By Roy Speckhardt
Humanism is “the radical idea that you can be good without a god.” That’s how Roy Speckhardt, the longtime executive director of the American Humanist Association, defines it. His new book, Creating Change Through Humanism, lays out how and why people can lead moral and ethical lives without belief in a higher power. While surveys show that more and more Americans are giving up on religion, merely abandoning traditional religious faith is just one step on a path to a better way of thinking. Speckhardt explains how to take the next steps with the empathy and activism that characterize humanism today.
Humanism has inspired generations of individuals to improve themselves, their communities and their country. Creating Change Through Humanism describes how a humanist lifestance has influenced and can continue to advance acceptance, diversity and equality. Humanist ideals pervaded the U.S. from its founding, starting with the innovative idea of separating church and state to maintain a religiously-neutral government. Humanism has continued to propel our nation toward social progress by promoting basic human rights and dignity. The humanist movement, with its forward-thinking outlook and emphasis on critical thinking and self-reflection, has been at the forefront of such pressing social issues as civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality, responsible scientific freedom, and the environment and population dynamics.
Speckhardt interweaves personal stories, including his own, of individuals who have journeyed from organized religion to humanistic convictions. He encourages his readers to be open about their own lack of belief and to become active in social and political causes, so they can put their positive values into action and combat the anti-humanist prejudice propagated by the religious right.
Roy Speckhardt has served as the executive director of the American Humanist Association since 2005. He is a frequent media commentator who has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN Headline News, Fox News, and National Public Radio, among others. He writes a regular column for The Huffington Post and has written for Patheos, Washington Post's On Faith, and other publications. He has spoken at universities from Stanford to Oxford, and given speeches at national conferences across the United States. Speckhardt holds a Masters in Business Administration from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Mary Washington College.
"There have been plenty of books written to help you shed your faith. But Roy Speckhardt knows that not believing in God isn't enough. It's what you do with that understanding that really matters. And since God's not going to make the world a better place, it's up to us to fill that void. This book won't just convince you to give humanism a chance; it'll help you realize you've been a humanist this whole time."
---Hemant Mehta, editor of FriendlyAtheist.com
"Roy Speckhardt's book is a compelling invitation for people to engage actively in social and political life as humanists. Creating Change Through Humanism will speak powerfully to the hearts and minds of tens of millions of Americans who may not have a church but definitely have a calling to participate as citizens and moral actors in the challenges of our time. Roy Speckhardt has an important and urgent message."
---Jamie Raskin, professor of constitutional law at American University and Maryland State Senator
"It's hilarious that we live in a world where someone has to defend humanism. Who is against the humans? Unfortunately, far too many on the planet fight against reason and logic. Roy fights back with an excellent argument that defends humanism and makes a great case for coming out as a nontheist. The world would be a little bit more rational if we all listened to Roy's points."
---Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks and founder/CEO of TYT Network
"Creating Change opens the door from where we are to the future of the humanist movement...More recently, humanists and atheists have been trying to reconcile with the rest of society without compromising on who we are. Creating Change brooks no supernaturalism while illustrating an inspiring history of humanism, and explanation of why our struggle is important, and a positive expression of our beliefs and values. "
--Jason Torpy, President and Founder of the
Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF).
Read the full review here.
"In his ambitious and engaging work, Creating Change Through Humanism, Roy Speckhardt offers a deeply informed survey of the vibrant humanist landscape. Linking humanism to our embrace of democracy as well as individual, social and human rights, he explores how ideas and philosophies may be applied to modern issues and challenges, both political and personal. A thoughtful and important contribution to the canon."
---Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right's Stealth Assault on America's Children
Creating Change Through Humanism Book Talks
with Roy Speckhardt
Roy Speckhardt is available to give talks and lead discussions based around Creating Change Through Humanism.