The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #102
October 30, 2011

(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- NOVEMBER 2011 


Illuminating [the naturalistic worldview]? -- Yes, But…
 
You may have a “naturalistic worldview,” but in what ways do you personally lay it out for fellow citizens to “perceive and comprehend”? There’s the matter of first acknowledging the reality of “who you are” when you can judiciously do so. But; it’s also about purposefully adding value (on behalf of the naturalistic worldview) whenever we “put it out there.” And that value is in the eyes (brain) of the beholder.
 
Perhaps you have developed a pleasant way to convey your personal outlook on life? Maybe you do it with ease, too (something especially important when conversing with supers, who may have burdensome stereotypical notions). If so, then congratulations! 
If, on the other hand, you haven’t yet acquired versatile and genial ways to express your outlook, you might want to make that challenge more of a priority. And why refer to what others may believe in doing so? Just let your personal “brightness” shine!
 

Affirmative Actions
 
A page on the website offers some ways Brights add value to the naturalistic worldview and indirectly support the aims of the Brights initiative. All the listed examples of activity in support of the Brights are pretty much “religion-free.”
 
Have you tried your hand at communicating with fellow citizens (most of whom are supers) without reliance on the customary “religion game”? No mention of God or [a]theism? 
 
Such action is, for many, quite a departure. But a fresh framework (a naturalistic worldview) lets you put your points across without dragging along or countering so many conceptions held by others.
 
Bright pride! We can allow for the mystery in the unknown without acceding to mysticism or magic (paranormal). Whether you exult in awe of the natural world or simply impart your satisfaction with having a naturalistic perspective on it, we can each find our own ways to convey the gratification that accompanies viewing everything as consonant with laws of nature.
 

New! -- eBay Giving Works
 
The Brights' Net has just now become part of the “eBay Giving Works” program.
 
Do you buy or sell on eBay? If you do, you can support our mission while doing so.  And so can your well-disposed friends!  (Let them know!)
 
You can bookmark the page, or just remember that this link resides on the Brights’ home page (right hand column), along with links to other similar support methods you can use.
 

Brights Who Want to Meet
 
Brights in close proximity with one another (but unaware of it) may like to meet in person and get acquainted. To the extent they wish to do so, Brights Central might be able to help. (We say “might” because there are restrictions on BC’s emailing service provider.) BC can offer this service in certain large cities worldwide. Using postal codes, we can provide it most anyplace in the USA and Canada.
 
Be assured that we never release names or emails of any Bright without written permission, so what it takes is for one individual in an area to step forward, indicating willingness for his/her email address to be shared with all registered Brights who reside close by. With that in hand at BC, we email those within a reasonable radius (usually 25 miles). Then all who email back are in touch and the volunteer can arrange a meeting. (If requested, BC will also assist in this process and notify all the Brights nearby of the first occasion, place and time.)
 
Sometimes (not always!), Brights who meet in person find a liking and common interests and wish to jointly advance the civic aims of the Brights movement within their region. When that is the case, then BC can guide them in forming a Brights Community Cluster (BCC), making brochures and merchandise available, and (so that others can join) placing the BCC’s contact information on the website.
 

Psssst (Pass the Word)!
 
Is the Brights’ website in your signature line? Have you mentioned it via Twitter? (It doesn’t take many words to guide others to the home page.)
 
How about citing the Brights’ initiative on your Facebook page? Besides the home page, a couple of touchstone links make an easy pathway for others to better understand the movement!
 
And then there’s perhaps your blog or your website, and… By the way, do you have a few brochures on hand?
 

One Busy Bright -- Humanism in Action (Nigeria)
 
Leo Igwe, an Enthusiastic Bright, founded and has in recent years led to great effect the Nigerian Humanist Movement. The NHM provides a sense of community to nonreligious people who often identify themselves severally as atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics, rationalist or brights.
As a prior Bulletin has mentioned, Leo has defended children accused of “witchcraft,” even to the extent of actively rescuing. (If left undefended, these children named as “witches” face death or serious permanent disfigurement carried out criminally or extra-judicially.)
 
