The Brights' Principles
1. The Brights is a constituency of individuals
As individuals, we Brights have differing circumstances within which we function. We do not think alike on many action issues, and beyond the other principles below, it is not the movement’s desire to press for conformity.
Our nations, cultures, politics, genders, occupations, interests, and so on differ widely. However, we are generally “in sync” with one another because we share a worldview that is free from supernatural and mystical elements. We are set apart in a broad sense from those who have worldviews that embrace such elements, whether entities such as deities, or forces, or both. Most of us find our naturalistic worldview regarding “ultimate beliefs” marginalized in the society in which we live (perhaps utterly disparaged, or even proscribed). Our common interest is to work in varied ways to change this situation for the better. Persons are not excluded from the Brights by politics or other characteristics.
2. The Brights conserve original definitions
A bright is an individual whose worldview is naturalistic (free from supernatural and mystical elements).
We accept that personal interpretations of the above vary. Hence, Brights have their own individual understandings of the terminology, purpose and implications of The Brights’ movement. In the face of all the many discussions taking place, we will preserve as our common denominator the original stated definition of bright, along with the elucidations of naturalistic and worldview provided and upon which people make their decisions to be counted as Brights.
Each person deciding whether to self-identify by the shared characteristic—a naturalistic worldview—has employed a personal understanding of the terminology (including supernatural and mystical) and of any brief elucidation elsewhere on the site. We see little need to reach a common understanding of these terms, or to explicate beyond what is provided on the home page. We anticipate that those individuals who joined the constituency employed for all these terms some understanding in general use that they personally find apt.
3. The Brights’ Net offers a pragmatic action connection for Brights
The Brights' Net exists to try to influence and educate society through the advocacy of goals and actions by Brights. The organization’s website serves as a hub for the overall enterprise. The site has instituted a forum to facilitate communications among Brights and to bolster their activities.
The thrust of the networking of individuals is their pursuit of actions to advance the stated goals of the movement. As time is a valuable commodity, the Brights’ Net encourages participants to use energies productively toward helping to add constituents, build recognition of persons who have a naturalistic worldview, and pursue the raison d'être, which focuses on social and civic aims, not philosophy.
4. The Brights’ Net functions as an Internet entity and not as a membership organization
We would anticipate that Brights who wish to join with others in affiliations or in fellowship (or to attend local meetings or conventions) would investigate existing organizations germane to them. Certainly, we would encourage those who have such interests to do so. Brights in the network are not constrained by the network to precepts that constituents affirm.
We do not intend the network to be a club or organization that has gatherings or avows any ideology. A sense of camaraderie and reward, if sought by any individual, have to come primarily from his/her participation in actions directed toward improving the situation that stimulated the movement. "Brights speak" to the issues in this movement via messages they send from their computers.
5. The Brights movement, using bright as a generic term, is inclusive of all individuals (not groups) who say they are Brights
The movement draws together people, not organizations. It is solely an Internet constituency of autonomous individuals, all of whom hold naturalistic worldviews. Its aggregate of persons has no "party line" to follow. The overall idea is to advance toward broad aims by way of specific pragmatic goals in which diverse constituents have probable shared interest.
The noun bright was initiated as a generic term that could refer to a host of independent individuals who declare “a naturalistic worldview.” Individuals who wish to do so could claim the umbrella label as a civic identity (I am a Bright) or could self-identify by other labels. As many groups consist largely of prospective Brights, we would welcome organizational recommendations to their membership that the individuals look into the movement.
6. The Brights movement is just that, a Brights movement
This movement per se concentrates on attracting the diverse constituents who have a naturalistic worldview and steering actions in a general direction to address grave concerns about the social and civic relegation of their worldview. This movement is not an atheist movement, nor a humanist, freethinker, skeptical, rationalist, objectivist, igtheist, materialist, or secular humanist movement, nor any other manifestation of extant organizations and philosophies.
Commonly news commentators and writers refer to the Brights as "an atheists' movement" or even erroneously treat the word bright as a synonym for atheist. This movement is not associated with any defined beliefs. The Brights' constituency is inclusive of varied naturalistic perspectives and categories. We are not atheist, or humanist, etc., but we offer a generic civic umbrella for individuals who have a naturalistic worldview, along with means for their association and action.
7. The Brights movement is defined by Brights, not defined by others
We intend to work to create a social awareness that the constituency and the naturalistic worldview need to be accepted for what they are, and not be defined as a negation of a religious point of view. The Brights, by defining themselves positively and without comparison, stand defiant against the ways by which society has long defined them. Some labels, by their very use, reinforce the marginalization of Brights in society and lower the cultural authority of what is actually a strikingly wholesome worldview.
We laud those who can stand against terminology that denigrates or lowers the status of a person who holds a naturalistic worldview. A great many Brights do not wish to be identified as unbelievers, or nonbelievers, when they firmly believe in many things. They do not relish being characterized by adjectives that merely reinforce exceedingly narrow comparison to religious beliefs of others -- words that, in many cases, carry a stigma (e.g., godless, faithless). Brights must help society move beyond referring to persons who have a naturalistic worldview only by negative reference to other worldviews, or by belittling comparisons.
8. The Brights movement is a positive force
We intend to work to grow a constituency of Brights able to exercise social and political influence in a constructive fashion. The Brights movement is not by design an anti-religious force in society. The overall aim is civic fairness for all, which necessitates there being a place in politics and society for persons who hold a naturalistic outlook.
There is a human penchant for creating us/them classes in which the "them" is viewed as negative or repellant. Although some individual Brights may have negative views of persons who hold supernatural beliefs, the Brights movement does not proclaim superiority or a disdain for others. What is sought is social acceptance and civic equality. This movement unequivocally rebuffs not only verbal comparisons that cast Brights as lesser citizens than the religious, but also those that cast the religious as lesser citizens than the Brights.
9. The Brights movement seeks acknowledgement and influence in society
The constituency of persons who have naturalistic worldviews needs to acquire social and political clout in proportion to its numbers. As participants in this Internet constituency, we will work to craft a social awareness of this fact. Brights in the Internet constituency resist being ignored, marginalized and discriminated against in our societies. We will work toward all brights being accepted as citizens on a level playing field with persons who hold other worldviews.
We want to create societal recognition that large numbers of Brights exist, and that they will no longer accept being ignored as a constituency. Neither will they be receptive to being typecast as a marginalized identity group defined by condescending terminology.