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A Master Class on Being Human: A Black Christian and a Black Secular Humanist on Religion, Race, and Justice

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A conversation between 2 eminent Black thinkers on how to work together to make the world a better place despite deep religious differences

Brad Braxton and Anthony Pinn represent two traditions--Christianity and Secular Humanism respectively--that have for centuries existed in bitter opposition. For too long, people with different worldviews have disparaged and harmed one another. Instead of fighting each other, Braxton and Pinn talk with, listen to, and learn from one another. Their wide-ranging conversation demonstrates the possibility of fruitful exchange that accounts for--rather than masks--their differences.

Written amid the Covid-19 pandemic, threats to our democracy, and national protests for racial justice, A Master Class on Being Human shows us that constructive dialogue can help us pursue the common good without sacrificing our distinctive identities. In conversations that are frank, personal, and deeply informed by scholarship, Braxton and Pinn discuss topics that are urgent and immediate, such as the ongoing violence against Black communities, the rise of religiously unaffiliated communities, the Black Lives Matter movement. They also ponder those broader philosophical and theological questions that inform our politics and sense of what it means to be human: the meaning of religion, the stubborn dilemma of moral evil, the power and problems of hope.

Braxton and Pinn invite us to join them in a master class as they strive to create a world where differences are not tolerated but instead celebrated. In that kind of courageous classroom, all can learn how to be better people who in turn transform the world into a better place.

ISBN-13: 9780807007884

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: Beacon Press

Publication Date: 07-25-2023

Pages: 256

Brad R. Braxton is President and Professor of Public Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary. He is the Founding Senior Pastor of The Open Church, a culturally inclusive congregation in Baltimore, MD. He formerly served as the Director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. He is the author of three books: The Tyranny of Resolution: 1 Corinthians 7:17-24; No Longer Slaves: Galatians and African American Experience; and Preaching Paul.

Anthony B. Pinn is the Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies in Washington, DC. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the founding Director of the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL) at Rice University. He is the author/editor of over 35 books, including Noise and Spirit: Rap Music's Religious and Spiritual Sensibilities; Introducing African American Religion; The End of God-Talk: An African American Humanist Theology; and the novel, The New Disciples. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Distinguished Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Rice University.