Our Lady of the Holy Cinema
Can a secular humanist organization build the same kind of socially progressive, inspiring, close-knit community that many religious institutions possess?
Welcome to Our Lady of the Holy Cinema. After the processional, please remain standing for the blessing of the popcorn. Following services there will be a coffee hour, after which Deacon Scorcese will give a lecture entitled "Morality, Mistresses and Prostitution: Eliot Spitzer vs. Fanny and Alexander." Now please turn to page 235 in your hymnal and rise for our opening hymn, "Hooray for Hollywood."
OK, maybe I’m being a little over the top, but I am gay, after all. I’m also a musician, and for a good portion of my life I have played the piano and sung in a myriad of temples and churches. Most have been comprised of interesting and altruistic groups of people who discuss morality, traditions and ethics; organize and fight for progressive goals; build close and admirable bonds among people--in other words, partake of many fulfilling activities that I would greatly enjoy participating in. As an atheist, though, no matter how much I admire their sense of community, devotion, and social action, I've never felt comfortable becoming a member of any of these groups, as I don’t believe in the central rationale for their existence or mine—God.
As more and more atheists are becoming visible, why not consider providing people with some of the same positive elements that organized religion does—community, purpose, and a sense of inspiration? I would even go as far to say that it is our duty to be a counter-balance to the increasing religiosity in American society. We are social beings who crave fellowship and respond to inspiration.
Personally, I have had the most inspirational and revelatory experiences of my life in movie theaters. Great films have moved me to tears, made me laugh, stirred me to anger and inspired me to action. Why can't a group of cinema and humanity lovers meet once a week, watch a film, discuss the ethical situations revealed, care for their members, and organize to help effect change in the world?
The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"