[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]I just wanted to echo Greg’s notion that belonging to a community is a common human desire, and that successful expansion of the humanist/secularist viewpoint would probably be served by providing, in some way, a community experience.
In another of her commentaries, Lauren Becker talked movingly about why the “herding cats” notion of secularists/atheists/humanists as contankerous individualists uninterested in community participation may be, at least partly, a reaction to this outsider experience rather than an intrinsic part of our character.
I agree with mckenzievmd’s ideas and the commentary by Lauren
Becker’s that mckenzievmd refers to, which I heard on Point
For the past year I’ve hosted an event for my local CFI
Community ( http://www.centerforinquiry.net/indy/ ) called
Humusings. I find that as people come to our various
discussions that, at least the supporters, always feel a
great relief and have both an exhausted and overjoyed look
on their face once they heard people agreeing with them. For
myself I found the psychological validation a very inspiring,
comforting, and relieving experience. I think that as the
people are rejected over and over, while trying to explore
some skeptical ideas with others, or while trying to pursue a
religious idea with others but finding that they have so many
disagreements with the others that it is just such an up-hill
battle, and they wind up giving up on socializing (what options
are there for them?) and miss out on many social opportunities.
A community of their own would be a great comfort, pleasure,
and support to get them back into the swing of socializing,
iMHO. But socializing in a small group and psychological
validation is inadequate, in these United States, and the rest
of the world, we need change.
By placing our Humusings conversations in a public place
where I know that many people with left-winged, New-age,
tastes frequent, the passers-by can overhear our conversation
and (often times do) jump in if they get engaged by it.
Of course, they receive a brochure and an email for their bravery.
I think that this is a friendly way to spread our ideas, in an
environment where Humanist and skeptical ideas are favored.
Please try to repeat this model that is showing some success,
in your community.
With the wasteful and credulous ideas that are out there about
the supernatural, pseudoscience, and the religious tomes,
we have the source of some very great societal problems.
Look at the sectarian civil war in Iraq; the amount of time
and money spent on alien visitation, ghost hunts, phychics
for hire; the lack of Federally funded stem cell research;
the complaints that global warming is a myth; and the amount
of time we have to spend fighting marriage amendments meant
to exclude homosexuals and to strip domestic abuse rights away
from unmarried couples (Indiana).
We need more than just a secluded niche, we need political
recognition and engagement. I’m so glad that the CFI is
connected to the UN and has received recognition to file amicus
curiae briefs with the Supreme Court, and I hope to see more
of that at the local levels.
- steve s.