CFI’s Mission Statement and Our Vanishing Attention Span
We are told that Google is making us less literate, and that our attention span is diminishing. It would appear that the fast-pace of our lives is making us less tolerant of all long explanations and densely packed paragraphs of ideals, no matter how worthy. Those of us who still remember when songs had lyrics, computers required punched cards, dare I say, The Lone Ranger on radio, may protest that we still care for the paragraph. But even I admire the PowerPoint presentation that can say all of that in as few statements as possible. Our news comes in sound bites and our opinions fit on bumper stickers. Say what you will about thoroughness – you had better say it in less than 144 characters (see what I mean).
Before I lose your attention, let me get to the point: CFI’s mission statement is so 20th century. It takes up a whole page of small print and says a whole lot in a great many statements; none of which would fit comfortably on a billboard. In this “PowerPoint Age” we need to have punch in our statements. We need statements that can stand by themselves, each on a separate placard, to be read, in any order, across a crowd of supporter each holding one statement. We need a string of bumper stickers so that our parking lot will express our meaning.
I am new to CFI Fora and my attempts to catch up with the argumentation have left me with a migraine. The discussion seems to drift from learned to snarky, and sometimes even back again. It is with great trepidation, therefore, that I offer my humble effort at a reconciliation of various viewpoints about atheism, humanism, anti-religionism, and all the other isms floating about in the struggle for the soul of CFI. I would like to offer some 21st Century sound bite/bumper stickers for your consideration.
A Secular Humanist Statement
I stand in awe of the universe, without regard to its
possible beginning or end points.
During my brief interlude here on Earth, I strive to enhance the human
experience we all share, and benefit those who will come after us.
I intend to treat all I encounter in my brief sharing of universal existence
with respect and dignity.
I am not against anything other than ignorance and hate, in all of their manifestations.
I do not hold any truths to be self-evident; other than: I am, therefore I think.
I believe in the power of Science to uncover the demonstrable truths about existence,
and I believe in the power of Reason to develop the non-demonstrable tenets of ethics and morality.
I expect science to describe existence, and reason to help me deal with it. Imaginary powers,
and power-brokers, have no place in my reality.
We are all in this together; we must stand against ignorance and hate, through our mutual support
of Science, Reason and Secular Values.
Good Without God
The ethics of a Secular Humanist
As a sentient human I share existence with all things in the universe, and I wish to live my life in
a responsible, rational, and ethical manner.
Some fellow humans maintain ideas of supernatural causes and effects of various types, and others
maintain naturalistic ideas, without attempting to go beyond the observable and the rational.
To all, I offer a non-denominational prescription for a better “shared existence” for all concerned.
My goals in this life are:
To bring understanding, where there is hatred;
To bring healing, where there is injury;
To supply knowledge, where there is doubt;
To bring hope, where there is despair;
To bring a smile, where there is sadness;
To be loving, forgiving, compassionate, and generous;
And above all,
To leave the world a slightly better place than I found it.
(With apologies to the authors of the St. Francis Prayer from which I gained inspiration, and
subtracted reference to the supernatural. May we continue to do so.)
There you have my offerings; release the lions!