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“Ethical Culture at the Parliament of the World’s Religions – Again!” by Anne Klaeysen

November 19, 2023 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

“Ethical Culture at the Parliament of the World’s Religions – Again!” will be presented by Anne Klaeysen at the Sunday, November 19, 2023 meeting of the Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville, 2:30 – 4:00 pm at 227 Edgewood Rd, Asheville, NC. This will be a hybrid meeting, in-person and also available for interactive conversation by Zoom. All are welcome to attend.

The first Parliament of the World’s Religions (https://parliamentofreligions.org/), held in Chicago in 1893, was surely revelatory for many people, bringing together, as it did, religious adherents from around the globe. Their differences must have seemed tremendous and yet, by all written accounts, similarities were discovered and common values shared. Recent parliaments, like the one Anne Klaeysen attended in August, have emphasized those shared values and celebrated on common ground, drawing the world’s attention to existential issues, e.g., human rights and climate change. Those who participate understand and appreciate the many forms that religion can take. Dr. Klaeysen represented the National Leaders Council and joined colleagues from the American Humanist Association and Secular Judaism to staff an information table on Humanism.

The number of presentations offered – plenary and small sessions, performances and demonstrations – felt, as always, overwhelming and exhausting, running the gamut of religious expressions. We Humanists tend to avoid proselytizing, perhaps because so many of us grew up in religions that engaged in that behavior, but we take our mortal lives and what we do with them very seriously. We recognize that we are a part of, not apart from, the natural world in which our species evolved, and we are responsible for the impact we have upon it. Our societies evolved from small intimate circles around a fire to complex impersonal networks. Humanists hold that we have an obligation to learn about our existence and to make ethical decisions to make that existence life-affirming. We are not exceptional in our existence but we may be in our awareness of it and our commitment to act responsibly. That’s basic: no need for a deity or supernatural realm. Just treating one another as we would wish to be treated and taking care of the earth we inhabit together.

Anne Klaeysen is Leader Emerita of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. She co-chairs The Encampment for Citizenship board of directors, serves on the board of Ethical Culture Fieldston Schools, and is a member of the American Humanist Association Education Advisory Committee. Anne previously held positions as Humanist Chaplain on the campuses of Columbia University and New York University, as well as Adelphi University when she served as Leader of the Long Island Ethical Humanist Society. She holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Hebrew Union College and masters degrees in German from SUNY Albany and business administration from NYU. Anne is co-author, with NYSEC Ethics for Children Director Audrey Kindred, of AHA’s new Humanist Family Life Ceremonies online course. She is vice president of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, where she was married and raised her two children.


November 19, 2023
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
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