The Brights' Bulletin


< Previous Issue

Issue #146 (latest issue)
April 30, 2015

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- MAY 2015 


---

Individual Actions

Ever wondered how you might align your activities with the overall aims of the Brights movement?

The website has some “starter suggestions” for individual Brights to consider. The suggestions in each category assume that it would be safe for you to follow the advice provided, but of course that is not the case everywhere in the world. We can only do what we can!

What’s most important to keep in mind is the overall civic vision that underpins the Brights initiative. You take opportunities to advance the cause via your own participation (as best you can) in your own society.

Openness: Try to be candid about your values and beliefs whenever it is feasible.

Visibility: Help others see that the naturalistic worldview abounds in society and has worth.

Constructive Engagement: Attempt to engage positively and profitably with fellow citizens, not only when their beliefs about the world are like yours, but also when their beliefs do not align with your worldview.

Do you have additional counsel to offer? If you do, feel free to send to Brights Central for consideration. Email your submission to the-brights@the-brights.net with ACTION in uppercase letters in your subject line.

---

Flying a Brights Flag

Along the lines of “visibility,” we’re pretty excited to be getting our own flag here at Brights Central.  Long may it wave!

The manufacturer’s ship date (to BC) is not until May 15. The product dimensions are 16 in. x 24 in., a size approximating the type that is popular in many regions for displaying one’s favorite sports team.

Having received several “FLAG” requests from Brights already, BC is obtaining enough to supply everyone who responded previously to the mention in prior bulletins.  (Note: If that fits you, be assured that you’ll receive the first notice of how to order one.) 

---

Comings and Goings

Actually, it’s “one person going and one coming.” Sad to say, Jason is departing from Brights Central for parts elsewhere, and all on the BC team are sorry indeed to see him leave. We’re delighted, though, to welcome Felicia. 

Jason first stepped in the door at BC as a student intern (while still a philosophy major at the nearby University of California-Davis). After exhibiting a stellar set of skills in the summer program, he stayed on for well over two years helping juggle the wide variety of tasks that typically come into play at BC. Thanks so much, Jason. We will miss you! Everyone here sends our best wishes to you and your wife as you move on (away to the San Francisco Bay Area).

Felicia is just this month joining the BC team. She will be providing a broad array of administrative and office support services.  The “broad array” comes from her diverse background in social media and some valuable experience in the nonprofit world. On top of two baccalaureate degrees, she also has done some K-12 teaching.  We’re so pleased to have found her nearby! 

---

At the International Forums

Whether a celebration (of the many contributions of the Hubble Space Telescope to the advancement of knowledge and wonderment, with links to pretty pictures!) or a no-holds-barred dissection of the intersection of philosophy and science, this month has introduced content that will likely be of interest to a broad spectrum of science-minded brights.

But do share what you yourself find interesting!  The more the merrier, and participation requires only a brief and confidential registration.  See you there.

---

What Lies Ahead?

As time marches on, what’s in store for the naturalistic worldview?  According to demographic research reported this month by Pew Research Center’s “Religion and Public Life” project, fertility rates will be a big factor in determining howpeople of the world will actually view the world in the future.

Pew’s report (“The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050”) foresees that over the next few decades, the unaffiliated (inclusive of atheists and agnostics) will make up a declining share of the world’s total population (16.4% today; 13.2% in 2050).  That category will be increasing slightly in some parts of Europe and North America (e.g., France, the U.S.A.).

Projections show Christianity to grow at about the same rate as the world’s population as a whole, while by 2050 the number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians worldwide (growth in both to occur especially in sub-Saharan Africa). A major factor in the rapidly changing profile is the size of the youth populations among the world’s major religions today (also current geographic distributions of the various groupings, differences in fertility and mortality rates, age differences, etc.).

---

But on the Other Hand?

A different sort of projection comes from the more philosophical posture of Daniel C. Dennett. But is the Tufts professor and Enthusiastic Bright is seeing through some rose-colored glasses?

