- Valery Kuvakin. The Insufficiency of Atheism. “This statement on Atheism was prompted by the Archangelsk Anti-clerical Weeks programs… The experience of the Russian Humanist Society and my own worldview evolution provide ample substance for this conclusion: being an Atheist is not sufficient, and there is no such thing as a ‘pure Atheist’ or ‘just an Atheist’… [The word Atheism] essentially fails to address one thing which is probably most important – a person’s positive worldview, the ‘yes’ response to oneself and the world, something one pursues here and now, on this Earth, among people.”
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
- Vladimir Zakharov, member of the Russian Academy of Science. What to Save in Russian Science, and How. No Alternative to Academy of Science as an Organizing Pattern for Academic Research. “The destiny of Russia follows from the destiny of Russian science – this fact should underlie the country’s future development strategy. This means breaking the resistance of bureaucrats, who tend to discriminate between ‘useful’ and ‘useless’ scientific knowledge. Science owes nothing to no one – it exists for the sole purpose of being science. ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’. Let this rose bloom, and everything else will just follow. Science will produce knowledge, and industry will use it. But the rose is a tender plant… Science needs care, too. There are but two prerequisites: respect for the scientific profession, and adequate funding”.
THE PEDAGOGY OF HUMANISM
- Ethics to Enter School. Erast Kozlov, interviewed by the Direktor Shkoly (“School Director”) magazine. “…We have built a concept of secular moral education, built upon general human values…” “We ran into a wall of incomprehension. Previously, our course is Morality was at least included in curricula, but now Education Ministry officials say no. Unfortunately, the great Ushinsky maxim, ‘Morality is the gold setting of education’, is not yet accepted as an axiom by bureaucrats. Morality lessons are taught on an experimental basis only, as an option for school teachers, but the demand is growing all the time.”
- Moral Education at School. Experiences of Moscow Pilot Schools. Zdravy Smysl is publishing more feedback from teachers, including directors of general education schools that are participating in the pilot testing of a moral education program, designed by the Moral Education Laboratory of the Russian Academy for Education. Unanimously, they describe the program as effective and badly needed.
- Valery Kuvakin, A Journey to Oneself. Extracts from Becoming Oneself. “If the making of the Self is our internal duty and feat, then it implies that the Self must be manifested, ‘accomplished’. And that relies on the individual’s internal growth. This is why our Self is some kind of acquisition of internal wealth. But essentially it is a pivot and free-flowing energy of a mature person, capable of self-determination and reflection, of accepting and creating meaning and novelty. This self-transcendence creates, not only new realities, but also the human being as such.”
RELIGION AND SOCIETY
- Sergey Ivaneyev, Lieutenant Colonel of Justice, Professor of the Military Science Academy. Armed Forces Are Not a Church Reserve! “The purpose of this article is to prove that the mass-scale religiosity of servicemen is a potential source of conflict within a military element, because any religious system implies, both in its teaching and practice, an unfriendly (if not an outrightly hostile) attitude towards other religions.” “Observing the principles of freedom of conscience and secular state, the country’s Constitution, is fundamental for the consolidation of the Armed Forces community, prevention of ethnic and religious separatism, and ideological division.”
LAW AND HUMANISM
- Irina Rebrova. Documents on Human Rights and Obligations. “The article offers an overview of global declarative documents, both currently effective and proposed, that talk of human rights and obligations…” The author’s key message is that “Perhaps it’s time for the world community to prepare a draft declaration on human obligations, summarizing all the existing draft documents, and demand its adoption by the UN General Assembly; that will give it the same status as the previously adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.
WHAT IS HUMANISM?
- Valery Finogentov. The Semi-Religious Humanism and the Tragic Humanism. “…The very passion with which… religious philosophers were negating Humanism, suggests that they opposed a worldview that was typologically close to their own (religious) worldview… They rebutted, in particular, that kind of Humanism which may well be characterized as quasi-religious. Criticism and rebuttal of such Humanism I find absolutely necessary. However, the denial of quasi-religious Humanism, does not by any means prove a ‘failure’ and ‘self-decomposition’ of consistently non-religious (secular) Humanism. More importantly, criticism of Humanism by the above thinkers does not really affect the modern secular Humanism”.
- Yaroslav Golovin. On Religion and Church in the Swedish Society. “I will talk about just one aspect of the Swedish experience: that is, how religion and the Church are built into the political and social system of Sweden, and, in particular, how Religious Studies are taught at local schools”. “The church in Sweden does substantial social work for the benefit of homeless and refugees, it runs missions in some African countries, participates in pro-environment actions, offers a psychology help line service, etc.. It is far from being a retrograde community hating progress. It is a creation of the democratically and liberally minded Swedish society and not the worst part of it. When browsing through Swedish Humanist magazines, I found no criticism of the Church. Humanists are rather criticizing religious worldview in general than what the Church does.”
- Alexander Kruglov. Statutory Ethics and Situation Ethics (the final part). In author’s view, Statutory Ethics refers to the moral law, while Situation (Humanist) Ethics refers to a moral problem. He provides a step-by-step explanation of the difference between these two ethical attitudes. In addition, he analyzes the ethical philosophy of Joseph F. Fletcher, who invented the term ‘Situation Ethics’.
- Joseph F. Fletcher. Situation Ethics. The New Morality (Excerpts from the book). “There are at bottom only three alternative routes or approaches to follow in making moral decisions. They are: (1) the legalistic; (2) the antinomian, the opposite extreme – i.e., a lawless or unprincipled approach; and (3) the situational. All three have played their part in the history of Western morals, legalism being by far the most common and persistent. Just as legalism triumphed among the Jews after the exile, so, in spite of Jesus' and Paul's revolt against it, it has managed to dominate Christianity constantly from very early days. As we shall be seeing, in many real-life situations legalism demonstrates what Henry Miller, in a shrewd phrase, calls ‘the immorality of morality’…” “A third approach, in between legalism and antinomian unprincipledness, is situation ethics. (To jump from one polarity to the other would be only to go from the frying pan to the fire.) The situationist enters into every decisionmaking situation fully armed with the ethical maxims of his community and its heritage, and he treats them with respect as illuminators of his problems. Just the same he is prepared in any situation to compromise them or set them aside in the situation if love seems better served by doing so”.
- Alexander Smirnov. Lyrical and Philosophical Sketches – Small sketches from the Droplets on the Glass collection.
- Vsevolod Lyashenko. Humanist Party. Desirable? Possible? “Humanists are needed – both as scholarly professors and as practitioners of kindness. And we feel extreme deficiency of Humanism – like deficiency of a daily vitamin. Every night our fellow citizens are fed a new portion of TV cruelty, stupid supermanship and (forgive me) a slobbery kind of love, half-pornographic. And a Humanist who will command enough grace to go against that haze, and mock it at least… will be immediately likened to Sir Lancelot!.. You see, it’s very difficult, and dangerous, and there is no money – but it’s important, because talking about Humanism is not enough.”
- Givi Givishili. The Philosophy of Humanism. M.: Prosveshchenie, 2009
- Vladimir Lashov. Lev Shestov: Works, Correspondence, Studies, Web Resources. Bibliographic and Historiographic Presentation. M.: Russian Humanist Society, 2009
- Valery Finogentov. Religious Renaissance or Humanist Philosophy? – M.: URSS, 2009