The Brights' Bulletin


< Previous Issue | Next Issue >

Issue #123

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- AUGUST 2013 


Flourishing, With Your Help

How does an individual come to have a naturalistic worldview, free of supernatural?

Many pathways exist, of course, but it surely helps when a person can see clearly both “the forest” and “the trees” of evolutionary change. The Brights’ poster project facilitates the "seeing". 

At Kelly’s last count (following communications with teachers), we find we have surpassed 37,000 students having engaged the poster. And it’s not just superficial engagement. In the classroom, these future citizens (and next year’s, and the next) are learning about evolutionary change with help of the “big picture” poster and good guidance from knowledgeable teachers. It’s a setting that surely offers seeds of a naturalistic understanding.

As Brights in a loose constituency of individuals, we can each play a role in proffering such an avenue for more youngsters.

Back to top

Nitty-Gritty

Another printing of Earth and Life: changes across time is fast approaching; and the more posters we can print for classrooms, the better!  Please recall that any earmarked donations received now will be matched by a generous donor, so if you have yet to participate in the project, please do so right away.

This teaching resource is distinctive in putting physical and biological together. And its impressive 5-feet width covers a huge swath of time looking back over 13 billion years, with detail on key changes. Furthermore, we provide it free to high school science teachers who apply. It’s something unique that educators can credit to the Brights!

Back to top

Welcoming "Tool Box" Miscellany

At the Brights’ "Tool Box" (website location), Brights Central posts constituents’ ideas on how to interact with fellow citizens who have supernaturalism-infused worldviews. The material continues to evolve in a more constructive direction. BC will add to the Tool Box whenever distinctive helpful suggestions come along. (e.g., about facing mortality, answering children’s queries, behaving morally without religion).

If you review the segment and have a fresh idea that you think other Brights might want to consider, you may email to the-brights@the-brights.net with TOOLBOX in upper case letters in your subject line.

The latest Tool Box addition comes from Ralph (in New Jersey, USA): 
“In ‘Exclamations & Expletives’, I've started to say ‘Thank the Big Bang’ when others might use ‘Thank God’".

Back to top

Sunday Assembly - Everywhere?

Live better; help often; wonder more” is the tagline, and a UK-grounded concept of secular gatherings initiated by Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones has been taking off. “Sunday Assembly” is aimed at anyone who delights in life, enjoys rich community, and wants to make the world a better place. So, it’s an idea that may be of interest to a great many Brights.

In particular, the SA endeavor might have appeal for folks who would relish faith-free get-togethers as part of their Bright way of living. Enjoy group singing? Want camaraderie combined with charitable activity? Etc.

After taking root in Britain, the SA show is hitting the road, or at least that’s the idea (a road show traversing 40 cities over 40 days). Sound interesting? Check out the plans for more information.

Back to top

Book by a Bright for Youth

God Probably Doesn't Exist is the title of Patrik Lindenfors new book. The author tackles, page by page, the main arguments about supernatural beings and agency. Of more interest here is the fact that this book is written for children and young adults.

Since books for youngsters that illuminate secular solutions to life’s big questions aren't that easy to find, many parent will welcome its appearance.

Back to top

Real Religious Neutrality

Equal treatment for the nonreligious? 

Not when religion is culturally privileged in society, says American Charles Haynes, a recognized religious liberty scholar, who derives lessons of religious neutrality from the First Amendment (USA Constitution). Haynes says that governmental officials just haven’t learned the lessons. They don’t understand that the document gives equivalent consideration to religious and nonreligious alike.

Haynes cogently illustrates the neutrality principle with three different controversies that made national media during July:

  • atheists counter religious messages in public space with their own;
  • a conscientious objector refuses to accede to an unfair requirement, and
  • congress rejects humanist or atheist “chaplain status” for the military.

As Haynes notes, many clashes involving atheists fighting for equal treatment could be avoided if government officials just understood the following paramount idea: “[R]religious liberty isn’t just for the religious... A right for one is a right for all.”

Back to top

International Brights Forum Report

What's morally wrong with homosexuality?  So asks John Corvino, Professor of Philosophy at Wayne State University, which has triggered some discussion at the Brights' International Discussion Forums.  Beginning with a one-hour speech by Corvino, the Topic thoughtfully explores an issue important in our times.

If any poets are among our readers, they might be interested in contributing to a Topic on "Haiku about Naturalism/Skepticism/Atheism."  What insights do you have that can be boiled down to a few counted syllables?

Visit the Forums to see what's up, and if you care to contribute, registration is easy and confidential.  See you in the Forums!

Back to top

Insights from Brights

BloggingBrights.net offers commentary on living life as Brights. We find that Brights can devote considerable thought to most any issue, including the domestic and personal.

Planning New Home Dйcor?

Umwelt Utahpia may have both an artistic and artful nature. Is he fashioning something distinctive here? Or is he just copying what others have created? Where are the boundaries, anyway?


ART AND ARTIFICE” (a synchrony)


Facing a Pet’s Final Decline?

Pondering preferences in personal mortality?  There may be parallels between the pathways one chooses for a pet and leanings for oneself. But, then again, real life may result in departures.

