The Journey Through Atheism to Humanism, Ethical Culture and Beyond

Peter Bishop

August 26, 2012

Peter Bishop


Here at the Humanist Community, we have some members who, when asked what their religion is, reply with either: “none,” or “atheism,” rather than replying with “Humanism.” Peter will consider the philosophical journey that goes through atheism, which proceeds on to humanism, and also to Ethical Culture, and to show where it may go beyond these points to an even more mature philosophical and religious outlook, which HCSV members may find themselves comfortable describing as Humanism.

Peter, a long-time HCSV member, now lives in Washington, DC.  While here, he set up a Humanist Sunday School, started one of the first Rational Recovery Chapters, and served on the Board of HCSV. Peter will discuss the progress of his views of humanism.

Later in the day Peter spoke on “The Essays of Pope and Bishop.”  This included comments on the Essay on Man by Alexander Pope in 1735, The Gods of Pegana by Lord Dunsany in 1910, and The Ode on Reason and Faith: A Temporal Helix of Twelve Turns by Margaret (Peggy) McConn Bishop.  Peter also referenced The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine and the Halting Problem in Computability Theory.  His major theme is the Separation of Myth and Reality.


Humanist Community Forum (2012-08-26): The Journey Through Atheism to Humanism, Ethical Culture and Beyond (Peter Bishop) from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.


Moral Luck, the “Natural Lottery,” and Mitt Romney

Jon Figdor (Humanist Chaplain at Stanford)

August 19, 2012

Jon Figdor

A child is born somewhere in America. Will she be born in a blue state, or red? Will she be born to a loving family, or into a family blighted by drug and alcohol abuse? Will she be born to a wealthy family, or into a family struggling to make ends meet? Questions like these will show how one’s luck in the “Natural Lottery,” have strong influences on individuals – in essence, making them more or less likely to be successful. Join Humanist Chaplain at Stanford, Jon Figdor (B.A. Vassar College: Philosophy, M.Div. Harvard Divinity School) for a conversation about Moral Luck, the “Natural Lottery,” and Mitt Romney.


Humanist Community Forum (2012-08-19): Moral Luck, the “Natural Lottery”, and Mitt Romney (Jon Figdor) from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.


An Atheist Album

Shelley Segal: Atheist, Humanist, Secular Singer

August 12, 2012

Shelley Segal

Segal, an Australia-based singer-songwriter, will  discuss and sing songs from her latest release, An Atheist Album, at She became involved in secular activism over two years ago,  despite her father being the president of a local synagogue. Her songs are a passionate response to dogmatic belief, inequality, religious oppression and the idea that only the devout can be grateful and good.  She enjoys bringing these controversial topics to public discourse and finds music to be an effective medium for expression and raising awareness.

In addition to her music Shelley told fascinating stories about secularism in Australia and about the history of each of her songs.   She said she was inspired by many people including Christopher Hitchens and his famous quote, “Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”   She has been supportive of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and of Maryam Narmazie who is active in support of women’s rights in Islamic Societies and particularly in Iran which is where she was born.  Shelley was assisted in her performance by Andrew Robertson.


Humanist Community Forum (2012-08-12): An Atheist Album (Shelley Segal) from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.


Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans

David Niose, President of the American Humanist Association

August 5, 2012

David Niose

Adapted from his book, Nonbeliever Nation: “Today’s culture wars are more heated than ever. Education, public policy, and the separation between church and state have become a battlefield, and many are frustrated with the success the Religious Right has had in shaping the national agenda, from putting the brakes on gay marriage in California to stripping textbooks in Texas of references to Thomas Jefferson. But today, a growing nonreligious minority, nearly 20 percent of Americans, are finally organizing and taking explicit political positions.”. In Nonbeliever Nation, Niose argues that America was never in fact a Christian nation and shows how the Religious Right successfully took control of the social and political narrative.”


Humanist Community Forum (2012-08-05) – Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans (David Niose) from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.


North Korea Today: What is Fact and What is Fiction?

Leslie Ashmore

July 29, 2012

This program will look at two portraits of North Korea today: first through the eyes of the best-selling fiction book The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, and second through the eyes of the award-winning non-fiction book Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick. Reports from people who have grown up in North Korea and escaped depict an Orwellian society where tens of thousands of Koreans are imprisoned and routinely beaten, neighbor turns against neighbor, and people are imprisoned almost by whim. What can we really say is true based on first person accounts and recent newspaper reports? Leslie Ashmore will discuss these issues. Ms. Ashmore has read about North Korea, written a book review of  The Orphan Master’s Son, and spoken to Adam Johnson about his recent visit to this troubled and troubling nation.


Humanist Community Forum (2012-07-29): North Korea Today: What is Fact and What is Fiction? (Leslie Ashmore) from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.