The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #118

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- MARCH 2013 


Brights Central is countering last month’s blog about planning for death with Life! BloggingBrights.net offers 6 Ways to Jump-Start Your Life

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Brights’ Patches

Update  All cloth patches requested during February’s Free Offer have been mailed, along with a bookmark and brochure. Many of those items may still be in transit, so please give a little time before emailing Brights Central that yours hasn’t arrived yet.

Plaudits for the “Patches Patrons” — Thanks go to the hundreds of Brights who enclosed a U.S. dollar in their self-addressed envelopes last month! (To benefit Brights elsewhere, about half of those Americans requesting free patches enclosed that bonus.) We were pleased that the total adequately defrayed the international postage. Special thanks go to the one person who surprised us with a $50 enclosure and helped us come out almost even.

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A Serious Parenting Need

One issue of concern to a great many Brights, especially parents is this:  how to cultivate moral character in children.

A February post on BloggingBrights.net broaches that topic. Unaware of available alternatives, Ken has resorted to a religious education program for his children. He closes his Umwelt Utahpia piece (“Teaching the Good in Godless”) with a plea for readers to recommend secular alternatives and to engage in more dialogue on this topic.

This need for secular programs for character building deserves maximum response from the broader constituency, so if you have suggestions, we hope you will weigh in.

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Seven Secular Virtues

Bulletin readers may not be aware of a parenting resource already available on The Brights’ Net website. It can be found in a section titled, “Budding Brights.”

The segment includes a downloadable PDF for parents. The resource points to “Seven Secular Virtues” that parents may choose to uphold. 

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Revamping Merchandise (In Progress)

Some Brights are glad to identify as Brights and/or publicize the “naturalistic worldview” concept. Accordingly, they have asked Brights Central for items displaying the “official logo” of the Brights movement. BC already provides a core set of merchandise for spreading the word. At present, you can view (and purchase) from the web page lapel pins, cloth patches, static clings, and bookmarks. (Note that these items are provided as a service to Brights, not for profiting. Pricing is essentially at cost of fulfillment.)

BC has begun overhauling the merchandise page to better display the core items and to simplify fulfillment. (While reducing the complexity of fulfillment, our gratitude goes to Diane, who has long played a “shopkeeper” role in addition to furnishing her excellent service in design work.). We will soon be revamping the Brights’ Shop at Cafй Press as well. The revamping may involve changes in the availability and pricing of items there. If you want to order things like mugs and apparel now (prior to the remodel), you can still do so.

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International Brights’ Forum Report

Leisure activities are often the subject in the Brights' International Discussion Forum, where some of the longest-running topics cover favorite music, books, and movies.  Recently, exercise and outdoor activities got a mention in a Topic about personal fitness regimens.

Weightier matters of civic rights come up, too, as in this Topic concerning the US Supreme Court's consideration of an American law requiring certain voting districts to demonstrate that their practices are non-discriminatory.  Opinions on the subject are quite polarized, both in the Court and in society at large.  Perhaps you have a thought about the subject, or could contribute insights from your part of the world?

Wherever your interests fall on the spectrum, you're welcome to register in the Forum and deliver your "two cents".

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New Concept: “The Science-Minded Citizen”

Brights Central has initiated a new segment on BloggingBrights.Net. “The Science-Minded Citizen” blog will differ from the blogs established so far. This one will have multiple authors. But, all writers in this blog will have a common theme: They will talk about science as they relate it to being citizens.

“The Science-Minded Citizen” contributors aren’t scientists, but they do have what it takes.  First, as Brights, they have a naturalistic worldview and an interest in the Brights’ civic aims.  And, besides loving science enterprise and caring about associated literacy and education, they also strive to draw upon reason and evidence for their opinions.

Davis Jacobson is the first enrolled blogger. His debut article, “Fish Fights” grapples with recently observed ocean mackeral migrations (e.g., climate change, marketing, consumption).

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Insights from Brights

Read them. This blog is written for brights and supers alike. It is a means of illustrating the naturalistic worldview in diverse ways. The varied articles showg that one can pursue life in wonderful ways without giving credence to supernatural agency. It offers opportunities to illuminate the naturalistic worldview beyond the customary frame of religion/nonreligion. Stay in tune with the offerings.

Share them. All BloggingBrights postings are easily shared in social media, so pass along any favorites to your friends, whether brights or supers. Supers may give credence to supernatural entities or forces, and more exposure to persons who have a naturalistic outlook and can focus on issues beyond religion will possibly be enlightening.

Write them?  The Brights’ Net is open to hosting more writers to help broaden civic understanding of the naturalistic worldview and the citizens who hold such an outlook. We want to counter stereotypical perspectives. If this sounds like something you might want to consider, feel free to read more about it and, if you wish, follow the procedures to apply.

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To Be (or Not to Be) Secular

"Secular" is easy to say, but what does it mean, really? Or, perhaps, what do you choose it to be?

Can you address the false equating of atheism and secularism? Can you handle the commonplace “Hitler/Stalin” meme?  Many Brights face such challenges when expressing their naturalistic worldview within the proverbial religion/nonreligion frame.

Posting as A Rational Woman on BloggingBrights.net, Susan draws on advice from someone who has a tolerant view of what secularism should ideally be: “one in which we take it easy and learn to live with one another.” Her “Are You Secular, or Secularish?” touches on useful material for any Bright who seeks to interact more congenially with fellow citizens who are supers.

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Monkeying around with Statistics

Ken, who writes as Umwelt Utahpia contends amiably with the challenges of living as a nonconformer amidst pervasively religious surroundings (family and regional demographics). He illustrates his skeptical bent in last month’s “Blessed are the Happy” post.

What lies behind the local newspaper producing a headline like “Religious Americans more inclined to have upbeat outlook”?  Are the statistics correct?  Is the assertion true?  Or is it perhaps wish fulfillment at work?

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Life Is Better When…

Recognition

Life can be better when we recognize reality.

The stronger the status of religion in your society, the more forceful its influence is likely to be.  We may not recognize how much religion still holds sway over even our perceptions of ourselves.

How do you view yourself?

Option:  “I am a nonbeliever, therefore…”

Option: “I have a naturalistic worldview, therefore…”

Which is your culture telling you that you are?  Which do you tell your culture that you are?

You have choices.  One, or the other, or both. 

We need to know that, even we don’t or won’t yield expected conformity to religion, we may nevertheless be molded by it.

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Cultural Cloaking

Life is better when we can be who we really are.

Many citizens live with concerns that others will see through us. Do you?

Many of us conceal our naturalistic outlook from others. 

In some places, concealment of the naturalistic worldview is clearly a necessity. (Political or cultural factors and forces exist that impinge on personal safety.)

But in many societies, our response to society is more our own doing. It helps to recall that consequences foreseen may be certain, or likely, or just supposed. Which is the case?  We might be surprised.  We dread foreseen consequences that may not be.

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Openness

Life is better when others see who we really are.

Being open about who we are is one aim for citizens who are Brights. It advances one of the three major aims of the constituency of Brights:

Gain public recognition that
persons who hold a naturalistic worldview
can bring principled actions
to bear on matters of civic importance.

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