“The Measure of All Things”

As Unitarian Universalists, we draw upon many sources for inspiration, including “humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.”  Depending on who conducts the survey and how the question is framed, more than half of Unitarian Universalists identify themselves as some sort of “humanist.” But what does that simple word, “humanist,” mean?  Just as someone saying that they are a “Christian” in response to a multiple-choice survey, doesn’t by itself really give you any idea whether they are a fundamentalist or a liberal, a Protestant or a Catholic, a Quaker or a Pentecostal, so, too, the mere label, humanist, doesn’t say much about the specific perspective of that person’s philosophy of life.  The ‘text’ for this morning’s sermon comes from the ancient Greek philosopher, Protagoras, who said that “The Human Being (Anthropos) is the measure of all things.”  How does that claim resonate with contemporary religious humanism?  

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