Atheism in Religious Humanism

Carleton Winston, This circle of earth: the story of John H. Dietrich
(G.P. Putnam's Sons: NY 1942)

One of his [John Dietrich's] members had given him Twelve Years in a Monastery, a book which impressed him not at all. But he noticed in the back of the book a list of the Rationalist Press publications, the titles of which were altogether enticing to the former Reformed minister ... Curious, he subscribed for their publication, and ordered certain books from this list.... he read each book carefully and judiciously. And he had to admit their intolerant temper. He deplored their insistence upon atheism, an attitude of mind which seemed to him as dogmatic and absurd as the extreme orthodox tendency to mold the conception of God into a particular and restricted form of being.

"A speaker (Dietrich) at the Western Conference in May declared in a clear, sincere, and forceful address that theism must be given up, that the thought of God will have to go, that the long evolution of the idea of God is to end in no idea at all, and the future belongs to an atheistic humanism," he wrote in perturbation, confusing atheism with humanism.
- G.R. Dodson, "Clear thinking or Death," The Christian Register (August 11, 1921) 168

Practically all contemporary religions are theistic and may be described by Cardinal Newman's definition: "By religion I mean the knowledge of God and our duties toward Him." This is a fairly good definition of theistic religion. It puts first a study of God and the performance of our duties to Him.
-John Dietrich, "The Advance of Humanism" 1929 195-6

"To think," mourned [a relative of John Dietrich's second wife], "that he [Dietrich] will bring up Will's [his wife's dead first husband] children to be atheists." And although his wife could endlessly inform her unthinking relatives and friends that her second husband considered atheism as extreme and irrational as fundamentalism, ... Agnosticism was outside their comprehension ...

[John Dietrich was minister of the First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis.
Carleton Winston was Dietrich's second wife, married in 1933.]

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