Sunday, October 21, 2012

Secularists, please take a moment of silence for Paul Kurtz.

If one could finger one person as a “founder” of modern, post-World War II secular humanism in the United States, it would be Kurtz, the creator of Humanist Manifesto II and an energizer of a more activist, more engaged secular humanism. Beyond that, he founded Prometheus Books to give secular humanism its own “voice.”

Well, he died today.

Sadly, in a power struggle and a philosophy struggle, the Council on Secular Humanism booted him from his leadership posts two years ago. Kurtz had opposed the rise of “New Atheism” or “Gnu Atheism” if you will, due to a confrontationalist psychology it espoused, which I have previously argued was and is a “tar baby” mirror of Christian fundamentalism’s evangelism style.

No, Kurtz wasn’t perfect, and perhaps could have been a better financial manager of CFI.

That said, Wikipedia’s entry well sums up Kurtz’s philosophy in one short paragraph:
Kurtz believed that the nonreligious members of the community should take a positive view on life. Religious skepticism, according to Paul Kurtz, is only one aspect of the secular humanistic outlook.
Indeed. And, vis a vis Gnu Atheism, Kurtz wanted to look at positive ways to collaborate with religious people of faith, positive ways to present what secular humanism is about and more.

I don’t know who will be the primary leader of his new (of 2009) institution, Institute for Science and Human Values. But, let’s hope that there’s a centralized voice for carrying on his vision about secular humanism.

No comments: