Due to unfortunate travel-related circumstances, Dr. Leon Seltzer’s presentation on “Humanism and Spirituality” had to be shortened. However, since many attendees were interested in hearing the rest of his presentation, Dr. Seltzer’s paper on “Humanism and Spirituality” can be read here (PDF). He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title of Presentation: Spirituality Without God
Date & Time: Saturday, June 1 10:30 am
Presentation Summary: Characterizing one’s personal beliefs as “spiritual but not religious” has become increasingly common—which suggests that, more and more, spirituality is actually being contrasted with religion. This presentation will grapple with a variety of crucial questions humanists may need to ask themselves in the effort to effectively reach out to the broadest possible number of “seekers.”
These questions, largely definitional and closely linked, include:
-Can non-believers be spiritual?
-Is “secular spirituality”—or “spiritual atheism”—a contradiction or oxymoron?
-How do we distinguish the holy spirit from the human spirit?
-Where’s the common ground between humanism and spirituality?
-What spiritual values and ideals can secular humanists legitimately lay claim to? . . . and finally,
-How can spirituality be understood—and defined—empirically and naturalistically?
In sum, can humanists today (as opposed to their skeptical stance historically) begin to embrace the term “spiritual”—even as they scrupulously secularize it?
Biography: Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., holds doctorates in both English and Psychology. Formerly a tenured English professor, he eventually decided that knowledge about one’s self was—by far—the most vital form of learning. As a result, he changed careers to become a psychologist and, since 1986, has maintained a private practice in Del Mar, CA. The author of The Vision of Melville and Conrad and Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy, he has also published numerous essays in literature and psychology. Currently, he writes a popular blog for Psychology Today, where his many diverse articles have received over three million views.
Check out the Humanist magazine interview with Dr. Seltzer here.