It’s not just a pertinent question in religious terms but also exactly what I want to tell you about myself and this blog. I’m Autumn. I’m a humanist chaplain and I’m writing this blog because I know so many people who are not aware of the rich tradition of human belief that exists out there. For instance, I’m always asked, what is a humanist? To borrow from the American Humanist Association, humanism is
“a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity”
So, that’s humanism in a nutshell. But what does that actually mean? I mean, what is nontheism and theism anyway? Are they really so cut and dried? How do we decide what is ethical or, for that matter, how do we decide what is for the greater good of humanity? I’ll be exploring these questions and far, far more in this blog when talking about humanism. I’ll talk about my chaplaincy, what it is, what it means and why nontheists or atheists would even want a chaplaincy. But I also want to talk about much more than humanism. As I said before, I want to explore the beauty that is our human tapestry of belief (because even us atheists believe in something, even if it isn’t a deity). I am curious, in short, about how we all create meaning and purpose in our lives.
To this end, I’ve visited many churches, temples, synagogues and other spiritual centers from many, many traditions around the world. Both before and after visiting, I do a lot of research about the tradition and often talk about it with friends. To my surprise, I’ve found that very few people know the more interesting details about various religions. For instance, did you know that there is a breakaway sect of the Catholic church that ordains women and accepts the LGTBQ community? Do you know what the difference is between a Methodist and a Baptist? Do you know what Vedanta is? It’s my hope that by reading this blog, you’ll not only get to know a little more about a new faith but that you’ll be able to appreciate the many ways there are available to respond to the world. Maybe you’ll even create a new one for yourself.
I hope you’ll enjoy what I write and that you’ll chime in whenever you have a question or comment.