Graduate Spotlight: Jim Barnett
About the Author:
Jim Barnett is on the board of The Humanist Institute and graduated with Class 18. He is co-founder and co-president of the Bay Area Humanists and is one of the organizers of the Humanists and Non-Theists group in the San Francisco UU congregation.
Upon retirement, I was eager to put my time to use in a way that helped people. My education was in biology and I have a particular interest in how science informs us about many of the problems we encounter politically and in our personal lives.
I have identified as a humanist for decades and believe that this philosophy has much to offer. My humanism was largely expressed within the confines of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church. However, I feel that the humanist message is somewhat muted within this denomination, even though many humanists are members, and UUism is still largely humanistic in its outlook. I wanted to better equip myself to strengthen humanism within Unitarian Universalism, as well as help build humanists organizations outside the denomination. Fortunately, I became aware of the Humanist Institute (THI). I enrolled in the program and rounded out my knowledge of humanism, its meaning, history, and potential for the world today.
This knowledge has enabled me to be a leader in humanist groups within UUism as well as an American Humanist Association local chapter. I teach classes on humanism and give lectures on humanist principles, history, and a humanist understanding of nature, morality, and religion. I also organize speakers and moderated discussions, community service activities, and social events—all of which serve to build community among humanists. I have also been invited to serve on the board of directors of the UU Humanist Association and THI. I would not have had the confidence to do these things without attending The Humanist Institute.