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James Croft

  • Located in St. Louis, MO
  • Vice-Chair of the Humanist Graduate Community at Harvard
  • Assistant Editor of The New Humanism
  • Founder of Temple of the Future
  • Humanist Celebrant

James Croft is a Humanist activist and public speaker who has swiftly become one of the best-known new faces in Humanism today. He is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard, and is currently finishing his Doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  As leader in training at the Ethical Society of St. Louis (part of a national movement of Humanist congregations), James 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. His upcoming book "The Godless Congregation", co-authored with New York Times bestselling author Greg Epstein, is being published by Simon & Schuster. His talks have been called "enchanting", "outstanding", "inspiring", "amazing", "enlivening", "entertaining", "eloquent", and "passionate".

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." His talks have been called "enchanting", "outstanding", "inspiring", "amazing", "enlivening", "entertaining", "eloquent", and "passionate".

He blogs at Temple of the Future on the Patheos network, always seeking to infuse Humanism with beauty, passion and dynamism. He believes that society is desperately in need of living communities dedicated to human flourishing and freedom.
See an example of James on Youtube here.

James is available to speak to your group on the following topics:
  • 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.
  • Carl Sagan’s Scientific Spirituality. Carl Sagan - one of the best-loved Humanist figures ever - had an intriguing approach to the subject of “spirituality”: Sagan believed science was an inherently spiritual enterprise. What did he mean by this, what can we learn from it, and how can we explore spirituality without succumbing to nonsense?
  • Raison d’Etre: Meaning and Purpose in a Godless World. It is often claimed that if God does not exist there can be no purpose or meaning. In this talk James tackles that claim head-on, arguing that reserves of meaning and purpose are available to everyone, religious or not. We all can find a Raison d’Etre.
  • The Godless Congregation. Some consider “church without god” to be a contradictions in terms. Others consider it a waste of time. Yet others, a dangerous development which threatens to make atheist groups into dastardly cults. But what’s the truth behind the “Godless Congregation”? Why might atheists and Humanists wish to come together with each other in ways similar to how religions congregate? James reveals all.
  • Coming Out, Coming Home. For many LGBTQ people, the process of “coming out” is a profound moment. For some it results in heartache and suffering, as they lose friends, family, perhaps even their home or livelihood. For others it is a joyous, liberating experience - and sometimes it can be both. In this highly personal account of his own coming out, James will explore identity, sexuality, and personality - all within a nonreligious framework.
  • And many more!
  • 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.
James asks for a $299 honorarium but is more than happy to negotiate it with interested groups.
If you're interested in having this speaker come to your school and give a presentation, click here to fill out our online Speaker Request form.
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