve durable self-sufficiency, with care and support as they become increasingly independent and able to support themselves. Among the services provided are housing, access to medical care, financial support, educational opportunities including language instruction, transportation, social events, liaison with attorneys, and help with job searches and dealing with bureaucratic offices.

Presider: Kathleen O'Connell

Shared Charity: