I’ve been reading and posting things and occasionally blogging (probably not frequently enough) but I have always stayed on the internet until now. Last fall, I decided to take the plunge and I joined my local humanist/non-believer association to see what it was like to interact with other real people instead of only doing the virtual thing. I must say it’s been an extremely positive and inspiring experience. I’ve met some truly wonderful people who are more or less like-minded individuals who share common goals and interests. We all see the negative aspects that religion has on society in general and are united in trying to limit its influence. We’ve shared books and ideas and had lively discussion about many a different subject. Now that I am connected to part of a larger group, I have been asked to take a more active role in the organization and one of the things that I take great delight in is having access to fairly famous guest speakers to speak on various topics (such as evolution for example).
Last night, one of the members of our group had been invited to an interfaith discussion at the local YMCA and I, along with several members of our group decided to show up to lend support. I was genuinely curious as really didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect. Our member has been part of the local humanist group for several decades and spent the first several minutes (probably 15-20 or so) of the meeting explaining what it was to be a humanist. After she finished, the floor opened up for discussion and it was here that I began to wonder how the rest of the event was going to transpire. In her talk, she had brought up several subjects – her time as a teacher in a public school and being forced to recite the lord’s prayer (back in the 60’s and 70’s) to the general evils that organized religion has perpetrated on the world. In any event, I hope you are getting the idea now. It’s the kind of subject which is virtually impossible to put delicately without “offending” someone. Much to my surprise, for the most part, most of the people (the faithful) were generally in agreement with her with the exception of a few things. There were some rather bizarre questions asked such as “As a Humanist do you have to believe….?” I tried to guage whether or not the person was being inquisitive or disingenuous (or just plain stupid! lol). I haven’t quite made up my mind yet. He seemed to believe in the afterlife and the fact that numerous “University” studies (none of which he could quote, curiously enough) was “proof” in his mind. When I brought up the fact there is “evidence” that document human contact with aliens, the only defence he could come up with is “I didn’t say anything about Aliens”. You soon realize there’s no arguing with a dunce like that.
Anyways, I found the overall experience very pleasurable and enriching. I’ll probably be showing up to several more here and there as the year goes on. I hope to do less talking and more listening in the next meeting. Listening to people prattle on about things that they can’t possibly know to be true is a source of endless entertainment for me!