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What gives religions their strength.
Posted: 05 October 2012 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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dougsmith - 03 October 2012 09:34 AM

George’s idea is a good and noble one, but it doesn’t really solve the question. I mean, of course any group of friends—even internet forum friends—can chip in to help one another in a pinch. The question is how one institutionalizes this, though ... or whether it’s even possible to do so.

There are various smaller, secular/religious organizations such as the Society for Ethical Culture or the Unitarian Universalists that are large enough to be legitimate support institutions with buildings and congregations. At one time I wondered if CFI could approach such a thing, though without the religious trappings. Now I am more skeptical, and Gary’s OP raises the question of whether some religious trappings are even essential to the project. I.e. perhaps liturgy and ritual (let’s hope not ‘theology’) is what’s necessary to make a loose group of friends into a larger institution ...

Worth a thought.

I think the important point is to get people together on a regular basis; its how social networks are built and expand.

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Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 05 October 2012 05:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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garythehuman - 05 October 2012 03:43 PM

I think the important point is to get people together on a regular basis; its how social networks are built and expand.

That’s great if we’re all in the same general location. Harder if we’re scattered all over the world ...

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Posted: 08 October 2012 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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dougsmith - 05 October 2012 05:17 PM
garythehuman - 05 October 2012 03:43 PM

I think the important point is to get people together on a regular basis; its how social networks are built and expand.

That’s great if we’re all in the same general location. Harder if we’re scattered all over the world ...

There are more of this than you might think; the difficult part is meeting people and getting them to trust us enough to express their non-religion.  i have met several at the Church of the Corner Bar among other places and have managed to get a few to our potlucks.  The problem is you have to have activities befire you can build around them and it is near impossible to get them going by yourself.

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Gary the Human

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Posted: 08 October 2012 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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When working in Canada my boss belonged to a gay organization which was very active in community support.

I believe that Big Brothers Big Sisters is also a secular organization.

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Posted: 11 October 2012 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Write4U - 08 October 2012 04:19 PM

When working in Canada my boss belonged to a gay organization which was very active in community support.

I believe that Big Brothers Big Sisters is also a secular organization.

 

I am not attempting to say that religions are the only type of organizations that provide community support but that historically and today that providing this support is where religions draw their major strength from.  If we are to lose the crazy theologies that religions often create we need to create secular organizations to build communities that are based on rational thought and ethics.  These organizations should include all types of humans. Big Brothers and Big Sisters, may or not be secular and gay organizations certainly offer support to their members, these and many senior citizens organizations do so as well, but IMO what is needed is organization that bring all types of people together so they can all learn from each other; help each other raise children, care for the elderly, find jobs, business opportunities, etc.

As Hillary said; it takes a village.

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Gary the Human

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Posted: 20 November 2012 03:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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A few years ago, I discovered the Unitarian Universalist church. For those who may be unfamiliar with the UU church, they are a church that accepts all people, to include many atheists. I attend sporadically and find great community there. If interested, check them out and find one in your area: http://www.uua.org/

Just because you do not belong to a religion that believes in the supernatural, does not mean you must live an isolated life void of community and love.

Copied directly from the UU site (that I provided the link to above):

“In addition to holding different beliefs on spiritual topics, individual Unitarian Universalists may also identify with and draw inspiration from Atheism and Agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Humanism, Judaism, Paganism, and other religious or philosophical traditions.”

The particular UU church I attend focuses it’s messages (or sermons) on peace, social justice, love for all, love for the earth, meditation and many other things.

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 04:57 PM by FinallyDecided ]
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Posted: 20 November 2012 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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mid atlantic - 03 October 2012 10:44 PM

...Tight friendships can flourish almost anywhere in life, given enough time.  Although, there is something to be said for sharing intense emotional and/or psychological experiences; it does build a bond. 

IMO, there’s a problem right there because it seems many rationalists stay away from intense emotional experiences.

OTOH, do we as non -  theists/humanists/rationalists, want those social settings….. that’s a different story.

I think you have hit on one of the major barriers to non-theists/humanists/rationalists developing institutionally organized social groups.  I suspect that a lot of non-theists/humanists/rationalists simply do not want or need that as much as do the religious.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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TimB - 20 November 2012 05:33 PM
mid atlantic - 03 October 2012 10:44 PM

...Tight friendships can flourish almost anywhere in life, given enough time.  Although, there is something to be said for sharing intense emotional and/or psychological experiences; it does build a bond. 

IMO, there’s a problem right there because it seems many rationalists stay away from intense emotional experiences.

OTOH, do we as non -  theists/humanists/rationalists, want those social settings….. that’s a different story.

I think you have hit on one of the major barriers to non-theists/humanists/rationalists developing institutionally organized social groups.  I suspect that a lot of non-theists/humanists/rationalists simply do not want or need that as much as do the religious.

