The Brights' Bulletin

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Issue #184

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Too Scary? - Take Small Steps  - Be Surprised!

Who among family, friends, co-workers, classmates, associates, teammates, collaborators, and so on are aware that you are living your life as a bright? 

One can gain much satisfaction in being fully revealing of oneself with others. However, many find it daunting, holding back. Of course, in some places in the world, it's actually unsafe for a citizen to reveal the "free of supernatural" aspects of their worldview. However, much  reluctance can be attributed to individuals themselves who, upon stepping forward, may find that they have been unnecessarily fearful beforehand. The surprise success stores come from those who share with people who are fond of them already.

This civic initiative to elevate the naturalistic worldview looks to increasing numbers of brights (citizens who have a naturalistic worldview) to be showing themselves fully. So, if your naturalistic outlook is a substantial piece of "who you really are as a person," then please consider:  Maybe you can be a bit more open about it with a few more people at a few more “appropriate” times and circumstances

Of course you needn’t be shouting from the rooftops. “Social change” can happen, not only by radical overhaul, but also bit by bit. It just may happen within your own social circle!


The Post-Equinox Dispatch 

The September Equinox came and went. Did you notice?

Many of you sent in a monetary contribution, and so we know that you did notice!  To you, we say "Thanks!" And also, "Bravo!" You are helping to support the nonprofit organization that underpins the central activities of "the Brights."

Thanks go too to those of you who felt free to totally ignore the twice-yearly funding appeal because you are already continuing as our "sustainers" by making recurrent contributions of small monthly amounts. If that's you, then please know that our gratitude is ongoing, too. 

Oops! - What about you? Maybe you have not yet contributed? Just to let you know: It's not too late!

We would delight in having this "thank you" message apply to you, too!  Do donate to help sustain the hub of Brights' communications and activity. (Donations to The Brights' Net are tax deductible in the U.S.) 


Powerful Framing, But Narrow

Dominant narratives frame much of civil society: its laws, its mottos, its lexicon. And, to the extent that societies give potent emphasis to religion, then all the individuals dwelling in these societies will tend to position themselves with respect to the religion-defined topography of their locale.

Citizens residing within a religion-defined narrative will be obliged to reach their own conclusions about it. As concerns god[s], depending on availability of choice or compulsion in the society, their personal "stance on deity-existence” may become pivotal to comportment in the broader civic sphere.

When the societal framing narrative is strong, a self-identify more as a believer/adherent or more as a nonbeliever/heretic becomes the general pathways offered. Although privately the neutrality options may also exist, they may not be in outward evidence.

Individuals will themselves tend to independently and personally self-identify according to the social pressures, however gently or ruthlessly culturally compelled to do so. That is, the citizens will see themselves in their own minds as defined by their familiar religiously-framed terrain. They may not ever think to move their personal “beliefs-identity” beyond it. Brights do.


A Framing Alternative: Civics

Much like the bird pictured atop this bulletin. The Brights’ Net urges consideration of a stance that departs from the familiar.

At least on matters of human convictions and civil society, our stance is not the customary framing. In the interests of obtaining what is desired, we can – like the upside-down bird above – assume a somewhat curious position. We can stand fast for a frame that can more effectively serve us in reaching our civic aims.

The Brights’ Net presents and emphasizes an affirmative and expansive alternative to religious framing of one’s beliefs-identity. As an individualwhose worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements, a person can bring a fresh outlook to the fore. The topography opens up - it is more expansive than religion. That self-identity frame permits one to stand on a civics platform.

Civics presents a different sort of terrain than religion.  It allows consideration of more options for one’s personal focus, and perhaps for public identity and for actions. With this frame, the foundation is laid for emphasis on mutual respect and nuance in communication. Its emphasis on reality also shows potential for bringing the “free of supernatural” aspects to the fore. As Brights, we seek and operate within a civic landscape: as fellow citizens who happen to have a naturalistic worldview.

When one is speaking broadly as a bright and within a civic frame, one can avoid being caught up in the customary yes/no about deity-belief. More productive interactions with other citizens, whatever their religion-related proclivities, can take place. There is alternative topography to wander, and parties can shape the conversational panorama with more in common as fellow citizens.

Now is a time when the ability to concentrate energy and time on shared concerns faced by citizens is needed.  Further explorations are on website. 


What about that “New Typology” of Religion? (US)

Did you explore the full range of findings of the Pew Research Center’s new typology of religion that we reported in the September Brights bulletin?  

To plow through the full range of findings was a time-consuming endeavor!

We at Brights Central explored various facets of the report and took note of some issues. Here are a couple items of interest, offered as follow-up to last month’s summary:

One Aspect for Illumination

With Brights’ strong interest as brights in the natural underpinnings of human morality, we were drawn to that aspect. Pew reports:

[O]nly 33 percent of Americans say it’s necessary to believe in God to be moral and only 31 percent rely on their religious teachings ‘a lot’ to help them make decisions about right and wrong.”

