Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

11/25/2009—Followers of Hallowed Secularism, either the book or the blog or both, know that one of its great challenges is to become a way of life. What kind of lives, with what kinds of ceremonies and what kinds of celebrations, exist for the hallowed secularist?

This is not just a question for hallowed secularists, of course. Secularism of the future will have to answer this question all over the world. And the answers are likely to differ depending on the society in which the question is posed.

For me, the most important component to an answer is study and text. Secularists must spend time with greatness of spirit. That is what religious believers are able to do even without thinking about it. They have great texts, awesome ceremonies, and transformative art. Secularists lack all this and sometimes pretend they don’t need any of it.

One part of the future for secularism in America will be Thanksgiving. This day is one that the secularist can spend in an attitude of gratitude. Ronald Aronson has written that gratitude should be a defining attitude of secularism. Thanksgiving is already available for that as a broad social structure in which secularism fits as well as any religious tradition does.

So, tomorrow, give thanks. The universe spent thirteen billion years creating us and the beautiful world that supports us. Evolution painfully turned matter into empathy and generosity over millions of years. We all awoke into a consciousness we did not earn. And then there is love, the mysterious glue that holds our worlds together.

And I am grateful for the opportunity to think about the future along with all of you.

4 comments:

  1. I don't lack any great texts, awesome ceremonies, or transformative art. I would have thought it impossible for someone to claim that secularists, however defined, don't have one and three. I'm sure people claim there aren't ceremonies outside religion, although I wouldn't agree. But no great texts or art? There might be a category of people for whom this fits, but it certainly doesn't have anything to do with secular/religious differences.

    Pet peeve: Evolution didn't turn matter into anything other than matter. And certainly it didn't do anything painfully.

    Gratitude: Thank you for posting, and even more thanks for the replies. I enjoy reading and responding to your thoughts. Keep up the good work!

    Good luck with the new book!

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  2. Always a pleasure to read what you have to say. As to life's emergence, once there was what was "before" the bang, then there was matter, then there was life. If not evolution, what? More importantly, I would like to hear your thoughts on culture. I agree that all the necessary sources exist for a healthy, indeed flourishing, secular culture. But how does that happen exactly? Does each person make his own way in the world, isolated from all tradition? No culture operates that way.

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  3. Pre-biotic chemistry, at least 100's of thousands of years before biological evolution on earth, first started millions of years after the big bang. The heavier elements, like carbon, were formed from stars exploding, so it took a long time for them to be first created in the universe. More straight-forward: the big bang has absolutely no impact on evolution, or the origin of life.

    As for culture, two questions in reply to yours:

    Are you saying there isn't a flourishing secular culture right now?

    How can anyone isolate themselves from all tradition? No person lives that way.

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  4. Hi !!! Happy Thanksgiving! . :) :) :)
    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and every year I like to get into the mood-extend the holiday, since it were-by reading "Thanksgiving novels." Unsurprisingly, all these stories are mostly about family and friends, about coming together to heal old hurts and getting thanks for the gift of love. . . . ---
    You're Far better Off Today Than You Had been ten Yrs Ago?

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