Encountering Secular Humanism and "Faitheism"
Conversation with Chris Stedman
Date & Time:
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM Thursday, November 16, 12:00 noon
Iversen Hearth Room (room 340), Anderson Student Center
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus
2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN
refreshments and cookies provided; please bring your own lunch
This session is part four of an eight part series running through the 2017-2018 academic year titled Encountering Religious and Cultural Traditions: A Series Fostering Religious Literacy and Interreligious Understanding. In this session, Chris Stedman will teach about the lived experience of Secular Humanism and address some common misconceptions and stereotypes people have of about it.
Renowned scholar of religion Wilfred Cantwell Smith argued that in order to “understand Buddhists, we must not look at something called Buddhism but at the world so far as possible through Buddhist eyes.” Likewise, in order to understand Judaism, Hinduism, and so on, we must not look at Judaism, Hinduism and so on, but at the worldviews of Jews, Hindus, and so on. In his New York Times Bestseller, Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero writes “I am convinced that one needs to know something about the world’s religions in order to be truly educated,” and argues that “you need religious literacy in order to be an effective citizen.” This year-long series aims to foster religious literacy and interreligious understanding by examining the world through the eyes of religious scholars and practitioners from various traditions. They will share their own lived experiences of their traditions and also address common stereotypes and misconceptions.
Chris Stedman is the founding executive director of the Humanist Center of Minnesota. Formerly the founding executive director of the Yale Humanist Community and a fellow at Yale University, Chris has also worked as a humanist chaplain at Harvard University and a content developer and trainer for Interfaith Youth Core. He currently serves as a fellow at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship and at the Christensen Center for Vocation, both at Augsburg College.
Chris is the author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, "an intimate and deeply affecting portrait… [that] proves [he is] an activist in the truest sense and one to watch” (Booklist, Starred Review). He has appeared on CNN, msnbc, PBS, and Fox News, has spoken at hundreds of conferences and universities, and has written for publications including Salon, CNN, msnbc, The Advocate, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and The Washington Post. Details magazine named him one of "five next-gen gurus who are disrupting religion's status quo" and Mic called him "the millennial who's busting every stereotype about atheists." He holds a summa cum laude B.A. in Religion from Augsburg College (with minors in English and Social Welfare) and an M.A. in Religion from Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago, for which he was awarded the Billings Prize for Most Outstanding Scholastic Achievement.