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Competition With Religion?
Posted: 01 June 2007 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Wonderful responses and lots of good information. Many thanks! It is just a breath of fresh air to talk to people outside our little bubble and be reminded that society is not entirely composed of the victims of religiosity.

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Posted: 09 June 2007 07:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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dougsmith - 31 May 2007 11:52 AM

The problem for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society is how to inculcate a core secular group of moral values ... ones that can be shared (if unsteadily) by all members of the conversation.

This project cannot, inherently be done by one or another sectarian religious institution.

Yes it can, if we have a Humanist Church (not an oxymoron - atheists can and should build their own secular church- fight theist tanks with humanist tanks). OK, thinktanks grin

You are inherently equating religion with theism or spiritualism, Doug, and that may be the prime mistake being made by the Humanist movement. I have no trouble viewing a reverence for life, our fellows and planet Earth as a religious experience, I take these priceless gifts seriously. I began life as a miracle, defeating probability itself to get born.

The idea of taking back the edifice of the Church from its theistic moneychangers is delicious to me. They would never expect to see Humanists flank them in this way, and I imagine that many would look at their cards and decide to cross the floor if we offered them the same congregational and ceremonial functions. In many cases those “features” are all the religion they need.

Best Regards;
Dwight

[ Edited: 09 June 2007 07:40 PM by Martinus ]
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“Our lives teach us who we are.”
-Salman Rushdie

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Posted: 09 June 2007 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I hear what you are saying, Dwight, but I don’t know if I would want to call it a church.  I can see redefining words like spiritual and spirituality, but the word church seems to definitely equate Christianity, while synogogue equates Judaism, mosque equates Muslim.

I can see having “reverence” for nature too, but until it is successfully redefined to include a non-religious view, people will hear a religious connotation to it, which can be a turn-off to the non-religious.  Words like awe and awesome have successfully “evolved” to have a non-religious view too, so it is possible to redefine words.

I don’t know if you listen to Sweet Reason on Humanist News Network, but she seems to have the same thoughts too.  However, I think words like church will not change or IF they do, it will take far far longer than other words.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 09 June 2007 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Dwight, I understand your point.  When I visited the local Unitarian church almost forty years ago, I found that they had a hard time calling it a church rather than a society but did so to be sure they got the tax exemption.  The IRS was very negative to non-religious organization exemptions in those days.  That was my first positive information, then I learned that the minister was an atheist and focused on ethical, social and political issues.  I was delighted and joined.  Unfortunately, over the years, after he retired and a string of new ministers showed up, each more theistic than the last, I had to leave.  It’s now a sort of flaky hybrid between liberal Methodist, Buddhist, and maybe a bit of Wiccan ideas.  In other words, calling it a church may be planting the seeds of its own destruction, that is, take over by, first, religious humanists, then liberal theists, then “god” knows what.

The real problem is that the humanists don’t have enough money to finance many facilities.  We have one in Hollywood, CA, and it’s well attended by those who are close, but thirty-three miles through the center of Los Angeles is just too far for me to go.  Possibly we could do the store-front thing like a lot of the splinter group weird small churches do.

Occam

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Posted: 09 June 2007 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Mriana - 09 June 2007 07:42 PM

I hear what you are saying, Dwight, but I don’t know if I would want to call it a church. I can see redefining words like spiritual and spirituality, but the word church seems to definitely equate Christianity, while synogogue equates Judaism, mosque equates Muslim.

Good point, church=christian in most eyes, so I guess it’s time to do an ether extraction here and make people realize that there is a very important baby in that bathwater - the Mother Church we as a species crave, and which the theist moneychangers have appropriated as their own.

It’s up to good Humanists not to be robbed of their interest in this institution, which exists for good reason.

I can see having “reverence” for nature too, but until it is successfully redefined to include a non-religious view, people will hear a religious connotation to it, which can be a turn-off to the non-religious. Words like awe and awesome have successfully “evolved” to have a non-religious view too, so it is possible to redefine words.

The quickest way to resolve the inchoateness would be to put our heads together and put the words together : Humanist Church. the reader has to sort out the two. “But a Humanist is an atheist!!” is the first pass, granted, but once it’s realized that everyone in the church is an atheist, the concept becomes clear, the contradiction is resolved.

I don’t know if you listen to Sweet Reason on Humanist News Network, but she seems to have the same thoughts too. However, I think words like church will not change or IF they do, it will take far far longer than other words.

I listen to Sweet Reason every day, but you may mean another person than myself. grin I must knock her up, as they say in England. Do you have a link?

Dwight

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Posted: 09 June 2007 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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The U.U. here has a lot of Pagans.  Nothing wrong with Pagans, but that wasn’t how I thought of the U.U.  The second Monday of every month there is a Humanist meeting there, but that is it for Humanists here.  The facility is also way on the other side of the city where no bus goes, esp after 6 p.m.  So, other than the Humanists boards, I don’t get a whole lot of contact with other Humanists.  That and there are very few in this town.  I think I was told 14 at most.  I wish I was able to move where there were more Humanists, but that won’t happen for at least a couple more years.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 09 June 2007 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Sorry to double post…

Dwight Jones - 09 June 2007 08:28 PM
Mriana - 09 June 2007 07:42 PM

I hear what you are saying, Dwight, but I don’t know if I would want to call it a church. I can see redefining words like spiritual and spirituality, but the word church seems to definitely equate Christianity, while synogogue equates Judaism, mosque equates Muslim.

Good point, church=christian in most eyes, so I guess it’s time to do an ether extraction here and make people realize that there is a very important baby in that bathwater - the Mother Church we as a species crave, and which the theist moneychangers have appropriated as their own.

