One Reply to “What a dangerous man might say”

  1. I’m a theist, but I’m a bit baffeled at how Unitarian humanism was described here.

    Most of the early Unitarian humanists, such as Rev. Curtis Reese, who signed the 1933 Humanist Manifesto were not materialists and they certainly were not deteriminists. At this time period, process philosophy was not an exclusive view of folks like Hartshorne, but was dominant in the thought of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead as well. When you read humanists from this time period you’ll likely find an understanding based on process thought not materialism.

    There’s also a misunderstanding of the phrase “no unique religious experience”. The Humanist Manifesto is not denying the reality of religious experience. Their denying that this is an experience which is unique and utterly different from any other kind of experience. If they were writing about aesthetic instead of religious experiences, given their (and my own) framework there would be no such thing as a “uniquely aesthetic experience” either.

    What they were arguing against was early 20th century liberal Christians who seemed to think that a religious experience was an utterly unconnected and separate deal. They would reason from this the neccessity of theism based on the said experience.

    If you read the first chapter of John Dewey’s A Common Faith, one will find that no experience can be separated in such a fashion. That is common in any organic philosophy. Any distinctions made, say between aesthetic and ethical, religious and intellectual, etc. are just functional. They don’t describe absolute lines which separate such things.

    There was a time in the early 20th century where the divisions in liberal religious thought were rather small, even when the terms seemed so different. One could an idealist personalist or one could be an atheist naturalist and find the same basic world view. That probably is not the case today. Which is a shame. Not because differences are bad, but because I’m rather partial to that particular process view which was so dominant in early 20th century American thought.

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