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The task of Humanism

Spiritual enthusiasm toward the enrichment of human life.
By John H. Dietrich
Winter 2010 11.1.10

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The task of Humanism is to unfold the personality of men and women, to fit and qualify them for the best use of their natural powers, and the fullest enjoyment of the natural world and the human society around them. It conceives of religion as spiritual enthusiasm directed toward the enrichment of the individual life and the improvement of the social order.

Defrocked for heresy by the Presbyterian Church in 1911, the Rev. John H. Dietrich (1878–1957) became a Unitarian minister. With the Rev. Curtis Reese, Dietrich introduced the notion of “Humanism” to the American Unitarian Association in 1917. He was minister of First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis from 1916 to his retirement in 1938. Doug Muder discusses Dietrich in this issue’s cover story; see page 26. (From “Unitarianism and Humanism,” in Humanist Sermons, ed. by Curtis Reese, 1927.)

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