BETTER TO ACT, OR TO WAIT?

Looking Oneself in the Mirror?

Is what you see what others see? A Rational Womanfinds it isn’t always easy to be rational about one’s body image. She is coping with comments received across a lifetime. 


NOT THIS BAD, CERTAINLY

Back to top

Compassion Milestone Is Reached

Although not yet four years old, this young humanist charity has reached a significant milestone, one million (US) dollars of charitable giving.

Significantly, most of the contributions have come in the form of small monthly donations from supporters who “want to make the world a better place.”

Back to top

Steady As We Go: How You Can Help

Donate: At Brights Central, we too really, really appreciate ongoing and subscription contributions, however small. If we had more of such, we could develop more material for the website and social media, and generate more constructive actions. If “a small monthly donation” is feasible for you, please jump in and sign up to support the overall educational initiative to illuminate and elevate the naturalistic worldview.!

Advocate: Help spread the word. It’s up to you to send out our blog information, Facebook posts, etc. Get on the forums and pose a project idea that will interest other forum members. Request a form from your employer to enable you to match your donations.

Translate: There are other ways to help, too. If you can volunteer to translate monthly bulletins or help develop a web pages, let us know. We can use volunteers who will “stick with it” though. BC has some support staff, but direction is all volunteer because we love what we do!

Create: If you’d like to help take a concept into info-graphic format, let us know by emailing the-brights@the-brights.net with GRAPHIC in your subjectline.

Back to top

An In-box Delight!

Received from Matt (CA, USA):  
"I am very impressed with the way the Brights have handled the Evolution Poster Project.  There are many 'grassroots' initiatives on the internet that are anything but that.  However, this is a true grassroot initiative that provides an important benefit to the teaching community.  I am happy to have been able to help support it.”

Back to top

A Summer (or Winter) Cling Special

The Brights' static cling is for you to show others that you are staying “on the bright side of life.

(Feel an urge to pause and hum a melody here and now?)

No supernatural!

This AUGUST FREE OFFER may be USA-initiated, but it can span the northern and southern hemispheres, too! Put this sticker on your car window (or other see-through surface) and display your supernatural-free attitude toward life. During August (only), the window cling ($2 USD value) is FREE in the U.S. if you send in a self-addressed envelope with domestic postage (46ў) on it.

American Brights: Consider enclosing in your SASE a dollar or two as a gesture of solidarity with Brights outside the USA. It will enable BC to pay the actual international postage ($1.10) to send the same item internationally to Brights in other nations who’d like to have one. If outside the US: A simple email request to the-brights@the-brights.net with WANTCLING in the subject line will show your interest. (BC can fulfill these requests if there’s enough gentle generosity from American Brights during August.)

Back to top

Atheist or Bright? (Perhaps Both?)

Grounds for Making a Distinction

Lance (Ohio, USA) sent in this comment to BC last month:

“I have a definitional dilemma.
I’ve been trying to explain to my friend how a bright is different from an atheist but he insists it’s just the same.
I know it isn’t, but can you help me?”

The website has a bit more extensive discussion than what follows here. But in short...To paraphrase a quote from Diderot on that page:  Now and then, and depending on the situation, a change of viewpoint can be helpful.

http://www.the-brights.net/vision/concepts/identity.html

The two really are not the same. The difference, though, and the value of one over the other at any point, may depend more than anything else on what terrain is involved.

Landscape for Atheists

(Individual without god-belief) -- The topography of atheism is carved by religion. And, culturally, religion has language of its own. Within that religion realm, everyone will use its terminology and apply many of its concepts. Even when you are setting yourself apart from religion, or trying to, you still are standing on religion's terrain. Use the term, atheist, and you have adopted the terminology and frame (and probably your society's cultural preoccupation).

Landscape for Brights

(Individual' whose worldview free of supernatural/mystical) -- Start off from this different point, and you can adopt a much wider arena for consideration. The broader terrain encompasses many factors, and need not focus or dwell on religion at all. 

Individuals are surrounded by abundant cultural contentions. A naturalistic stance quite often results from contemplation and analysis of empirical concerns regarding the myriad of avaialble supernatural/mystical possibilities. But however such an outlook has come about in any individual, the result is a person whose way of looking at the world isn't inclusive of any of them.

It is quite possible an individual matches both labels: an atheist and a bright (or an agnostic and a bright). For some people, though, one label will fit, but not the other. There are definitely atheists who would not be brights. And besides brights who do not fit the atheist label (it's not their conclusion about deities), some reject being characterized by other persons unable to see beyond the predominant terrain carved by religion.

If this discussion hasn’t helped, Lance, then give the similar but more extensive discussion on the website a try.

http://www.the-brights.net/vision/concepts/identity.html

Back to top

< Previous Issue | Next Issue >

The Brights' Bulletin



The Brights' Net
P.O. Box 163418
Sacramento, CA 95816 USA

E-mail: the-brights@the-brights.net
To be counted as a Bright, please use the registration form.

Copyright © 2018 The Brights' Network. All rights reserved.

 

Creative Commons License
"the brights" logo by The Brights' Net is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Based on a work at the-brights.net.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://the-brights.net.