Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Book Release | A Master Class on Being Human: A Black Christian & A Black Secular Humanist on Religion, Race, and Justice
with authors Dr. Brad R. Braxton & Dr. Anthony B. Pinn
General Admission Tickets $15, Student Tickets $5 | In-person event with chair seating
Beginning in 2020, Brad Braxton and Anthony Pinn exchanged a series of email conversations that together form the basis for the book A Master Class on Being Human: A Black Christian and a Black Secular Humanist on Religion, Race, and Justice (Beacon Press 2023). In this time of marked polarization in our communal life, the authors embarked on an experiment, attempting in-depth discussions that probed their deep differences about serious topics, with the ultimate goal of promoting constructive engagement, enhanced understanding, and more compassion among people with different identities, beliefs, and practices.
Master Class is an exploration of what it means to be human, drawing on each authors' expertise in philosophy, religion, and African American studies. The book covers seven issues of social importance relevant to these theological-philosphical groups, including non-theism, violence against Black Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement, and whether religion does or should have a public role.
The authors acknowledge the centuries-long opposition between Christian and secular humanist traditions. In their conversations, they seek to expose the assumptions each group makes about the other, with "intellectual rigor and compassion." While they don't claim that dialogue or mutual understanding is a panacea for the discord between the two groups, they do believe that the embrace of difference—not the elimination of difference—is an effective classroom for learning to be better humans. Their nuanced discussion lays the groundwork for constructive dialogue between all who wish to move from tolerance of differing opinions to celebration.