Thanks for the URL for Americans United. I’ve bookmarked it. It’s a valuable site.
Susan, good luck with your small group!
Hopefully, they can become deciples for spreading the non-theist word.
At the first meeting, you might want to consider performing some cheap magic trick (“miracle”) like turning wine into water or something.
I understand that this technique has worked well in the past to convince prospective deciples that you are on the right track :>)
Dear CA ...
Thanks for the wine suggestion, though I just might need it full force and undiluted to see me through that first meeting ...
The plan so far is to ask each person present why they’re interested in such a group and how they got there, mentally speaking. Second item on the agenda will be to ask each person what topics they are interested in discussing and then I’ll make up an outline chosen from the suggested topics. That’s the plan at the moment. It’s sure to change ...
Have any other ideas?
You might want to come up with a reading list of books/articles (e.g. the End of Faith) to be read and discussed.
Good luck Susan
Hey I actually found the source of the quote ” Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” It was Aesop.
Hello CA ...
Books are good. I’ll put together a mini library and bring it along with me.
For everybody (especially those of you who grew up in the Church) ... which book(s) spoke to you and nudged your thinking in a new direction?
Would be good to start out with tried and true favorites.
Thanks for the quote:
“Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
Just to be safe, maybe I’ll light a hurricane lamp?
What techniques are you employing to influence young people in the school system and how successful have you been?
For a culture that prides itself on a thirst for knowledge many of us are surprisingly resistant give up faith based ideas. To be perfectly honest I am somewhat skeptical that any significant number of older faithful could be persuaded to follow reason. This has been my personal experience with family and friends although I must admit (selfishly) I am reluctant to risk isolating myself by being too opinionated.
The only experience I have had with “conversion” is to try seperating my son from his teddy bear. Oddly enough I’m sure many would consider church and teddy bears to be supported by the same needs!
It’s too easy for individuals to be demonized by confronting friends and family. Maybe an ad compain should be considered that is supported by donated funds. Religion has had such a broad acceptance and/or tolerance that there is little hope for reason.
If half the population is packing a teddy bear what hope do I have in persuading my son not to.
BetaPaul, one thing we’ve got to keep in mind is that this particular debate and education project has been going on at full speed for over 100 years now. Obviously, neither side has managed to come up with a complete victory yet. When either side gets close to victory, there’s always some kind of public reaction and things swing the other way. I could give examples, but this is going to be too long anyway. I suspect that this is exactly what we’re seeing right now as these huge crowds, millions of people, pour into Rome. Could this possibly be, in large part, a collective reaction against the secularization of Europe plus the fact that those thousands coming from Poland remember the suffering they endured under the Nazis and then under the Communists?
In fact, an even more alarming symptom, with apologies to Sam Harris, may well be that the secular humanists appear to have fairly suddenly discovered that it’s OK to be “spiritual” so long as this doesn’t include belonging to an organized religion or believing in any kind of god. So what’s wrong with that? Probably nothing. It’s probably the right direction, but I can’t help being suspicious and wondering about the timing.
Especially considering that the secular humanists made anything that could possibly, by any stretch of the imagination, in any way be considered “spiritual” or somehow related to “spirit” including normal phenomena like inspiration and intuition utterly taboo, at best delusional and “sick” for several generations. Google “CSICOP” and you’ll see what I mean. Repression by the thought police hasn’t really accomplished much.
I know exactly what you mean about extracting that Teddy bear from your son. And I agree that we’re up against exactly the same kind of thing when we try to explain that religion is mostly a kind of security blanket we can outgrow. But I think we need to develop much more sophisticated tactics than we’ve used so far. Everybody’s already heard it all and either accepted it or rejected it by now. Some aspects of spirituality are what anthropologists would call a “universal given” because they’ve always appeared in every society. People know from personal experience that something’s missing in a purely secular society and they yearn for it. This is the problem we have to solve, and it’s undoubtedly more related to a need to integrate the rational with the emotional and irrational aspects of human nature than to anything supernatural.