Leo’s activities to promote humanism in Nigeria have kept him in the public eye amid controversy and danger, and have drawn recent commentary that may be of interest to many Brights:
Leo recently stepped down as NHM director and is now doing research on Witchcraft Accusations in Africa at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.
 

Brights in Politics (USA)
 
This past month Brights Central received email from two different Brights announcing their entrance into the political arena. One said he is an atheist running for a seat in Congress, but he has little Web presence besides a platform. The other is running for the presidency with a seemingly strong dose of idealism, along with campaign site, campaign manager and campaign merchandise. So far, neither identifies his worldview in the Web material or addresses in his platform the issue of civic parity for people who have a naturalistic outlook.
 

Gearing Up for the Solstice
 
In some areas, it is customary to hang seasonal flags in front of the house. If that is a custom in your area, you might like to display a flag like the one that John and Julie made for their house.
 
If you shop on Amazon, remember that The Brights’ Net gets 7% of your purchase (books, appliances, anything!) as a commission, all at no cost to you. It’s a fabulous way to support the Brights.
 
And, you can shop online with over 900 merchants via iGive. Simply start at the iGive.com link on the website and the Brights will earn a small commission (varies by merchant).
 

Registration Inbox - Bits of Brightness
 
Jeffrey (North Carolina, USA): “I've finally found a place.”
 
Giulio (Italy): “Sadly in my country, "bright" worldviews are quite rare, especially among intellectual people, and science it's too often not considered a form of culture. That's the reason why I'm very happy to have the opportunity to join…”
 
Rajesh (India): “Natural world view with an open mind about yet unknowns is the way forward...”
 
Corie (Florida, USA): “I decided to register once I thought about the term, supers. This is a fair and balanced (not intending to quote Fox News) way of discussing topics of interest to me…”
 
Chanseong (Canada): “I [want] to maintain a peaceful relationship with people surrounding me. I may not be able to express myself as a Bright before them, but I'm really happy to find out a group of people that I can share my thought with.”
 
Clayton (Oregon): “It's so uplifting to know I'm not alone. This world of fantasy that so many people seem to believe in is mind-numbing to me.”
 
Jernej (Slovenia): “Hello all. I'm really very happy to be one of the brights. Hope we will do well in the future and that more and more people will be able to think (really think) with their own heads...”
 
Jos (Netherlands): “I feel very insecure to spread my conviction of being a bright… I really hope that by registering as a bright I can not only help myself ‘coming out of the closet’ but also others around in ‘seeing the light’.
 

Eye on the Ball
 
Behind the Brights’ initiative is the shared desire that brights of all stripes, no matter how they self-identify by labels, begin striving to receive civic recognition and privilege on par with what society gives to supers
 
What that takes is more Brights in more places doing more to advance the aims on the home page that underlie the movement.
 

What? -- Where Did You Get That Idea?
 
Brights are not united by how they view religion. We are folks who just don’t hold to any supernatural entities and/or mystical interpretations, whether culturally prevalent or rare.
 
No playing the “we all believe …” or “we all don’t believe…” ballgames here. This is a constituency of individuals. The network offers a broad umbrella, amenable to a diverse array of individuals.
 
No, The Brights Network is not an atheist organization.
(Neither is The Brights’ Net an anti-religious organization.)
 
Yes, the Brights constituency has a lot of atheists!
(Some of them are anti-religious, maybe strongly so.)
 
There’s no conflict, as long as when identifying with the Brights movement, individuals are aligning their actions with its aims and principles.
 

International Brights Forum Report
 
Did the American Cancer Society really reject a half-million-dollar fundraising offer just because it came from atheists?  Todd Stiefel, founder of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, believes so.  Some of the reporting on this controversy by Enthusiastic Bright Hemant Mehta found its way to a discussion topic in the Forums: Is this a clear case of discrimination, or have people just got their signals crossed?

Brights in UK may have interest in the recent decision by the House of Lords not to abandon a law requiring mandatory religious observances in schools.  Despite the law being "unenforceable and unpopular", the Peers arguing that the values of upholding tradition and granting time for daily social gatherings outweighed the detriment of devoting public resources to private beliefs won the day.

