The Humanist concept of community

Community is important to Humanists. We just haven’t been traditionally very good at building them. This is odd because we are almost all in agreement that what gives our lives the most meaning and satisfaction is our relationships with others.

In our defense, our movement is only 100-ish years old. And we are starting to build communities. The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard is a good example as is the Humanist Hall in Berkeley CA.

Regardless, groups of Humanists are finding ways to come together that don’t trigger our gut – don’t keep us separate from our fellow humans – knee jerk response. The best examples involve creating communities of Humanist volunteers, where we join together as Humanists to help other people. This allows us to come together in community in a way where the boundary between us vs them is intentionally and actively erased.

It is also possible that a reason we haven’t spent much time on community as a movement is that a key part of the practice of Humanism is accepting and reminding ourselves of our connection to the entirety of humanity, life, the universe and everything. We don’t spend a lot of time feeling alone because we aren’t. As Thomas Paine once said, My country is the world, my religion is to do good. Sounds like Humanism to me.

What does ‘community’ mean to you and what role does it play in your tradition? Please comment below…


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