Emerson, Hume, Kant and…



Yes, this past month, the Sunday Morning Adult Forum attendees were in the presence of great minds (both at the podium and in the classroom) when our own "resident philosopher," Scott Kasmire, delivered his three-part series on "Metaethics and the 'Divinity School Address.'"

This year marks the 180th anniversary of Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Divinity School Address." In his remarks, Emerson gave credence to a "sentiment of virtue," which he imagines to reside in all human beings, and which acts as the "essence of all religion." In this series, the Sunday Morning Forum considered whether such a universal sentiment actually exists and whether or not the status of its existence can have consequences for 21st Century Unitarian Universalists.

As one might expect, a topic such as this is both profound and perplexing, with attendees having described the discussions as no less than "brain-busting"! Still our UUFP contemplatives forged ahead in exploring some of life's most challenging questions:

  • How do we know (gut feeling, rational deduction, empirical deduction, some combination) what is: 1) true, and 2) good?
  • Do "truth" and "good" even exist?
  • If "Good" exists, how do we know when something is "good," and why should we be good? If "Good" does not exist, then what?
  • Right and Wrong. Good and Bad. How do these two sets of concepts differ from each other?
    How far does "natural selection" get us in the morality business?
  • Does "natural selection" operate at the level of "good and bad," or rather the level of "right and wrong"?

The saying, "I guess you had to be there," really applies, as these questions barely skim the surface of the content covered during the three sessions. However, for further contemplation, our scholar and lover of wisdom has been gracious enough to make available his slide presentation.

A free and responsible search for truth and meaning! The UUFP Adult Religious Education program continues the tradition of helping us develop our faith and live out our values in a world yearning for Goodness, both within and beyond ourselves.

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