If you have news that would be of interest to a community of brights, or if you would simply like to participate in the broad-ranging discussions that take place at the Forums, it takes just a moment to register into the Forums and begin making yourself heard.  We'll see you there!
 
Please note: The Brights’ Forums are not restricted to registered Brights. They require a separate signup process. Supers who comprehend and see the need for the Brights’ initiative are especially welcome to join discussions.
 

Seculars Flocking Together
 
Some Washington, DC area hotels are giving discounts to those attending the Reason Rally being planned for March 24, 2012 on the mall. Delta airlines has discounts as well. Whether or not at this early date you hope to attend, you can help spread word of the jamboree. The Brights’ Net is among the many co-sponsoring organizations. 
 

What to DO?!
 
Any and all actions you take that align with the aims and principles on the home page are supportive of the movement.
 
Any ONE thing in particular? -- Being well informed about the movement [that is, correct in explaining it to others] is one of the very best ways to lend support. If you need a refresher, check out some of the website pages that give an overview of the movement:

Evolving into Brightness
 
“Growing up I had developed an interesting variety of different beliefs, but as I got older and my love of science really started sprouting I could no longer accept my childish beliefs anymore. As a teenager I was convinced (from some of the most ridiculous websites in the Internet) that black magic, ESP, dragons and other mythical creatures were real. I actually spent a great deal of time attempting to develop my alleged telekinetic ability and I never quite got it working... I started becoming skeptical at that point and as time went on I just became more and more skeptical and eventually I transitioned out of my non-scientific based beliefs entirely. Today I am an atheist as well as a skeptic and I am loving every moment of it!” (Brian, in Missouri, USA)
 

Walls Missing Posters
 
Have you told a teacher? Think about your locale and how you might get out the news that any high school science teacher who teaches about evolution can view and acquire this full-color classroom wall poster ("Earth and Life: changes over time") FREE.
 
Anyone interested in obtaining a first printing version at cost of printing/mailing can email Brights Central for instructions on purchasing. (It’s quite unique and a great value.) Please put “dark sky poster” in your email subject line.
 

“A Little Brightness” (in Prison)
 
This project, led by Joel (a volunteer Bright in Texas) provides an adapted Bulletin to incarcerated subscribers. He adds select items of interest to fill out an 8-page newsletter that can be sent under a 1 oz. stamp. Joel’s recent addition was quite a hit with some subscribers.
 
“Received the latest newsletter from Brights Central and I'm enraptured with it!  Please let Greta Christina know (as well as the other Brights, brights and "in-the-closet" skeptics who've yet to come out) that I give a 70's phrase a new flava once I read all the excerpts of enlightenment because it/they/you are definitely ‘Bright on!!!’ // So ‘Bright on, Brights, Bright on!’” (Musa)
 
“I just wanted to write you real quick to let you know how much I loved my September issue of "A Little Brightness." ... I am a hard-core skeptic, since skepticism is a very logical way to live your life…We need more skeptics.  We need more intellectually robust individuals.  And that's why I love the Brights --it's helping skepticism and secularism spread and grow faster.” (Jeremiah)
 

Books by Brights
 
Portrait of a Seeker of Essence by Russell Kolish
This novel is about a songwriter experiencing the puzzles of his existence. It’s about individuality (its complexities and contradictions) and the illusions of identity; all in all, something of an intellectual examination of the state of mind of a Bright.
 
Essays on Everything: Short and sweet for the American attention span by Dan Fruzzetti
 
Each essay is independent so it can be read in or out of order; they all touch on intellectual or deep topics as understood by author, ranging from child rearing to calculus to religion to the future of the human race.
 
More books are at:
http://www.the-brights.net/people/books/index.html
 

Brights Backing Brights
 
Although the semiannual equinox is when Brights Central emails a direct request for support, donations in any amount are appreciated at any time to support the hub of communications and action of the Brights movement. Procedures for donating are on our fundraising page.
 
If you are inclined and able to do so, there are several ways to add helpful support via monthly subscription.
 

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