Historic hymn and worship resource: something for the Humanists

Hello, Humanists? I hope you don’t feel too slighted on this blog; it’s only that I feel a particular mission to the Christian part of liberal religion and Unitarian Universalism in particular. But many of the same hymnological themes I’ve been writing about recently (and many of the worship themes I’ll be turning to) have parallels in the “churchly” side of turn of the twentieth century radical dissent, the spirit of which is the inheritance of Religious Humanism and Ethical Culture.

See the following three resources editored or written by Stanton Coit. I’ve written about the second two before, but the first seems to be recently scanned and published.

I’m still hoping to get or copy his 1914 Social Worship, but it’s quite hard to find around here. Perhaps a trip to Brown University Library over General Assembly.

The prospect of appealing humanism

It’s become quite the rage for non-theist, anti-theist and (so-called) freethought movements to use public advertising — say, on buses or in the subway system; this is certainly true here in Washington — to make their case.

I just wish it was a better case, which to my Christian ears sounds a lot like “You can be good without having an adolescent’s view of God.” Far from edgy or patently true, these ads seem — well — smug or petulant, as if the image of the cranky, smug, petulant atheist didn’t get enough play.

And that’s all well and good if your goal is stronger church-state separation, say, but if the goal is to be an appealing option to inherited religiosity or brunch culture, it needs to have a story and a way for persons to identify with it.

In short, dust off a copy of the long version of Cosmos. While it’s three decades old, Carl Sagan et alia has done a better job than anyone I can think of to sidestep the question of God — the right approach — and posit the idea of being human in the “forty thousand generations” of human development, and then to place our world in the context of a fascinating and almost unimaginably large universe.

It’s still quite thrilling — and a meaningful humanism — and available through the instant view service of Netflix, if you’re a subscriber.