Charles Francis Potter
|Charles Francis Potter|
George Washington Rappleyea, Howard Gale Byrd, and Charles Francis Potter (L to R), July 1925
In 1923 and 1924, he became nationally known through a series of debates with Dr. John Roach Straton, a fundamentalist Christian. The subjects, which Dr. Potter called "part of a crisis in theology," were the infallibility of the Bible, evolution, the Virgin Birth, the divinity of Christ and the Second Coming
Dr. Potter began his career as a Baptist minister. He resigned his position in 1925 because, he explained, even a liberal pulpit did not afford all the necessary freedom of expression. The next year he was professor of comparative religion at Antioch College.
His progressive ideas led him to found, in 1929, the First Humanist Society of New York, whose advisory board included Julian Huxley, John Dewey, Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann. Together with Dewey, Potter was also one of the original 34 signees of the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933. Potter was also the founder, in 1938, of the Euthanasia Society of America.
Humanism as religion
"Humanism is not the abolition of religion," he was quoted as saying., "but the beginning of real religion. By freeing religion of supernaturalism, it will release tremendous reserves of hitherto thwarted power. Man has waited too long for God to do what man ought to do himself and is fully capable of doing." It was to be, he said, "a religion of common sense; and the chief end of man is to improve himself, both as an individual and as a race."
- The Preacher and I his autobiography, published in 1951.
- The Story of Religion
- What is Humanism?
- Humanism a New Religion
- Humanizing Religion
- Technique of Happiness
- Beyond the Senses
- A Treasury of American Folk Wit and Humor
- Books Jesus Loved
- The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed
- The Great Religious Leaders
- Creative Personality
- Is That in the Bible?
- "Humanist Manifesto I". American Humanist Association. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
- (1962) New York Times Obituary, Charles Potter, Clergyman Dead.
- Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography
- A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Dr. Charles Francis Potter (December 31, 1951) is available for free download at the Internet Archive