The Brights' Bulletin
September 13, 2004
(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)
NEW MAILING PROGRAM
Brights Central is using a new mailing program. Also, you can now unsubscribe from the regular Bulletins or change your e-mail address yourself. Details are in "Tailings" at the end of this Bulletin.
WHY A CONSTITUENCY OF BRIGHTS? -- NITTY GRITTY
The Brights’ Net is not your standard Internet Web site providing information, discussions and links to other sites. We leave that to other Websites. This site embraces the concept of Brights working toward civic aims that we can achieve only through individual and group social action. That’s right, ACTION. This is a network of individuals who seek social and civic change. We will work, both as individuals and cooperatively, to make the world more hospitable for all persons who have a naturalistic worldview, no matter their specific philosophical orientations. We are confident that, if persons who view the world supernatural-free are involved in civic affairs, our world will be nicer. There’s work to do.
THE CIVIC ACTION ARENAS: SUMMARY OF RESPONSES AND DECISIONS
Thanks to all who voted and sent comments on three possible "arenas" for Brights’ action! We have read through and considered every single one of the many hundreds of e-mails we received. (A few persons provided literally pages of commentary and/or resources!) You may review the three Arena descriptions initially presented at:
It would be too much to expect that Brights in all their diversity would be of a single mind regarding priorities for our civic and social action endeavor. However, there is substantial agreement on a high priority arena, and we will be moving forward in a direction to address it.
A MAIN CONCERN
From those who spoke (many eloquently!), we conclude: Brights’ action in the near future must confront the widespread public belief that an individual who holds a naturalistic worldview lacks morals. (Arena 1, Morality)
The claim that morality is a terrain belonging to religion is an example of faithism. Faithism is a belief that religious people are better (in many ways) than those who are supernatural-free.
Among Brights who sent us advice, the support for tackling the Morality Arena was strong across the board (international). A presumption that individuals are not moral because they do not believe in a god is something that significantly reduces personal willingness to disclose a naturalistic worldview to others. This impediment obstructs brights’ involvement as equal citizens in their societies. The Brights’ Net must work toward progress in this arena.
"Media and Method" (Arena #3) ran a solid second. A number of Brights pointed out, however, that it seemed grounded in a context that was specific to the USA.
Similarly, the Arena #2 option ("Budding Brights") drew much interest from those who work with youth or have children. People wrote definitively and persuasively, but the numbers were quite small compared to those who favored Arenas 1 or 3.
Some people noted how all of the Action Arenas are closely related. A good many provided us with additional alternatives, some of which we can surely incorporate as we go along. However, the intensity of seeming interest in morality clearly elevated that subject above other concerns. Thus, it undoubtedly is where we will want to elicit the talents of constituent Brights and devote the resources of The Brights’ Net. Stand by for a September Brighten OP(portunity) on implementing the Action Arena #1.
PERSONAL ACTIVISM -- GROW THE BRIGHTS
-- GOOGLE BRIGHTS --
How do you orally convey to others The Brights’ Net’s Web address? The URL is something of a mouthful (http://www.the-brights.net), and it must be typed exactly. Is there an easier way? Yes!
When you encounter persons who are interested in learning about The Brights’ Net, you can shorten their route to the home page by saying "It's no problem to find; just Google Brights and look at the top of the list."
Google Brights (It’s that simple!) The phrase is easy to remember, and it impresses some people to find that we are #1 in the Google listing.
You can add the <Google Brights> to your signature line for e-mails, too!
RIGHT BRAIN VS LEFT BRAIN
Pat ( California) has characterized a supernatural-free way of thinking about the world as "BrightBrained"). What a simple and striking billboard this might be:
Right Brain? Left Brain? Bright Brain?
HOT IN THE FORUMS
Remember that you can browse what others say in the Brights' Forums without registering. If you want to enter into the discussion in any thread of interest, though, you must register. The Forums are at:
One issue has drawn much interest recently. The thread resides in the Brights-related discussion section dealing with talking to youngsters about the bright worldview.
A Forum post this past February began with a survey question, "Is it right to impose your Bright beliefs on the young?" The heat came immediately in the post of the first respondent: "It disturbs me that such a section of the Forum as this exists." The topic stimulated much lively discussion during that month.
Then, in early September, someone resurrected the topic with a thoughtful personal situation, and we had a hot thread once again. If interested, go to:
BRIGHTS LOCAL CONSTITUENCIES (International)
Still more regions are acquiring BLCs that permit individuals in a general area to get in touch with one another and focus on local issues. A geographical listing of all BLC locations is at the link:
Here are the most recent additions to the listing:
Canada, Sarnia/London (southern Ontario): Pamela / firstname.lastname@example.org
India (nationwide): Murali / email@example.com
USA, Texas, Dallas: David / firstname.lastname@example.org
USA, Montana (entire state): Jim / email@example.com (put BLC in subject line)
USA, Alabama (entire state): Ralph / firstname.lastname@example.org
OFF THE WEB -- INCARCERATED BRIGHTS (USA)
Word about The Brights’ Net is even reaching inside some prisons in the United States. BC has been contacted via postal mail, and now there are three incarcerated Brights in the constituency (no Internet privileges but, as we are learning, plenty of perseverance to become Brights!)
Sterling (in Texas) will be serving as the leader of a "special interest constituency" for prisoners. As a service, The Brights’ Net’s postal address will temporarily serve as central clearinghouse to facilitate their exchanges. If you know someone in a USA prison who might be a bright, write and ask them to write to the address below.
The Brights’ Net (Attn: Sterling); POB 163418, Fort Sutter Station; Sacramento, CA 95816
U.S. prisons often provide incarcerated religious individuals with privileges not available to prisoners having a naturalistic worldview. It is common that the institutions foster religious programs and benefits adherents, but provide no counterpart for individuals whose worldview is free of supernatural. Coercive pressures are rampant in some places. It seems reasonable to offer this "off-Web" exception to the Internet constituency for prisoners, who do not have access to the Internet. If you would like to help support this program’s duplication and mailing costs, The Brights’ Net will appreciate donations for that purpose.
Actually, the concept of a Brights Action Special Interest Constituency BASIC) may be of interest for other circumstances (e.g., BASIC for educators?). Send proposals to email@example.com. Put BASIC in caps in your subject line.
TWO "SIGN-UP COMMENTS"
Ron, in Marseille France: "Never in my life have I ever associated myself with any group. Apparently it's time to come out of the closet."
Stephanie, in Illinois, USA: "I have always been reluctant to advertise my naturalistic (i.e. godless) beliefs for fear of censure and possible harassment in this society that seems to be ruled by the religious right. However, a greater fear of losing my secular freedom has motivated me to cast aside previous reservations and let my voice be heard among those who will challenge the theocratic direction this country is taking."
The Brights’ Net makes a sustained drive for financial support only twice a year (the National Public Radio model). You can expect a special Bulletin shortly regarding funding of The Brights’ Nets’ programs.
If you have a problem receiving this Bulletin, please e-mail the Webmaster Kevin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and place the word PROBLEM in the subject line.
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Why does the Bulletin use simple text? Many Brights around the world do not have the capability to receive e-mail in any other form
Co-Directors: Mynga Futrell and Paul Geisert