Welcome to the 24th edition of the Humanist Symposium. Unfortunately, I cannot claim this is any milestone, as Greta Christina did when she declared the symposium old enough to drink. It won’t even be old enough to rent a car for another three weeks!
Oh well, we still have a good line up of blog posts. Here it goes.
The always excellent Greta Christina has sent in “Living Each Day as if It Were York Last,” which points out that, well:
I’m sure you’ve all heard this at some point. “Live each day as if it were your last.” It’s the sort of folk wisdom that it’s easy to nod along with sagely, without really thinking about it.
And it’s the sort of folk wisdom that, once you start thinking about it, doesn’t actually make any sense at all.
We were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, and we were just chatting about what we would do when we got home from our busy weekend (me: nap and read; him: Guitar Hero and practice tae kwon do). We were just sitting there, and we heard a few repetitive beeps. I looked out the window and saw a gray-bearded man in a large truck gesturing for us to roll down the window…
“You know, evolution isn’t true. Have you read your Bible lately?” he shouted out, in a fairly jovial but firm tone. I looked at Max, looked back at him, waved, and rolled my window back up.
Does it matter if a group is predominantly white/male/heterosexual/able-bodied? That doesn’t necessarily make them racist/sexist/homophobic/ableist. However, it does make them less likely to be aware of the issues, concerns and culture of any group outside those of which they are members.
I love watching my kids’ beliefs unfold. The importance of life, memories and continuity of life. Though I suspect that she’d tell you the funeral was for the insect, it was also a sweet example of a little girl creating a ceremony that she herself needed.
Many church-goers claim that non-procreative sex is a sin, yet readily include flowers in their rituals and place of worship. Are they aware that to love flowers is to engage in inter-species pornography?
Rick Warren, though, raised one of the more important subtexts of the night in his introduction. He said, “I believe in the separation of church and state, but not in the separation of faith and politics.” Of course, the whole evening was premised on this belief. It was meant to be a discussion of issues and ideas that were important to evangelicals, which would make no sense as a concept if you didn’t believe that something about being an evangelical Christian changed the way you looked at politics.
It’s also clear that in history, in the current election, and in the foreseeable future, faith and politics have never been and will not be wholly separate from each other. I do, however, believe that a true separation of church and state depends deeply on the separation of faith and politics.
Look, we’ve all been here to various degrees…
“I might as well finish this bag of chips or else they’ll go stale.”
“I jogged a little, so I can have that pint of ice cream.”
“I’m really stressed out about work, so a smoke will take the edge off.”
“We have to fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here.”
All excuses for indulging in whatever it is you really want to do even though it doesn’t make sense, from partying with your friends on a work night to invading a nation. One of the biggest indulgences for people all the world over is religion. Oh how they’ve got some excuses! They certainly should of course after thousands of years. What’s strange about this is religion isn’t supposed to be about excuses, it’s supposed to be about faith. Faith, for the religious, is a virtue yet most get quite irate if you claim their beliefs are based on just faith. “Oh no” they say, “there are reasons to believe”. This brings me to a guy named Chip Crush.
That’s all for now, folks. The next symposium will be at Freethought Fort Wayne in three weeks time. See you then.