Happy Heresy of Humanism

College for Seniors (OLLI)


Fall 2021

Session One

Introduction to Humanism

Anthony Pinn, What is Humanism?

Epstein: Who, What, Why is Humanism?

Goldstein: Foreword to Creating Change

Harvard Pluralism: Humanist History

Humanist Organizations

Primary Resources for this course:

Greg Epstein, Good Without God

Roy Speckhardt, Creating Change Through Humanism

Anthony Pinn, What is Humanism and Why Does it Matter?; Humanism: Essays on Race, Religion and Popular Culture; Writing God’s Obituary; When Colorblindness isn’t the Answer

Sikivu Hutchinson, Humanists in the Hood

Corliss Lamont, The Philosophy of Humanism

American Humanist Association

Humanists International

Dr. Anthony Fauci (C-Span)

Humanist of the Year

PRRI-Religiously Unaffiliated

Session Two

Who is a Humanist?

Epstein-Golden Rule, Ethics

Humanism and its Aspirations

What Does it Mean to be a Humanist?

Are You A Humanist?

Famous Humanists

Fry: “How Can I Be Happy”

Session Three

Humanism, Religion and Social Issues

Anne Lamott

Humanism as a Belief System (Harvard)

Humanism, Religion, Theism

Lamont: Humanism and Religion

Lamont: Ethics

Black, Feminist, Humanist (Sikivu Hutchinson)

Justice-Centered Humanism (Speckhardt)

Ten Commitments-Empathy

Bonya Ahmed: TED Exeter

India: Narendra Dabholkar: Anti-Superstition

Saudi Arabia



Separation of Religion and Government

Prothero: Religion and Coming Home to Humanity

Jessica Ahlquist: Student activist

Session Four

Humanism and Nature

Human Nature/non-Human Nature

Ten Commitments

E.O. Wilson

Humans are not the center of the universe, and we need to be honest, to have a sense of humility about our place in it.






Marcus Aurelius: Nature & The Good

Terry Tempest Williams–Natural Sanctuaries

John Muir on Human Supremacy

John Muir: Muiracles

Session Five

Humanism (Philosophy) and Freethought (critical thinking + constructive action)

Humanism-Pocket Version

Humanists at Risk

The Amsterdam Declaration (2002)

Robert Green Ingersoll-Humanity

Helen Hamilton Gardener-Creed

James Baldwin: A Talk to Teachers

Religious Privilege

Katherine Stewart-Christian Nationalism

Thomas Jefferson-Letter to Danbury Baptists

Leo Igwe (TED Talk)

Nietzsche: Freethinkers

Session Six

Future History of Humanism

Epstein-Focus on Good

“One Day” (YouTube)–Human kindness

The Future of Humanism

Sasha Sagan: Small Creatures

Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

Highland: Is There an Invasion of Humanism?

Lamont: Humanism Defined

Zuckerman: Secular Nation

Inter-worldview Cooperation

Interfaith Youth Core

“IFYC is a national non-profit working towards an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together.”


“A Humanist Chaplain provides pastoral care based on Humanist principles. The Humanist Chaplain gives information, advice, and consultation about existential questions.”

Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy


Congressional Freethought Caucus (secular political leadership)

Naturalists-Wendell Berry

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