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Making the Manifesto

The Birth of Religious Humanism

William F. Schulz

This is the story of religious humanism, a movement that sought to construct a religion without God, a religion that put its faith in humanity rather than divinity. Rooted in antiquity, in Francis Bacon and René Descartes, in deism and the teachings of the philosophes, the religious humanist movement in the U.S. reached its height in the 1920s and 1930s, leading to the signing of its keystone document, the Humanist Manifesto of 1933.

William Schulz is former executive director of Amnesty International USA and a former president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (1985-1993). He received his doctorate in ministry from Meadville Lombard Theological School. Schulz was named "Humanist of the Year" by the American Humanist Association in 2000. He is also the author of In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All.

Praise for Making the Manifesto:

"Making the Manifesto revives our interest in a historic document that not only broke fresh theological ground in 1933 but also challenged the conventional religious thinking of its day. It is nearly seventy years since the Humanist Manifesto was first published, yet some of its ideas—particularly those that speak to the relationship between science and religious faith—are as compelling now as they were threatening then. William Schulz's research is meticulous and comprehensive. Anyone concerned for the health and future of religion in this country would do well to pick up this volume and revisit the debates that gripped our country two generations ago. There is still much to learn from the struggles in which those intellectual titans engaged one another."
—Rabbi Balfour Brickner

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Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

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