find the joy in life
The Congregational Humanist Church of Washington brings you and your family the benefits of belonging to a congregation of shared belief and values without the supernatural beliefs of most other churches. We hold regular and special occasion services that feel like any other church. But instead of praying to a supreme being we call on each other for support and look within ourselves for strength. Led by Pastor Dave Ptasnik, each service includes prayers, recitations, and a positive, uplifting message to help you improve your life and your outlook on life.
Humanism is, of course, all about Humanity. Genetically humans share over 99% of the same genetic structure. We often make too big of a deal about the tiny differences between us. Many of us aren't even what we think we are. The article below talks about an honors class that encourages all of the students to take a genetic ancestry test. These tests show the regions of the world that your ancestors came from. Many people are surprised to find that they are truly citizens of the world.
As I have stated here and elsewhere, I was/am adopted. My birth parents are not known to me. While I look like a big Caucasian guy, and my adoptive parents were told that my birth ancestry was primarily German, I just don't really know what race(s) make up the real me. Or, as Popeye said, “I am what I am, and that's all that I am.”
This year Ancestry.com had a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. Their genetic testing service was discounted by $30 and could be mine for the low, low price of only $70 (plus shipping). So that was my Christmas present to myself. (Yes, I am a Humanist who celebrates Christmas. I like family together holidays and PRESENTS!)
Today I filled my test tube with spit and mailed it off. I should get the results back in a couple of months. I will update you when they come in.
But here is my point. Although you probably know what is coming. Particularly during this holiday season (and yes, I also celebrated the Summer Solstice by joining two couples in marriage), I think we could all spend a little more time and effort focusing on our similarities, learning to understand and appreciate our differences, and all work together to support each other and move Humanity Forward.
Seriously. Read the article. Some of the reactions to the test results are really interesting and enlightening.
washingtonpost.com A class at West Chester University takes on issues of race and identity, using DNA testing of saliva as a surprising starting point.
Thanksgiving is coming. It is a great idea to appreciate the good things in our lives at least once a year. You can be joyful and thankful for your life, your family, and your friends, and you can continue a common family traditions by verbally celebrating the best parts your existence. And you can do it as a Humanist without giving credit to an uninvolved and/or unlikely supreme being.
We are thankful for the pleasure of gathering together today.
We are thankful for life and the freedom to enjoy all it has to offer.
We are thankful for this food, that it may provide for us nourishment and strength.
We are grateful to all who raised, harvested and prepared this bounty.
And we are thankful for the memories of those we have loved who cannot be here to share in the joy of our company as we celebrate this and everyday.
So say we all.
Give it a try this Thanksgiving. You will be glad you did.
As a reminder, don't be afraid of the word prayer. It doesn't imply a belief in a deity. A prayer can be an invocation of inner strength and a uniting of a support group. No deity involved. Humanists can pray for themselves or others in the hope that they find it within themselves to stay strong in front of their adversity. That they put forth extra effort to support those in need physically and emotionally to cope with the challenges they face.
It is a conversation with yourself. A search for greater will, calm and focus. It is also a conversation with others in the room, to come together to support a common goal or meet a common challenge.
From time to time I hear the argument that nothing causes people to lose their religion quite as much as actually reading the bible. It was certainly true in my case. One of the concepts I found particularly difficult was god imposing the curse of eve for female led bad behavior. Once I was old enough to really understand what the bible was saying I thought it was a combination justification for oppression and dominance and an historical reality that women probably did need more protection from men in primitive societies. But I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it as I rejected the whole mythology of the Garden of Eden. Yeah. A talking snake. See those all the time. Harry Potter not withstanding.
So reading the article below was a little nostalgic, and left me particularly glad that I personally rejected Christianity as all being just too far fetched and often wrong headed. The article discusses two different translations of the beat down that god laid on Eve for tempting Adam into following her into disobedience. While I find the whole concept despicable I am having trouble deciding which translation is more offensive.
What do you all think?
theatlantic.com Some readers have questioned the alteration because it seems to reflect the translators’ well-known stance on gender roles.
Warning! Snark Out ahead!
I just watched the season premier of the TV show Gold Rush, Alaska. It follows several mining crews attempting to strike it rich by digging up that most desired metal. One of the groups is the Hoffman family. They wear their Christianity on their sleeves and pray in the oddest way. The crew regularly gets together and prays for God to give them piles and piles of gold. Really? That's what you pray for? Not to be a better person. Not for the betterment of mankind. Oh no. For piles of money. More than they could ever need to lead a simple Christian life. Heck, why not go whole hog and wish for a pony?
Scientists recently asserted that they think there are countless millions more GALAXIES in the universe. Not people, not planets, not solar systems, but galaxies. Each consisting of millions of stars and billions of planets. And out of all "creation" their god is willing to take time out of his apparently not-busy-enough schedule to put more gold in their wash plant. Why should he do this? Why, because they worship him. Some kind of quid pro quo I guess. We grovel before you, and you shower us with riches. Great work, if you can get it.
Hmmmm. Does this great deal apply to all of the religions of all of the creatures on all of the planets scattered around the universe? Or are we just unbelievably (and I mean REALLY unbelievably) special?
In most cases I can respect the religion of other people, even if I don't share it. But these guys? And their 3:16 mining company? (John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. Yeah, that makes sense, too.) They have twisted their belief system around into totally self-serving nonsense.
I am so glad to be on this side of the religious fence. I bet you are too.
This comes from a "point of view" source (gospelmap), but it is absolutely fascinating. I don't see anything obviously historically inaccurate. So I suspect it is a pretty accurate representation of the spread of Christianity and Islam over the centuries. It also includes the rise and fall of Mongols and Communism. Probably not because they are religions so much as because of the impact they had on the spread of Islam and Christianity. I would love to see one with inclusions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
vimeo.com This animated map is a powerful visual depiction of the most important movement in history: the spread of Christianity. Every frame is one year in the last 2000…
Religionists often make the argument that belief in a god is necessary for humans to behave morally and ethically. The origins of this nonsense can be seen in the Garden of Eden fable that has man (well, woman) guilty of "original sin". You see it throughout religious literature. Man is corrupt, selfish, and only through supernatural intervention can mankind rise above it's natural, base instincts. Some even suggest this proves the existence of a god.
While I am not going to take the time at this moment to show why this is absolute nonsense, I do note that this video does seem to take their side of the argument . . . .
The growth of New Age mysticism in the modern age has always been a source of disappointment for me. We know better. We really do. Scott Adams gets it right.
dilbert.com Dogbert: I'm starting a new business selling clothes to ghosts. My garments are made of the finest ectoplasm. Dilbert: Ghosts don't have money. Dogbert: They don't need money. I'm using a life insurance business model. If you pay me until you die, I will keep your ghost well-dressed for eternity. I…
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