Today we inducted a new family as members of the Society: Lindsay Siegal and Matt Kelley and their children, Toby and Geoffrey. We welcome them to our humanist community. In the picture from left to right are Joe Chuman, Leader of the Society, Diana Gross, membership chairperson, the Siegal-Kelley family and Susan Lesh, President of the Society.
After the brief induction ceremony, Joe Chuman, leader of the Ethical Culture Society, spoke on the topic “Is Nothing Sacred?” The platform address was devoted to the question of whether it is possible for people who do not affirm belief in a Supreme Being or a supernatural reality can, nevertheless,can have a concept of the sacred, especially as applied to human beings.
Joe drew on the thinking of the legal theorist Ronald Dworkin. In Dworkin’s view a notion of secular sacredness is possible. He argues that the sacredness of the human being is derived from the fact that we are the product of extraordinary creative and complex processes that inspire awe. In short, the sacred applied to human beings is analogous
to the feelings we attribute to great art. Human beings, in other words, are masterpieces, sacred creations and thereby worthy of our respect and protection. Chuman went on to contrast Dworkin’s view with traditional religious arguments and noted the strengths and weaknesses of both positions.
Please join us next week when Gordon MacInnes will speak on the topic, “How New Jersey dug its own hole deep enough to endanger its future”. Gordon is President of the New Jersey Policy Perspective.