“A lot of people go back to religious organizations when they start having children,” whether or not they believe in God, because religion offers community, Figdor said. “What I really want to do is create a vibrant, humanist community here in Silicon Valley, where people can find babysitters for their kids and young people can meet each other.”

In the suburbs north of Manhattan, Figdor’s parents sent him to Sunday school- not for religion, but to gain a moral center, he said. Today, Figdor says that belief in a supreme being isn’t a prerequisite to being a moral person.

In humanism, “we emphasize the values of compassion and empathy alongside reason and science,” he said. “Humanism is about using science and technology to solve human problems. But it’s also the belief that we should ask if something will create suffering or ameliorate it.”