It’s up to good Humanists not to be robbed of their interest in this institution, which exists for good reason.

I can not disagree with you, but some people might.  Humans are social and need institutions that meet that need.

Dwight Jones - 09 June 2007 08:28 PM

I can see having “reverence” for nature too, but until it is successfully redefined to include a non-religious view, people will hear a religious connotation to it, which can be a turn-off to the non-religious. Words like awe and awesome have successfully “evolved” to have a non-religious view too, so it is possible to redefine words.

The quickest way to resolve the inchoateness would be to put our heads together and put the words together : Humanist Church. the reader has to sort out the two. “But a Humanist is an atheist!!” is the first pass, granted, but once it’s realized that everyone in the church is an atheist, the concept becomes clear, the contradiction is resolved.

Again, you may have a lot of people who disagree with you, but I know of one board that puts Humanist and Ministries together.  I don’t object to the idea, but a lot are either Humanists celebrants or wanting to become Humanists celebrants on that board.

Dwight Jones - 09 June 2007 08:28 PM

I don’t know if you listen to Sweet Reason on Humanist News Network, but she seems to have the same thoughts too. However, I think words like church will not change or IF they do, it will take far far longer than other words.

I listen to Sweet Reason every day, but you may mean another person than myself. grin I must knock her up, as they say in England. Do you have a link?

Dwight

Yes, I do have that link- three to be exact where you can view what she talks about: 

This is her current blurb in HNN this week:  http://humaniststudies.org/enews/?id=300&article=7

I think she was on the lastest HNN podcast too, but I’m not sure.  Could have been an earlier one.

Her main site:  http://sweetreason.org/

Her my space site: http://myspace.com/sweetreason

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 09 June 2007 09:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Occam - 09 June 2007 08:17 PM

Dwight, I understand your point.  When I visited the local Unitarian church almost forty years ago, I found that they had a hard time calling it a church rather than a society but did so to be sure they got the tax exemption.  The IRS was very negative to non-religious organization exemptions in those days.  That was my first positive information, then I learned that the minister was an atheist and focused on ethical, social and political issues.  I was delighted and joined.  Unfortunately, over the years, after he retired and a string of new ministers showed up, each more theistic than the last, I had to leave.  It’s now a sort of flaky hybrid between liberal Methodist, Buddhist, and maybe a bit of Wiccan ideas.  In other words, calling it a church may be planting the seeds of its own destruction, that is, take over by, first, religious humanists, then liberal theists, then “god” knows what.

The real problem is that the humanists don’t have enough money to finance many facilities.  We have one in Hollywood, CA, and it’s well attended by those who are close, but thirty-three miles through the center of Los Angeles is just too far for me to go.  Possibly we could do the store-front thing like a lot of the splinter group weird small churches do.

Occam

I appreciate your observations, Occ, they are indicative of how Unitarians have backslid over the years, and many others too.

As for meetups, there is of course the format used by meetups.com for facemail with each other, and I am working on a dedicated humanist church forum myself at man.org.  Somehow storefronts would remind me of Christian Science reading rooms - ooooh- can I say that there’d be no “soul” in that?  :-)

I am told that from time to time actual church buildings come up for lease or sale, and I yearn for the day when we could actually have a big old stone church with the prominent brass nameplate HUMANIST CHURCH there by the huge oak doors. A hardened atheist minister after our estates, not our souls.

Inside, the chorus finishing up a moving rendition of “Where have all the flowers gone?” or something by Piaf.
Maybe the press might find some interest in that, and…

Dwight

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Posted: 10 June 2007 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I could also go along with the old German drinking song sung by the students at college beer gardens - “Die Gedanken Sind Frei.”  Now, that’s a great, rousing song to sing.  Mriana, if you ever go to the local UU church, look it up in their hymn book.  It’s there but almost never sung now days.

Occam

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Posted: 10 June 2007 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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OK, will do.  What is it in Enlgish- meine duetsche ist nich gut.  :(

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 10 June 2007 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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“My Thoughts Are Free”.  Except for the title, the song is in English in the book.

Occam

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Posted: 10 June 2007 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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oh ok Thanks.  Sounds like a nice title, but how is the song?

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 10 June 2007 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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It’s lively, the tune is enjoyable, easy to sing, and in general, fun.  Oh, by the way, the literal translation is THE Thoughts Are Free, but the real meaning is for MY.

Occam

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Posted: 13 June 2007 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I’m not very experienced with debate, so forgive me if my points are immature…  but personally I’ve found church to be one of the WORST places for socialization and ‘teaching morals’.  When we were involved with church, we were isolated from our families and friends, feeling we had to choose church functions over family ones in some cases.  And many church functions involve going into a building, sitting in a pew, and listening to ONE MAN talk for an hour about a topic of his choice.  The setting is not conducive to conversation with others, which I would see as necessary in order for any type of socialization to be going on, and there is no room for debate of the topic, which I would see as necessary for any kind of real learning or discovery about morality or philosophy or any other topic the speaker may choose.  The best times I had in church were in the nursery with my small children chatting with others in my situation and letting the kids play.  I can do that in my own house any day of the week by calling up my neighbors and I do!  smile  The church we attended, professed to be really ‘big on community’ and it was partly that exposed hypocrisy that led me to question everything about church.  Because nothing about the way sunday morning church was set up seemed to encourage community - discussion, free expression, etc.  It was always one man, one point of view, and everyone else nodding.  If anyone had different points of view, or questions, they would meet with the pastor privately during the week, and I felt like that was unsatisfactory -  a true community should allow it’s members to have their own opinions and beliefs - or lack thereof - and be able to discuss together, learn together and grow together, not play follow the leader….

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