Friends who’ve known me for very long probably know I’m not a religious person. You could call me a “none” — someone who doesn’t identify with any religion. You can even call me an agnostic. I don’t claim to know whether or not there is a god or gods, but I choose to live as though there are not.
I generally identify myself as a Humanist.
Although definitions vary, Humanists are basically people who are secular in orientation and who choose to live a life of service to humankind and to the planet we inhabit, without the promise of an eternal paradise or the threat of eternal torment.
The American Humanist Association uses the tagline, “Good without God.” I’m not particularly fond of that phrase because it implies that one cannot be a believer in God and be a Humanist. I don’t believe that. I think what separates Humanists from many Christians is not simply a lack of belief in God, but belief that one can lead an ethical, purposeful, and fulfilling life without fear of consequences in the afterlife. I know many Christians who deny the common evangelical claim that one cannot be good without “Jesus in their heart.” I consider them Humanists as well.
A more expansive definition, also taken from the AHA, reads as follows.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.
– American Humanist Association
A couple of months ago, I happened to be discussing this with a friend who shares my Humanist life stance. Together, we decided to test the waters to see if there were others in Clark County who would be interested in starting a Facebook group for local Humanists. Within 24 hours, we had 24 members. That soon grew to 33. It wasn’t long before people started asking about having an in-person meetup.
We quickly arranged to meet on Sunday, October 22. Nine of us met at The Hall downtown and quickly started getting to know one another and making plans for future meetings. We’ve decided to meet regularly on the third Wednesday of each month, and for now, we’ll continue meeting at The Hall.
I’m not sure where this will go, but I’m excited and energized to know there are others like me in Clark County. If you consider yourself a Humanist or are like-minded and curious about our group, we invite you to join us at The Hall this Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. The Hall will not be open to the public that evening as we have rented it out for our exclusive use. Come and see what we are all about.
The Hall Coffee & Social Club is located at 17 South Main Street in Winchester (the place formerly known as The Cairn.) The Humanists of Winchester will be meeting there on Wednesday, November 15 at 7 p.m.