Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why Humanism?

One of the first things I did after discovering Humanistic Judaism was to read the book Good Without God by Rabbi Greg M. Epstein. He's a Humanistic Rabbi and the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard. What I took from it is the idea that Humanists apply reason to all things, including religion, and that Humanists believe in dignity for all people. I like those ideas.

I want to be part of a religion that encourages thought and reason, and I believe it's part of being good to fight for what is right. "Dignity for all people" is a bit of a vague concept, but it is a standard against which to consider ethical dilemmas. One can clearly see that gay marriage needs to be legal in order to allow gay people the same dignity as straight people. Or that discrimination on the basis of gender or race is wrong. It makes a good lesson for the Little Jewess--a way for her to examine her own actions when she encounters difficult decisions as she grows up.

And I like that as a Humanist I can keep being Jewish and use the texts of my heritage as a starting point. As Jews, we have centuries of ethical and theological discussions that have been written down. We can read and study them and then come to our own conclusions. I'd like to find a community to help me do that.

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