Writing “Why the Future of Religion Is Bleak” in the Wall Street Journal, he notes that religious institutions have survived by controlling what their adherents know, and today that is next to impossible.

Dennett’s opinion piece was quickly followed in the WSJ by Emilie M. Townes’ “The Future of Religion is Ascendant.”

---

Visual Interpretations (UK)

This tweet from the UK Brights leads to an article that maps visually some of the Pew report’s demographic projections.

---

Are Brights Nonreligious?

Probably, but not necessarily.  A careful analysis of the concepts of “supers” and “brights” will reveal that the issue is more complex than one might think at a glance. 

The “Brights and Supers Compared” chart on the website shows brights going by any number of identities, including identity by a religion (for its cultural or social attributes).

Nonreligious constituents can be understanding of the concept that some who have a naturalistic worldview may maintain a religious affiliation in a society.  Personally holding a supernatural-free worldview - while also having affinity for a cultural and/or religious heritage or community - is possible and, in fact, is the reality for many people. They may value certain aspects of a cultural or religious heritage, while simultaneously discounting any of its supernatural components.  

---

Oil & Water / Emulsion

A personal worldview free of supernatural elements does not proscribe individuals from acknowledging and affirming a cultural and/or religious heritage or community. Some Brights may favor educating their children about the heritage and/or participating in a community defined as religious.

To engage in customary gatherings and activities simply means acknowledging the two attributes (personal worldview and societal association) as distinct. A desire to maintain or develop affable relations with supers with whom you share a community need not mean your discarding or hiding a naturalistic point of view.

The dual attributes can even be meaningful for many persons to engage in activism on behalf of naturalistic interpretations. If so, they are invited to form a self-designated portion of the Brights' constituency and to express their naturalistic outlook in a civil, even easy-going, manner. 

---

One Means of Messaging

The Brights’ vision of persons who have a naturalistic worldview being accepted as fellow citizens and full participants in the cultural and political landscape is not the reality today in oh so many places. Moving toward it requires that individuals who do hold a naturalistic worldview make more manifest their existence within society wherever they can.

Citizens who have a naturalistic worldview can be candid about their supernatural-free perspective while at the same time making a case for social acceptance and full civic participation in society of people who have a naturalistic outlook. The image shown here helps to focus attention on the Brights’ egalitarian civic vision.  

Do you have places in your environs where other citizens might view this message along with the website?  If placed on your car, or perhaps in your work space, the message might result in some productive exchanges with fellow citizens (coworkers, acquaintances, family and friends. Perhaps fellow citizens would be curious and go to the website after reading the message and noticing the home page URL.

---

Sticker FREE, with Your SASE

During the month of May and while supplies last, BC will supply a sticker bearing the “Step Forward” image shown above. It will be free with your standard self-addressed stamped #10 envelope with one ounce postage.

The sticker ($3 value) comes to you at no cost with the understanding that you will display it in a spot where others will have the opportunity to view it.

A couple of light-weight bonus items will be sent as well. May’s free "message pack” will include a “No Supernatural Ingredients” window cling (the static cling decal usually costs USD 2). As both items are waterproof, they can be placed outdoors, such as on an automobile bumper or window. (Perhaps you would like one for your own means of locomotion, if not a car, then perhaps a scooter or bicycle?)

---------

Note to Brights regarding free offers:  Given the international postage rates, BC counts on American Brights to help out by enclosing a dollar or two so that we can send to Brights located elsewhere when they request free items via email. Based on those incoming donations, we supply to other nations as we can.  No large envelopes, please! (A standard office envelope means everything fits for the one ounce 49 cents US postage.) A dollar or two for another Bright will be a kindly action. For a non-USA request, email your postal address to the-brights@the-brights.net with MayMessage in the subject line.  

---

National Day of Reason (USA)

In the 114th Congress, Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) introduced H. Res. 228 to recognize May 7 as National Day of Reason.

The action grows out of activities by the American Humanist Association. AHA has established a website and pursued lobbying actions in hopes of growing an alternative to the “National Day of Prayer” (on the same date).

---

< Previous Issue

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 © 2015 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.