From Personal Experience

A sampling of comments made by individuals on the sign-up sheet and in emails

Somehow we are made to feel bad if we don't believe in God, or are non-Christian. Yes, I remain silent, out of fear of being ostraziced, and/or condemned. How refreshing to know I am not alone. My 14 year old grandson feels the same way. How sad.  Mary, USA

I've been a closet "Bright" all my adult life and raised a "Bright" family of four children of whom I am so proud. We have all experienced a lifetime of discrimination taking many forms based on our nonreligious life style and belief. What a pleasure it is after all these years to hear that there is a group of like-minded individuals to identify with and perhaps begin an effort to bring forth what must be many others without a voice in this regard. I believe that ultimate peace in the world is dependent on freedom of the masses from supernatural and mystical beliefs. I can't think of a single world conflict which is without some religious based overlay.  Kathleen, USA

My husband is also a Bright, but I'll let him sign himself up. Coincidentally, my boss and her husband are also Brights. I work in a nursing home owned by an Evangelical Lutheran organization. Thanks so much for being there. Bonnie, USA

For the first half of my 36 years, at least, I have kept my mouth closed about my naturalistic philosophy of life, guarding it like an "evil" secret. The older I get, the freer I have become as society loosens its sanctimonious grip on my right to free thinking. With this movement I feel the last ropes of mind bondage falling away and I feel like laughing and crying at the same time. Halleluiah folks : )  Cynthia, USA

I attended the 2003 AAI convention and first learned of our new word, Bright.  I have already had the opportunity to identify myself as a Bright.  The two listeners began asking questions leading to my non-belief of the supernatural...  they said, "Ah, you believe more towards scientific evidence don't you?"  Then one finally said, "you don't believe in god do you?"  I simply said that's right, as a Bright, I do not believe in the supernatural, paranormal, myths and the like.  It was refreshing to see the two ladies actually listening rather than immediately writing me off the way it usually happened when I used the Atheist word.  Charlie, USA

When I first got my mother's email about being a bright, I thought "am I part of some political and social group just because I am atheist, a skeptic, etc.?" and the eventual answer was yes. I am tired of my friends (who are also probably brights) thinking that language isn't important, that how you say something doesn't matter, that being PC is dumb... Well, now I can say, "I am a bright."  Jennifer, USA

I'm glad to hear that you're inundated with sign-ups. I've been a long-time member of a typical new age cult, so I do know the other side very well. Why did I leave the supernatural and mystical? Simple: I could no longer sustain the fantasy, it cost too much energy. Finally, I was humble enough to admit that all I thought I knew was simply conjured up in my brain. It was not real. Interestingly enough I can now enjoy life with my family the way it is - free of interpreting it through the lens of fantasizing about reincarnation, special spiritual powers etc. The reality I see now! , most of all what science has uncovered so far about it, is much much more fascinating than all my new age fantasies. I like the term "bright" very much, and every day when our six years old son pesters me with questions about the universe I try to live up to the ideal of “bright”ness.  Andreas, Cyprus

I love what you're doing and good luck with it. You know, i am 54, ouch!, having fun in life. When I was 35, i tried to start a similar thing called "Christians and Jews United As Founders." My idea was call everyone who was a bright by the word FOUNDER. I am a Founder, she's  a Founder.... but alas, despite a few newspaper stories in Alaska, it never caught on. that's okay, things happen when they happen. now BRIGHT is happening. keep pushing gently. We need this.  Dan, Japan

I wish you the best of luck although, reading through your website, I can't help get the feeling you are underestimating the degree to which bright attitudes are considered absolutely normal over here in Europe. I'm truly horrified to hear of the level of prejudice that such attitudes provoke in America. I can only hope that you have the greatest success.  Michael, UK

As a transexual, activist, and artist, I have a strong feeling about the importance of people claiming - and creating - identites as the cultural environment requires. The current environment clearly requires Brights. i usually say that all of the activism i do (gay and civil rights, reproductive rights, & feminist causes) are about taking control of our own bodies back from the state. But the truth is, mostly, we are trying to take control of our lives back from a variety of "religious values" that essentially create moral good out of ancient superstitions and mythologies. Our! lives are too valuable to be ruled that way. Count me in as a Bright. – Stacey, USA

.... i am 16 and not very well informed on all this but i would like to become more enlightened with your help. thank you for your time in reading my letter. Rachel USA

I have often been too intimidated to openly confess my agnosticism to casual acquaintances. I don't feel comfortable explaining my innermost feelings at dinner parties or baseball games. Perhaps when the Bright movement begins to gain momentum I will no longer fear getting into awkward discussions of why I don't agree with someone else's faith. Maybe someday it will be simply taken at face value when some one says "I'm a Bright", like saying "I'm a Lutheran".  Tammy, USA

I'm glad I'm on the ground floor with this movement. When I tell people that I'm an atheist, they look at me like I have AIDS or I just announced I'm Gay or a rapist and ALWAYS say you are not really an atheist! So now I tell them I'm a Bright and they get a confused look (of course being they are theists they ARE confused) and I tell them what that means and they go away more confused. Right On! Keep it coming.  Bill, USA

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