This is somewhat of a “brightening” in the evolving U.S. picture over time (morality as it is conceived now, as compared to previously reported data).

Of Some Concern

Did you notice any flaws in the Pew Research naming system?

We took note of the term chosen for “religious traditionalists” in its typology. It was this: “Sunday Stalwarts”. (These are the 17 percent of the American population identified as "actively involved with their faith and engaged in their congregations.")

Why the selection of this particular day of the week? There seems to be some foundational partiality on Pew’s part. Sunday is simply not all-inclusive of the studied faith traditions, so “Sunday Stalwarts” comes across as a “base” from which Pew’s nomenclature has proceeded.

In the Jewish context, religious traditionalists would be “Saturday Stalwarts.” So, for comprehensiveness, we’d think the simple “Stalwarts” would serve adequately and, more importantly, give the observer/reader more confidence regarding anticipated neutrality of the polling and reporting project.

Note: The “God and Country Believers” category offers another nomenclature point to ponder. As the new category scheme is clearly American, again its dominant monotheistic context dominates. The report itself, obviously not a generic religious typology, would more properly bear the title “Typology of U.S. Religion.”


More on Non-Science & “Non-Sense” Factors

>> Is religion giving way to spirituality?

Some U.K. scholars have previously argued that new forms of spirituality are overtaking and supplanting traditional forms of religion, an idea that conflicts somewhat with the notion that western society is becoming more secular.

The recent Pew research poll of 4,729 Americans from which Pew devised “a new typology of religion” showed 42 percent of them to be believing that “spiritual energy can be located in physical objects.” Smaller shares believe in reincarnation and astrology. Even persons in the religious groups studied are adhering to some New Age beliefs. For example, almost a third of the most traditionally religious group (the “Sunday Stalwarts”) believe in psychics, while 41 percent of all Americans do.

The menu of spiritual beliefs was quite large. Says Pew: “Crystal enthusiasts say moonstone invokes creativity, citrine boosts energy, and amethyst treats addiction. Other practices such as yoga, meditation, reiki, ayurvedic medicine — not all New Age — are fast gaining practitioners.”

>> New Age Beliefs Common among Some Nonreligious, Too!

The ideas commonly characterized as “New Age” include belief in reincarnation, astrology, psychics and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects like mountains or trees.

The previously mentioned Pew poll indicates that Americans who self-identify as “religiously unaffiliated” also have these beliefs. Yet, as Pew notes:

“However, atheists are much less likely to believe in any of the four New Age beliefs than agnostics and those who say their religion is ‘nothing in particular.’  Just 22% of atheists believe in at least one of four New Age beliefs, compared with 56% of agnostics and eight-in-ten among those whose religion is “nothing in particular.”

Pretty doubtful that this aforesaid 22% has registered into the constituency of Brights!


A Frosty One for October?

Whew! – Time for a break!

Such heavy concepts and lengthy research reports are surely quite enough to put into a single Brights Bulletin, so let’s shift gears, shorten this one right now, and pay attention to the season!

Brights are all over the world, and the season brights with it something of note – perhaps, to celebrate.  October -  northern hemisphere - brings on the cooling temperatures along with numerous Oktoberfests.  Brights “Down Under” are looking ahead to what their warming weather will bring.

>>Any beer-loving Brights out there?

If so, you might want to check out the frosted mug available in the Brights’ Kiosk at You can toast life and also display the website URL for any others who may be attending your gathering to see.

(The mugs work well for your cold root beer and root beer floats, too!)

Also available:  a regular ironstone coffee mug with two message versions. These offer further alternatives for refreshment.


Other Ways of Informing

You can check out all the Brights Kiosk items available at Brights Central can install more items upon request. 

(Note that BC consistently sets the mark-up for all items at Zazzle to the 10% minimum allowed, no more. To Brights who will sometimes email to urge that we boost the markup in order to “make more money for the cause,” BC replies that direct donations are always welcome and encouraged. That’s this nonprofit organization’s preferred way to garner funding for projects and activities.

All Brights merchandise is offered as a service to Brights who want to relish their personal worldview themselves and/or help to spread the word to others! Merchandise and apparel does often inspire questions, and offer opportunities for others to learn about the Brights!


Wide Array of Possibilities

The commission at The Brights Shop is also set at the minimum markup of the Café Press vendor.

The Café Press merchandise shop offers a multitude of additional products and designs, giving you opportunities to discuss with others some of the “embrighteningconcepts that underlie the civic notions of the Brights!

This travel mug, for example, features a unique expression of “human equality” (it is positioning supers and brights as fellow citizens of the planet). It is one such concept that you may choose to share (or not, of course) on any of a wide variety of apparel and knickknacks at The Brights’ Shop.


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The Brights' Bulletin

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