Why do secular groups often act like religious ones?
Why do secular groups often act like churches? The answer is simpler than you think.
It is often noticed by religious individuals that people and organizations who claim to be without religion often still use religious notions, practices, and symbolism themselves.
Think of it; atheists often celebrate Christmas, agnostics often praise the golden rule, and humanists get together in groups to do good things for other people. Such people even regularly meet on Sundays to have lectures, coffee, and chat.
These tendencies become even stranger when the organizations in question are explicitly non-religious. Such organizations, which are often accused of either being religious in nature or trying to abolish religion, also seem to borrow many of the practices of organized religion as they help their members to not need religion.
What gives? Why do secular groups borrow from the groups they differentiate themselves from?
To find out, I interviewed Glenda, a celebrant at the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago. A lightly edited version of our conversation follows.
Scotty: What is humanism? How is it different from religion?
Glenda: Humanism is a lot more casual than that. People think that we have a hard, rigid doctrine. Humanism has a few pillars, but it's not rigid. Its really about helping people become better versions of themselves.
Scotty: So, tell me about your organization.
Glenda: The Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago was founded in 1882 to serve the humanist community. We meet on Sundays for service or a lecture. We also have a Sunday School which teaches children how to be global citizens.
Scotty: Why do your members come together in a group?
Glenda: Being able to lean on people with similar gaols, helping people out, being better people, shared values. In a word, community.
Scotty: Are most of your members atheists?
Glenda: A majority of them are, but some of our members believe in God.
Scotty: Why do you meet on Sundays?
Glenda: The schedule just works-the schedule is just open. Some groups meet on other days, one group I know meets on Wednesdays in a pub.
Scotty: Are these lectures your group has like sermons?
Glenda: Not in that a person is preaching a specific idea. We find a person with expertise on a topic to come and speak, and we always have a Q&A. We’ve had speakers on history, arts, current events, and good life practices.
Scotty: You’re a celebrant, tell me about that.
Glenda: We help those who want a secular wedding, baby naming, memorial services, coming of age ceremony or things like that. There are four of us here, all volunteers.
Scotty: How would you contrast it to being a priest?
Glenda: Since we don’t have a rigid tradition to follow, we can be true to what the couple wants and what is true to them.
Scotty: Do you have any quotes to sum up what humanists believe? That shows us how a humanist should act?
Glenda: “Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in yourself.”
So, there you have it. The universal need for community, for help in celebration and mourning, and the human desire to be better than we are leads us to form groups both secular and religious.
Since secular humanist organizations and religious organizations are often trying to do the same things, the overlap in form is all but inevitable.
Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.
- Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
- In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
- The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
Going back to the moon will give us fresh insights about the creation of our solar system.
- July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landing — Apollo 11.
- Today, we have a strong scientific case for returning to the moon: the original rock samples that we took from the moon revolutionized our view of how Earth and the solar system formed. We could now glean even more insights with fresh, nonchemically-altered samples.
- NASA plans to send humans to a crater in the South Pole of the moon because it's safer there, and would allow for better communications with people back on Earth.
Pugs and bulldogs are incredibly trendy, but experts have massive animal welfare concerns about these genetically manipulated breeds.
- Pugs, Frenchies, boxers, shih-tzus and other flat-faced dog breeds have been trending for at least the last decade.
- Higher visibility (usually in a celebrity's handbag), an increase in city living (smaller dogs for smaller homes), and possibly even the fine acting of Frank the Pug in 1997's Men in Black may be the cause.
- These small, specialty pure breeds are seen as the pinnacle of cuteness – they have friendly personalities, endearing odd looks, and are perfect for Stranger Things video montages.
Jokesters and serious Area 51 raiders would be met with military force.
- Facebook joke event to "raid Area 51" has already gained 1,000,000 "going" attendees.
- The U.S. Air Force has issued an official warning to potential "raiders."
- If anyone actually tries to storm an American military base, the use of deadly force is authorized.