That is so true. I started out as atheist activist about being 20 years old and
my first organized atheist I met 20 years later. They disliked getting together
that much that they managed to get undetected for that long despite me
actively looking for them during all those years. We still have only organized
Humanists and not any organized atheists.

I trust atheists are a self selected group of individuals that does not long for that kind of company.

Within 50 yards where I live I’ve met three atheists so we are four of us that I know of.
I trust there are many many more atheists here but the social taboo is that one does not ask.

Edit. I asked these three why none of them where active on internet atheist forums.
Over my dead body one of them said and the others approved of that sentiment.
Even to be active on forum where too close to be seen as activist. A taboo.
But they are very social in other ways. One are deep into Choir singing among Elders
and meet them twice a week practicising singing. The other are active at restoring
vintage cars and to drive around showing them once a month and the third is into Sport
and has a lot of buddies there so they sure like company but not about atheist activism.

So the only way to find out would be to pretend to be Mormon and knock doors and
see if they gave an atheist answer to the suggestion them got interested in Jesus smile

To knock door as an open atheist would be seen as so odd and crazy them would
not reveal them being atheist too out of embarrassment not wanting to be connected
to the atheist fool going around knocking doors.

Religionists seems to be joiners them want social company it seems apart from the few
that don’t. smile

[ Edited: 27 November 2012 03:52 AM by FredW ]
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Posted: 27 November 2012 06:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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garythehuman - 02 October 2012 01:18 PM

This post is going to be a bit personal.

My 94 year old mother is now hospitalized with stage 4 leukemia and the prospects are not good.  She still has her mental facilities.  Amazingly she is being visited by her many friends.  They are giving human warmth and friendship.  Many of them are from the church she has belonged to for several years.  These people are not coming to see her because of their particular creed but because they are genuine friends that she made at the church and they are trying to make her end less lonely. 
I cannot thank them enough, even the minister who I have had a problem with in the past, has been more than helpful.  I had never thought about how these visiting clergy act as patient advocates.

What I am seeing here is theology but a social organization that promotes true friendship and care for each other.

There is more, much more, to life than material goods.

So my question is how are we atheists, secular humanists, etc. doing at building the type of social support organizations that develop these personal relationships among our fellow humans?  They are needed and it is something no government can provide.  {How’s that for coming from someone who thinks liberals are overly conservative. hmmm }

From a theist p.o.v. I think it’s a hopeless task to try to get the atheist community in general to be supportive of individuals going personal crisis. The Spirit is not there that unites believers together in facing Life’s problems. We have a common bond, a common shared consciousness that we are not alone, that God is there to help ease the painful transition from bodily existence here in preparation for There. Thus a common spirit binds us together with God with us as a Living Spirit that is alive vs. the atheist bond which is based on intellectual conformity to a prejudice that emotional bonding found in religious people only shows their lack of rationality. Atheism, being a negative philosophy dependent on theism to react to, just doesn’t produce atheist people overly concerned with the problems of others, not at the personal level. It’s ironic but seems to be true that the more humane face of humanity is not the quality atheist secular humanists are known for but theists bound together through common worship of God even when differently interpreted. It’s indifference to common worries of common people that all intellectualism is prone to as ideas become far more important than relationship work. That’s my take on it, being biased of course on the side of organized emotional consciousness stemming from spiritual Source guidance.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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arielmessenger - 27 November 2012 06:00 AM
garythehuman - 02 October 2012 01:18 PM

This post is going to be a bit personal.

My 94 year old mother is now hospitalized with stage 4 leukemia and the prospects are not good.  She still has her mental facilities.  Amazingly she is being visited by her many friends.  They are giving human warmth and friendship.  Many of them are from the church she has belonged to for several years.  These people are not coming to see her because of their particular creed but because they are genuine friends that she made at the church and they are trying to make her end less lonely. 
I cannot thank them enough, even the minister who I have had a problem with in the past, has been more than helpful.  I had never thought about how these visiting clergy act as patient advocates.

What I am seeing here is theology but a social organization that promotes true friendship and care for each other.

There is more, much more, to life than material goods.

So my question is how are we atheists, secular humanists, etc. doing at building the type of social support organizations that develop these personal relationships among our fellow humans?  They are needed and it is something no government can provide.  {How’s that for coming from someone who thinks liberals are overly conservative. hmmm }

From a theist p.o.v. I think it’s a hopeless task to try to get the atheist community in general to be supportive of individuals going personal crisis…

From a secular humanist p.o.v., I tend to agree with your thought about “the atheist community”, if such could be discretely identified.  One difficulty, in this regard, I think is that not all atheists are humanists, not all humanists are atheists, and some humanists may be atheists, but their atheism is only a secondary matter-of-fact influence for them.  I suppose that it might be easier for a community of persons who are primarily humanists to form and experience a kind of “spirit of community” than it would for persons whose only commonality is not believing in something.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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