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Reason and Reverence

Religious Humanism for the 21st Century

William R. Murry

Answering the critics who find humanism lacking the power to inspire, Murry brings a new vision of religious humanism—one that evokes compassion, spirituality and a language of reverence while grounded in reason, community, social responsibility, science and ethics. Along with an accessible account of humanism's historical development, theological challenges and future directions, on these pages readers will discover a more open and inclusive humanism, one that speaks to the heart as well as the mind.

William R. Murry served as president and academic dean of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago from 1997 to 2003, was minister of River Road Unitarian Church in Bethesda, Maryland from 1981 to 1997 and has been a college professor and a college chaplain. He holds a doctorate in theology and culture from Drew University and a master of divinity degree from Yale University. He is the author of A Faith for All Seasons: Liberal Religion and the Crises of Life (River Road Press). He and his wife, Barbara, have three children and four grandchildren.

Praise for Reason and Reverence:

"Though Murry challenges traditional humanism, he seeks not to abandon it but to revivify it. Be we humanists or not, this is a book for all who care about liberal theology and the future of Unitarian Universalism."
—William F. Schulz, executive director, Amnesty International USA, 1994-2006; UUA president, 1985-1993

"Reason and Reverence is an invaluable resource for those wishing to explore new visions for contemporary religious humanism. Informed by the latest scholarship, Murry presents an accessible account of humanism's historical development, theological challenges and future directions. He addresses the questions many Unitarian Universalists are asking today. An excellent choice for individuals and groups who want to expand and deepen their understanding of non-theistic liberal religious alternatives."
—Rev. Dr. Carol Hepokoski, minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church, Rochester, Minnesota

"William R. Murry, surely one of the brightest stars in the convergent Unitarian Universalist and humanist galaxies, presents a powerful, clear-eyed, eloquent and comprehensive guide to a revitalized, forward-looking positive humanism. Standing on the shoulders of great Unitarian Universalists and humanists, past and present, Murry points us toward what should be the core of our expanding faith. I wish I had written this book."
—Edd Doerr, president, Americans for Religious Liberty; immediate past president, American Humanist Association

"Reason and Reverence is one of the best systematic affirmations of humanism as a way of life since Corliss Lamont's The Philosophy of Humanism. It updates humanism by responding to black humanists, feminists and the ecocrisis. Murry answers critics of humanism by addressing reason, science, feelings, evil, ethics and death, anchoring humanism in a scientifically based religious naturalism, showing that humanism is not a big, bad boogeyman. "
—Jerome A. Stone, Ph.D., adjunct professor, Meadville Lombard Theological School

"An essential resource for all who want to understand the rich heritage and unfolding possibilities of religious humanism for living fully in a complex world with wonder, honesty and hope."
—Dr. Sharon D. Welch, Chair and Professor of Religious Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia

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Last updated on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.

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