TOWARD A PROGRESSIVE PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY by Larry Reyka, Administrator The Humanist Specia

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TOWARD A PROGRESSIVE PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY by Larry Reyka, Administrator The Humanist Special Interest Group What is it that progressive social action groups have in common with one another? I believe it to be an underlying approach to life that does not differ significantly from that advanced by the Humanist societies. Regardless of what lip-service is paid to gods and religions, progressive social action groups -- like a great majority of individuals -- make their choices not on the dictates of ancient scriptures, but on the basis of human experience and our ability to reasonably foresee outcomes and to assess the desirability of those outcomes. The mere fact that these groups operate on the presumption that group or collective effort is more effective than prayer or merely waiting the arrival or return of a messiah-figure, in my opinion, makes these groups humanistic. Humanism offers an integrated philosophy which underlies the concerns of human rights, peace and justice, environmental, and other progressive groups spanning the gamut from NARAL and SANE to Greenpeace and Stonewall Union. How is this so? Let's examine a short list of well known American Humanists and see who we find. There is the founder of the Pullman Porter's Union, A. Phillip Randolph; reproductive rights activist Margaret Sanger; Gray Panthers founder Maggie Kuhn; and feminists from Betty Friedan to Gloria Steinem. The following excerpts from Humanist Manifesto II help illustrate the progressive philosophy advocated by Humanist societies: We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience . . . Ethics stems from human need and interest . . . Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures. . . . critical intelligence, infused by a sense of human caring, is the best method that humanity has for resolving problems. Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy . . . The preciousness and dignity of the individual is a central humanist value . . . We believe in maximum individual autonomy consonant with social responsibility. We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds . . . For the first time in human history, no part of humankind can be isolated from any other. Each person's future is in some way linked to all. We thus reaffirm a commitment to the building of world community, at the same time recognizing that this commits us to some hard choices. I invite any of you for whom the above strikes a responsive chord, whether in heart or mind, to give closer consideration to exploring the Humanist alternative! For further information, please contact -- The Humanist Special Interest Group PO Box 14123 Columbus, OH 43214-0123


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