Part of a Series: American Humanist Retreat Center
A University of Toronto study says that individuals with strong religious beliefs may have lower stress levels when thinking about God… exposing atheists to religious beliefs provokes anxiety.
“I have a dream today.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.” – Gary Portnoy & Judy Hart Angelo
I have a dream. In the dream I am in a place where rationalism trumps ritual, where friendship trumps prejudice and where thought plus activism leads to progress every day. And in the dream there are Humanist communities all over the country that are alive and growing and speaking out.
I know a lot of you reading this share a part (or all) of my dream already. And that is why I want to share with you through this blog in the coming months, a very special part of the dream: The American Humanist Retreat Center.
The findings of the University of Toronto study mentioned above may or may not be accurate. But I don’t think many will question that nontheists do experience many of the same stresses of modern life that theists do, plus the stresses of being a non-conformist in a world that rewards conformity.
Many of us are at various stages in forming Humanist communities on a local level or participating in the American Humanist Association on a national level. In Phoenix, Arizona, where I lived for the past seven years, we have the first membership owned, full time Humanist Community Center. In at least twelve states and one province we have Camp Quest programs for kids. And Harvard has the Humanist Community Project (which sponsors this blog) supporting the further growth of Humanist communities without each one having to reinvent the wheel (or at least the same wheel).
I see the American Humanist Retreat Center as a place nontheists can get away from religiously-based communities and think, study, socialize or play. It would be a place for both structured and unstructured education. It would be a place for people of all ages and offering accommodations at different levels so that it could be available to people of varied economic levels. Some programs might be a day long and others might be a month or even longer.
Right now it’s just a dream. And until now it has been my dream. But now that I’ve shared it with you it can be our dream, if you want to dream it, too.
I know it isn’t easy to take a dream like this and make it come true, but I see what we’ve done in Phoenix and I know it is possible. In the coming months I’ll continue to share the dream and the specifics like philosophy, location/population, programs and fundraising. I hope those of you who want to share the dream with me will write in with your ideas.
Think about it. The American Humanist Retreat Center. Together we can make this a dream come true.