After nearly thirty people attended our God Delusion book club last month, we were wondering whether we’d get another large turnout this month with a less known and read book – Greg Epstein’s Good Without God.
Well, as luck would have it, we ended up with nearly twenty people this time, again stretching out ability to manage a small discussion over a large group. There were several new faces this time, and a few returners.
Most liked the book, finding it a good description of humanism, and one went so far as saying it was among the most precise summations of his worldview he had ever read and he planned to email Epstein personally thanking him for the book.
Others lacked the same enthusiasm, with one suggesting that the humanism Epstein proposed lacked a core axiom like libertarianism’s fundamental right to the property of the self. Another found it lacking in empiricism.
We also found a bit of disagreement on the necessity for humanist chaplains, and some felt ill at ease over his description of humanism as a faith.
But it wouldn’t be a freethinkers book club if we all agreed on everything, so with some moderation, we successfully teased out a few counterpoints to most ideas.
Most recognized the need for humanists to do more. We lamented that our best quality – our rejection of authority – often works against ourselves whenever we try to build institutions of humanism. We often try so hard not to be like the religious in our actions that we have difficulty finding volunteers or donations to build our capacity.
Regardless though, many were inspired by the book, and are interested in promoting a good life beyond religion.
The timing of this book club works really well as tomorrow morning the BC Humanists are meeting with the Humanists of the North Puget Sound (from Washington state) at the Peace Arch Park for our annual picnic. For anyone else who’s in the area and wants to drop by, you can find the details here, but basically we’re meeting on the US side at 11 am for food, friends, and a couple games.