James Croft is the Research and Education Fellow at the Humanist Community at Harvard, where he works on the Humanist Community Project, helping build communities for nonreligious people. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently studying for his Doctorate in the philosophy of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education while training to become a leader in the Ethical Culture movement. He is an in-demand public speaker, an engaging teacher, and a passionate activist for human rights. James was raised on Shakespeare, Sagan and Star Trek, and is a proud, gay Humanist.
Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard, described James as “one of the most important young thinkers in the Humanist movement today, and an incredibly eloquent and entertaining speaker. I’m delighted that more and more groups will be hearing from him in the years to come.”
James is available to speak to your group on the following topics:
Building a Secular Movement In today’s America the secular voice carries little weight. Secularists are crowded out of the cultural discussion by the voices of right-wing regressives who have political muscle way out of proportion to their numbers. Why do secularists always lose the PR battle? Why are they consistently outwitted and outvoted on public issues? Why is avowed secularism and atheism such a minority voice in the States? Because we are terrible at persuasion, and afraid of building a true movement. In this talk, James will provide an antidote and a challenge: if we want a movement, we need to work hard, work together, and be willing to challenge our own presuppositions.
Humanism: Creed of the 21st Century In this talk James will trace the proud history of freethought and Humanism, particularly as it flourished in the United States, and argue that Humanism is the Creed of the 21st Century: an ethical philosophy of life that has repeatedly led the way on moral issues of the day, and can continue to do so if we push hard and act smart.
The Symbolic Poverty and Potential of Humanism: Art. Ritual. Narrative. Music. Organized religion harnesses all these symbolic resources in order to build strong communities, persuade others, and encourage congregations to act on their values. Organized Humanism and Secularism, in contrast, too often shies away from these powerful mechanisms, even viewing appeals to the emotions as morally suspect. In a lively and challenging presentation, James will demonstrate the importance of symbolism and argue that Humanism, despite it’s current symbolic poverty, has great potential to become a more effective social movement by harnessing the symbolic power of the arts.
Humanist Education Humanists, with their eye fixed on human welfare, should be deeply concerned with education. How can we raise young people to respect reason and evidence? What skills and attitudes should we foster to ensure our children can think critically? What values should we convey, and how should we convey them? To what extent is religious education necessary or valuable? Drawing on years of experience as a teacher, mentor, tutor and educational philosopher James will address all these questions and more.
Good (Without God): The Humanist Responsibility to Serve Humanists, with their dedication to human welfare and flourishing, should be engaged in service work. How can Humanist communities better serve their neighbors, spreading their values and developing their membership in the process?
Debates James is a former Cambridge Union debater and high school debate coach. He will take on anyone, on any topic, anywhere.
Training James is an experienced teacher and has trained with many of the greatest thinkers in education alive today. He is happy to provide training in Public Narrative, Storytelling, Public Speaking or Persuasion for groups who want an intense hands-on learning experience.
To see videos of some of James’ talks, follow the links below:
- Protest speech on separation of church and state
- LGBT anti-bullying rally speech
- Section of Interfaith Discussion Speech
Subtopics: Atheist/secular movement, Ethics & morality
Viewpoints and information presented by speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of, nor should they be attributed to, CFI or its affiliates, or any of their directors or officers.