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.]