Meeting Report

March 15, 2015

Bruce Maiman
Being Good without God

Bruce Maiman writes a Tuesday column for the Sacramento Bee, including several that have been very favorable to the rights of Humanists. He grew up in New York City and has worked in several cities as a talk radio host, most recently on KFBK (1530 AM) in Sacramento. He also has an excellent background in music, which he has taught at Sacramento State.

Many HAGSA members and friends follow his column, so the high turnout for this meeting—around forty people—came as no surprise.

Bruce’s chosen opening theme, “Being Good without God,” is very similar to the current motto of the American Humanist Association—“good without a god.” After emphasizing that, he talked about his own background growing up in a working class family with a Catholic mother and a Jewish father and being fortunate enough to get a good education.  He also commented on the current state of political discourse in America, with emphasis on the fact that, in recent years, we have become more politically and economically polarized. We feel more comfortable around people of our own class with whom we happen to agree and we often act on those feelings in choosing where to live. The end result is that most state and federal legislative districts are either safely Democratic or safely Republican. This has long been true, but it is now getting worse. Many ideologues are elected to office, thus making political compromise difficult.        

After the end of the formal talk, we had a wide-ranging discussion, with Bruce providing very comprehensive responses to audience questions. The final questioner asked him to define “good.” That proved difficult, but he said that it meant more than just doing the right thing in the most obvious of cases. It also included some very mundane actions, such as returning grocery carts abandoned by shoppers to their proper place instead of leaving them loose in the parking lot.

After enjoying a resounding round of applause, Bruce stuck around until about 5 pm to answer many questions on a more informal basis.

 Report prepared by Wayne Luney

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