Many humanists wonder why it doesn't much attract younger people. Most of us are older and we need to recruit the younger generation is we want it so survive, lest it die out when we as individuals die. So how then can we bring them to this philosophy that is so meaningful to us? This sermon last Sunday from the pastor of UU Santa Fe helps us to realize that we are in dire need of updating humanism is we want to carry it forward into the future.
After giving a brief history of humanism's early, sweeping, optimistic, liberal enlightenment hope that reason and science would solve all of our problems, exemplified for example in Star Trek. But younger people today are not buying it. They feel betrayed by such a vision, since it hasn't solved the problems they see all around them. We live in times of turmoil, disease, death, climate chaos, the rise of fascism, income inequality and attacks on the very nature of truth.
And yet some forms of humanism are adapting to the above. While it maintains its core principles, nevertheless it needs to be more humble. Our problems are much more complicated than perhaps we assumed in those optimistic times. We need to take more recent advances in cognitive science to expand our humanism, that rationality itself relies on integrating our emotions, bodies and interactions with nature and culture. We need to include former ways of knowing that we perhaps rejected as irrational, like ancestral, indigenous traditions of story and ritual. And perhaps most importantly, we need to expand the very definition of science as the arbiter of absolute, objective reality to one that explores the very nature of how humans perceive and conceive, which filters that reality based on unconscious assumptions.