Scott Douglas Jacobsen: “Would You Be My Neighbour?” is named in honour of an advocate of kindness, fairness, and compassion in the United States: Fred Rogers. I posed this as a collaborative series while kept with core conversations between you and me. In short, we have discussions, invite guests, and publish the results. The ‘blue collar’ is ignored for the ‘white collar’ academicism of secular humanist thought; the human rights activism can triumph in attention due to its grand intents over daily acts of magnanimity. What is the hope or expectation in this collaborative endeavour for the ongoing work together in this series for you?
Dr. Herb Silverman: I guess I’m considered a “white collar” rather than a “blue collar” person because I am an academician who enjoys philosophical discussions about secular humanism. In truth, I’m a “no collar” person, since I mostly wear T-shirts that I got from running in races, or T-shirts that I wear to promote secular humanism. I agree with you that we need to expand our base and find ways to reach the “common man” and “common woman,” many of whom are humanists who have never heard about humanism. A limited way I engage with such people is through common interests in other areas, including concerns about the environment, civil rights, education, health, and charity work. I often try to bring humanism into the conversation, showing why it is consistent with the issues they care about. My expectation in this collaborative effort is to hear how others are reaching out to potential humanists and then try to follow their lead.
Jacobsen: If we take the perspective of future directions, we can explore some of the more high-falutin’ material within secular humanist philosophy, while grounding this in the item of most import to me: The banalizing of it, making it everyday, humdrum, ordinary, normative. What are some topics of interest to you? Those with which every secular humanist must become acquainted to protect the way of life, the lifestance.
Silverman: What every secular humanist needs to know is that our U.S. Constitution grants us freedom of religion, which must include freedom from religion. When religion is discussed in public, it’s okay to say we have no god beliefs. We should not belittle the religious beliefs of others. That is not the way to make friends and influence people. Better to be a role model based on what we do, rather than what we say.