Secular inspiration

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Re: Secular inspiration

Postby Gramma Jackie » Sun Mar 28, 2010 5:32 pm

How to build a Community

Turn off your TV
Leave your house
Know your neighbors
Greet people
Play together
Look up when you’re walking
Sit on your stoop
Plant flowers
Use your library
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog or cat
Take children to the park
Respect the aged and their experience
Support neighborhood schools
Fix it even if you didn’t break it
Have potlucks
Garden together
Pick up litter
Read stories aloud
Dance in the street
Talk to the mail carrier
Listen to the birds
Put up a swing
Help carry something heavy
Barter for your goods
Start a tradition
Ask a question
Hire young people for odd jobs
Organize a block party
Bake extra and share
Ask for help when you need it
Open your shades
Sing together
Take in community concerts
Share your skills
Take back the night
Listen before you react
Mediate a conflict
Seek to understand
Gramma Jackie
 

Re: Secular inspiration

Postby Gramma Jackie » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:49 am

I Believe in Science & Humanity

by Michael Shermer

I believe in the power of science and humanity. Specifically, I believe that biodiversity is a good thing and that we have been rapacious in our treatment of the environment, although I think the environmental movement has greatly exaggerated our condition and that the environment is a lot more resilient than most environmentalists give it credit for. I don’t mind eating cows and fish, but dolphins and whales have big brains and they’re cool, so I don’t think we should kill them. I drive an SUV because I haul around bicycles, books, and dogs, but as soon as there is a bigger hybrid, I’ll buy it. And although I am a libertarian heterosexual who is about as unpink (in both meanings) as you can get, I believe people should have an equal opportunity to be unequal. As for evolution, it happened. Deal with it.

I don’t know why the God question is so interdigitated with political and economic issues, but it is. It shouldn’t be. It’s okay to be a liberal Christian or a conservative atheist. I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. I don’t think there is a God, or any sort of anthropomorphic being who needs to be worshipped, who listens to prayers, who keeps a moral scoreboard that will be settled in the end, or who cares one iota about who wins the Super Bowl.

This is why what we do in this life matters so much — and why how we treat others in the here and now is more important than how they might be treated in some hereafter that may or may not exist. If we knew for certain that there is an afterlife, we wouldn’t have great debates about it, and philosophers wouldn’t have spilled all that ink over the millennia wrangling over it. Since we don’t know, it makes more sense to assume there is no God and no afterlife, and act accordingly. That is, act as if what we do matters now. That way, we’ll think about the consequences of what we are doing.

I am sick and tired of politicians, and just about everyone else, kowtowing to the religious right’s hypersensitivities and politically correct “tolerance” for diversities of belief — as long as one believes in God — any God will do, except the God who promises virgins in the next life to pilots who fly planes into buildings. Those of us who do not believe in god have had enough of this rhetoric. This is America. We are supposed to be good and do the right thing, not because it will make us rich, get us saved, or reward us in the next life, but because people have value in and of themselves, and because it will make us all better off, individually and collectively. It says so, right there in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights — products of a secular eighteenth-century Enlightenment movement.

Religion and politics should be treated as separate entities. Religion is private and politics is public. If you want more religion, go to church. If you want more politics, go to the capitol. Don’t go to church to politic, and don’t go to the capitol to preach. That’s a non-overlapping magisterium I can live with.
Gramma Jackie
 

Re: Secular inspiration

Postby Letha.. » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:11 am

Great list on how to build a community. However, it doesn’t mention the internet and I believe you can build community via the internet, for good or evil.
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It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Carl Sagan
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Re: Secular inspiration

Postby afreespirit » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:45 pm

Gramma Jackie wrote:I Believe in Science & Humanity

by Michael Shermer

I believe in the power of science and humanity. Specifically, I believe that biodiversity is a good thing and that we have been rapacious in our treatment of the environment, although I think the environmental movement has greatly exaggerated our condition and that the environment is a lot more resilient than most environmentalists give it credit for. I don’t mind eating cows and fish, but dolphins and whales have big brains and they’re cool, so I don’t think we should kill them. I drive an SUV because I haul around bicycles, books, and dogs, but as soon as there is a bigger hybrid, I’ll buy it. And although I am a libertarian heterosexual who is about as unpink (in both meanings) as you can get, I believe people should have an equal opportunity to be unequal. As for evolution, it happened. Deal with it.

I don’t know why the God question is so interdigitated with political and economic issues, but it is. It shouldn’t be. It’s okay to be a liberal Christian or a conservative atheist. I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. I don’t think there is a God, or any sort of anthropomorphic being who needs to be worshipped, who listens to prayers, who keeps a moral scoreboard that will be settled in the end, or who cares one iota about who wins the Super Bowl.

This is why what we do in this life matters so much — and why how we treat others in the here and now is more important than how they might be treated in some hereafter that may or may not exist. If we knew for certain that there is an afterlife, we wouldn’t have great debates about it, and philosophers wouldn’t have spilled all that ink over the millennia wrangling over it. Since we don’t know, it makes more sense to assume there is no God and no afterlife, and act accordingly. That is, act as if what we do matters now. That way, we’ll think about the consequences of what we are doing.

I am sick and tired of politicians, and just about everyone else, kowtowing to the religious right’s hypersensitivities and politically correct “tolerance” for diversities of belief — as long as one believes in God — any God will do, except the God who promises virgins in the next life to pilots who fly planes into buildings. Those of us who do not believe in god have had enough of this rhetoric. This is America. We are supposed to be good and do the right thing, not because it will make us rich, get us saved, or reward us in the next life, but because people have value in and of themselves, and because it will make us all better off, individually and collectively. It says so, right there in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights — products of a secular eighteenth-century Enlightenment movement.

Religion and politics should be treated as separate entities. Religion is private and politics is public. If you want more religion, go to church. If you want more politics, go to the capitol. Don’t go to church to politic, and don’t go to the capitol to preach. That’s a non-overlapping magisterium I can live with.


Excellent, excellent post Gramma Jackie! I don't agree with a few statements in the first paragraph, nor that the religious right has particularly shown tolerance in the way Shermer describes, but the rest is right on. I'll take the truth over a delusion any day.
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Re: Secular inspiration

Postby Gramma Jackie » Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:30 pm

freespirit.......

You kinda have to know where Michael Shermer is coming from to understand that statement.

Michael Shermer is editor of the Skeptic magazine. He also writes a column in Scientific American Magazine. He has given lectures, engaged in debates and written books and articles debunking the "Intelligent Design" movement. What he is saying is that although many religious people are world's apart on doctrine, they seem to band together and tolerate each other in their efforts criticizing natural science and evolution in particular.
I think his statement is tongue in cheek. That's why he put "tolerance" in quotes.

I
Gramma Jackie
 

Re: Secular inspiration

Postby afreespirit » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:50 pm

Ah...I see what you mean about what Michael is saying. Yes, I did recognize his name, having occasionally spent a few entertaining hours on his website.

BTW congratulations on having broken free of your (religious) background. :cool:
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Re: Secular inspiration

Postby petero » Tue Mar 30, 2010 11:51 pm

That is one kick-ass photo of Carl Sagan! A 70s nerd--I love it!
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Re: Secular inspiration

Postby Gramma Jackie » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:02 pm

Carl was a science nerd, but he also had a lot of hippie in him. :-)
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