many ways Paul Kurtz is the founding father of the FIG enterprise.
He is an internationally known philosopher and humanist, a founder
of Free Inquiry magazine and of the Skeptical Inquirer as well as of
their parent organizations. On all these topics Paul Kurtz has
written widely and well so that his books can be counted by the
dozen rather than by the volume. Among these tomes, the present
effort is the most accessible. Kurtz explains clearly and briefly in
160 pages what it means to reject supernatural explanations of
reality. He explains his understanding of humanism. He examines at
length the many concepts of religion in order to answer the
question: is humanism a religion? He further explores the need for
rational scientific thinking to arrive at a clear view of reality.
Kurtz coined the word and the concept of eupraxophy.
The word, from Latin and Greek roots literally means good, practical
knowledge. The concept refers to using practical wisdom and clear
thinking to arrive not only at an understanding of the universe, but
also at ideas and ways for living an ethical and satisfying life.
Kurtz sees eupraxophy as expressing secular humanism at its
best. He asserts that following its concepts will help create
meaningful lives and a just society.
examination of religions Kurtz does not stop at mere consideration
of monotheistic creeds. He examines Hinduism with many gods, and
Buddhism with none. He further looks at the religious concepts of
Dewey and Tillich which focus on how religion functions in persons'
lives rather than as belief systems. From all of these, or rather
despite them, he concludes secular humanism is not, can not be, and
does not function as a religion. It is rather a scientific and
naturalistic view of the world.
all good elders and shamans Paul Kurtz not only unearths and
examines the bones of our ancestors for what they teach, he also
sees the coming perils and endeavors to point the way for the
younger generation. The final section deals with "building
humanism in the future" (p. 127). It speaks of creating new
institutions, of Eupraxophy Centers and eupraxophers.
The ultimate need is to create a rational world community beyond
ethnicity, culture, political conviction and all the other
particularisms which divide us.
recommend this book to all secular humanists and would be eupraxophers.
-- Wolf Roder