Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Today's meeting with James Underdown

I thought today's meeting was great. There was good member turnout, and the talk was good. Mr. Underdown spoke on secular humanism and secularism in general. Long Beach Freethought is currently considering shirts. Any help is welcome. Also, there will be a Freethought Breakfast from 9 am - 12 pm this Saturday. More details on School Loop and through generic email.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10/28/08, guest speaker Robert Richert

Today's meeting went well. Our speaker was eloquent, incisive, and to the point about the topic. I do have some reservations, though, which need to be pointed out. I believe that 1) his approach is to religion and religious belief is too abrasive (even mocking at times), and 2) he was historically misleading.

Mr. Richert did not seem to give religion much respect. I believe religion (at least, moderate religion) deserves respect, just as any belief system does. Even though I believe that religion is not true, it STILL deserves respect. Mr. Richert might be right when it comes to religion (indeed, I agreed with most of what he said), but his harsh approach probably alienated rather than convinced.

I believe that Mr. Richert's history is a little off. For example, Mr. Richert attempted to link Jesus with the early Mithra (which is one of many allegations made by Jesus mythicists, who are a minority among biblical scholars). He said that Jesus and Mithra were both purported to have been born on December 25. What he did not mention was that the December 25 birthdate is NOT mentioned anywhere in the New Testament, and is an invention of the early Christian church. Also, Mithra was born of a ROCK, not a human virgin, and was born as a fully mature adult, not an infant. Although Mr. Richert said that he believed Jesus did exist, the pagan parallels he mentioned have long been discredited by mainstream biblical and historical scholars.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tuesday, October 28th meeting

We have a great speaker lined up for this week. His name is Robert Richert, and he will be speaking on "The Power of Unbelief". Please come! Tuesday at lunch in Room 831.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mixed feelings about the first LBF meeting

Today was the first LBF meeting. I showed an introductory powerpoint, and people were generally very attentive. The following discussion did not go how I intended it to go, though, and this is what I am worried about. Members in the club asked a lot of personal questions, which were answered with a lot of my own personal biases. But my personal biases are not what LBF is all about, they are just the conclusions that I have come to based on freethought. I felt like I was monopolizing the discussion with my own thoughts and opinions, and I want everyone to know that a 30 minute long lecture and Q and A by featuring Jaden is not going to be how the club is run. Usually, there will be an open discussion about a question or video or something, or there will be a speaker. I apologize for this, and hopefully it will change at the next meeting.

Monday, October 20, 2008

First meeting!

Our first meeting is tomorrow at lunch in room 831! Be there or be square!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Who, where, when?

Long Beach Freethought Club will be meeting in Room 831 (Mrs. Hickox) at lunch on Tuesdays. Everyone is welcome! Bring your friends and an open mind.

Vision solidifed

Here is a statement of the goals of Long Beach Freethought Club:

1) Create a warm social environment for all nonbelieving members. This includes being a place where those on the fence or believing can engage in respectful dialogue.
2) Promote the freethinking way. Students will encouraged and be encouraged to base their beliefs on sound thinking, scrutiny, and inquiry.
3) Emphasize the responsibility of each and every individual to develop meaning and morality in their own lives.
4) Volunteer in the greater Long Beach area and participate in relevant community outreach projects. Getting to know our city is the best way to show the importance of the freethinking lifestyle. We are in contact with such organizations as Precious Life, Southern California Food Bank, and the Long Beach Rescue Mission.

Here is the statement of purpose, straight from the club constitution.

Section 1. The purpose of this organization shall be to promote a freethinking philosophical viewpoint free of influence from dogma and authority, along with providing a positive social environment for non-theists, humanists, skeptics, et cetera. Students will engage in informed, respectful dialogue about relevant issues. Reason, rationality, and scientific inquiry are held as the basis on which Long Beach Freethinkers develop their belief systems. Thus, Long Beach Freethought ignores unnecessary recourse to the supernatural and other religious or quasi-religious elements. Long Beach Freethought also upholds the responsibility of students to cultivate meaning and significance in their own lives. The second component of Long Beach Freethought is service to the community. The volunteer work and community outreach projects of Long Beach Freethought will be one of the many indicators showing that one can achieve a relative “goodness” without a moral framework prescribed by a deity or religious tradition. This will encourage an increased presence of freethought, skepticism and secular humanism on campus and around the greater Long Beach area.