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?
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.
- Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
- Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
- Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.
- Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
- 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
- On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
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