Greg Epstein: Humanism in the Age of Trump


Sunday, July 9, 2017 (All day)


30 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
“Don’t Believe in God? You’re Not Alone.” That was one of the slogans on ads adorning Boston’s Red Line T, the New York City Subway, and busses and billboards nationwide, when Greg Epstein’s book Good Without God was published back in 2009. At that moment, atheism and agnosticism were becoming not only more common, but more normal. Greg’s message was that the nonreligious have a positive, inspiring and ethical way of life -- call it humanism if you like the word -- and that “lifestance” had made the world better in countless ways, from its critique of religious hypocrisy in ancient India to its leading role in the struggle for women’s rights and civil rights in the modern west. At the heart of normalizing goodness without god, Greg argued, was building community; and since then we’ve built the Humanist Hub, a vibrant community meeting every day at our own center in Harvard Square, and with a vision that nonreligious communities like ours can one day spread across and help improve the entire world. Of course, now it is 2017 and for many of us, nothing feels normal. We’ve entered an era that seems dominated by Donald Trump, the Alternative Right, ISIS, and other developments that liberals, progressives and moderates find...worrisome, to say the least. When healthcare is at stake, civil rights victories are being rolled back, immigrants are under siege, and every kind of marginalized group is in a state of nearly constant concern, it is hard to feel optimistic that new communities can rise up and change society for the better. Even though life at the Humanist Hub has been busier than ever this year, the nonreligious community nationwide has been struggling to maintain gains made in participation and fundraising, during the Obama era. And the Humanist Hub, at least financially, has not been immune to such challenges. What are we atheists, agnostics and allies to make of all this? What does it mean, in other words, to be Good Without God in the age of Trump? Join Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and the Humanist Hub’s Executive Director, for a special summer talk (with music, food, poetry, discussion, and more) about the values of humanism and why they are more relevant than ever, today. Because in a time of “fake news,” we need real science and true facts. And in an era in which so-called “identitarians” speak of driving minorities out of this country, we nonreligious people can no longer afford to simply shrug and say, “I’m nothing.” We’ve got to know and understand our humanistic identity in order to help lead a more inclusive, compassionate society. A few days later, Greg will give a similar talk at New York’s famous Chautauqua Institution as part of a dialogue he was invited to have with broadcast journalism legend Bill Moyers, on a crisis of faith in American religion and values. Come be part of the conversation!

Pluralism Project Summary:

On Sunday, July 9th, The Humanist Hub hosted “Greg Epstein: Humanism in the Age of Trump” at its Cambridge building. It was attended by approximately 60 people, including several longtime members of the community as well as first-time attendees. Hub Executive Director Greg Epstein was the event’s speaker and he addressed the issue of how to be Humanist within the era of the Trump regime. He spoke extensively about the work that people within the Humanist community could do, and the possibilities of their outlook in creating a better world. He also touched on the importance of creating communities that are willing to work together to combat what he referred to as the “darkness of our time.” Drawing from his experience as a new parent, Epstein mused on our responsibilities as inhabitors of the world, and encouraged the audience to use their energies for good.

This summary was written by a Pluralism Project staff member who attended the event.