A Tagline Q&A

Click a question and jump directly to the answer below.

Where did the Brights’ tagline message come from?

It was originated by Brights themselves.

(The "illuminating and elevating the naturalistic worldview" phrase was chosen by constituents in a previous survey of registered Brights.)

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What was the process?

  • Brights Central requested in a Bulletin that interested constituents propose phrases to capture in brief what the Brights movement is about.
  • The more than a hundred submissions were then screened for accuracy, brevity (not too long) and gist (an overall positive meaning).
  • Then the entire constituency of Brights at the time was invited to participate in a survey to evaluate the handful of screened options.

Over a thousand constituents voted, with the current phrase selected as the best of the alternatives available.

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What does the "illuminating" part mean?

Illuminating a naturalistic worldview means showing in visible public ways diverse elements of beliefs and values within the worldview, showing how a worldview that is free of supernatural or mystical elements is nevertheless sweeping in scope.

Illuminating also means making obvious to others that any person’s naturalistic worldview is more far-reaching than the way it is so often interpreted (as a single deduction about deity). One Bright wrote Brights Central in 2010 about how she is labeled by one element:

Must we be labeled nonbelievers, like it or not? I am clearly atheistic on the one point that seems to matter to everyone else, but not everyone who is a humanist or has a naturalistic point of view, or is perhaps a secularist or a person with a strong skeptical bent, wants to be restricted to or summarized in just that one point about who they are. It reflects a shriveled outlook, as if that’s all I think about, and it defines me only with respect to other people’s religious belief. I use lots of labels depending on context. Where I live, I'm not afraid to say I am atheistic with regard to the point of gods, but I don't want to wear (and be dismissed with) that label as if I don’t have many principles and values that I strongly believe in. Will we forever be viewed and defined merely by what we don't believe rather than by what we do?
(Kayleigh, Ohio, USA)

This can be done by each Bright, one by one, since each individual has a unique worldview, with personal beliefs and values. It can also be done in purposeful ways, via public information on the Brights’ website, through collaborations and communications, by use of media, and in educational endeavors.

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What does the "elevating" part mean?

Elevating a naturalistic worldview means using positive approaches seen as likely to lead to more social acceptance for citizens who have a worldview that is free of supernatural and mystical elements. It means keeping in mind that constructive interactions with fellow citizens are often more productive in the long run.

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Does "illuminating and elevating" include proselytizing?

Some people seem to think so. (They see using persuasion or agitating or arguing to try to convince other citizens to be more like them. They want to change other citizens’ worldviews.)

But that’s missing the point of the Brights initiative.

It isn’t to turn others into brights. The greater challenge is to those who already have a worldview free of supernatural/mystical.

It is they (Brights) who need to educate other citizens about brights as citizens and do so in ways that help gain more social acceptance and civic involvement of brights in society. It may also involve efforts within education and other elements of society to keep open more opportunities for citizens to understand the naturalistic worldview as a moral stance.

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What, then, do Brights do to "illuminate and elevate"?

Brights make more visible the presence of the supernatural-free outlook in society, and they engage in actions that are viewed as likely to build appeal in a civic sense.

Brights have to decide for themselves the degree to which this approach is safe to pursue in their societies.

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Gear Shifting for Civics

As the aims of the Brights movement make clear, the name of the game is social acceptance and civic inclusion.

For Brights of all stripes, no matter how they may self-identify in relation to religion (most commonly as agnostics, atheists, skeptics, secularists, etc., or sometimes cultural religionists), the ultimate aims are these:

  • Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements.
  • Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.
  • Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such individuals.

The "illuminating and elevating" tagline above succinctly carries an egalitarian vision of The Brights’ Net’s civic message and hints that the ultimate enterprise is more "elevating" than "illuminating."

There is, of course, a built-in presumption that "more illuminating" (of a suitable type) by Brights will help lead to "more elevating" of the supernatural-free outlook in civil society, and eventually to the desired egalitarian civic situation.

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

E-mail: the-brights@the-brights.net
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