Meet the New AHA Intern: Duane Paul Murphy

Please welcome our fall editorial intern, Duane Paul Murphy! What is your educational and work background?

I’m a senior at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. I’m currently studying to obtain a bachelor of arts in politics or political science and a minor in media studies as well as a potential history minor in the university’s School of Arts and Sciences. How did you first learn about humanism?

I briefly learned about humanism during middle school and again in high school while learning about the European Renaissance and the Enlightenment. However, as I’ve gotten older and as digital media continues to expand, I started to question how, despite all the advances in the sciences, technology, culture, society, and engineering, the world remains stagnated when it comes to reality and progress. As I discovered and researched various figures and personalities online, it seriously rearranged my perspective on being, existence, reality, and what it means to be a good or decent person.

Duane Paul Murphy Did you grow up in a traditional religious faith? How did it impact you?

I grew up in a Catholic household, thanks to my father’s predominantly Irish background (with a few ancestral Protestants somewhere from the British Isles). My mother’s family has Southern Baptist and Mexican Catholic backgrounds. Catholicism and Christianity overall have impacted me by providing private educational opportunities and above-average homeschooling experiences. Because of a rich family history, some sort of faith or belief has been a foundation. What interested you most about working for the American Humanist Association?

I was interested in working for the Humanist magazine. I was surprised to learn that secular, nonreligious voices have been expressing thoughts on how we can better our world for more than seventy years, despite the long-held social taboo against nonreligious people. I hope to bring to the table a great deal of ideas regarding how economics, politics, culture, and futurism are becoming more connected with secular humanism. What book has influenced you the most?

The Giver by Lois Lowry had a huge influence on me. It highlights the true power of the human mind and its power to manipulate or hide humanity’s own biology, as well as viewing history, society, and culture through the lens of a perfect utopia that actually worsens individuals’ experiences. It is almost a reflection of secular humanism itself as the characters represent a mirror perspective of what is real on the outside and within our own universe. The story emphasizes how people often use self-denial as well as irrational thinking or actions to prevent others from seeking the truth about life itself. If you could have dinner with any three people in the world (living or dead), who would they be and why?

I would love to dine with Camille Paglia, Gore Vidal, and Noam Chomsky because they really speak truth to power, especially in higher education.