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Friday, January 19, 2007

Goings Ons

Well it is yet again time for another blog entry. I've decided to be a little more traditional and 'blog-like' in this post and talk about what's happening with me lately. This shouldn't be too far out of place since what's been happening with me has a lot to do with philosophy.

Firstly, I'll just mention that my certification from the American Humanist Association as a Humanist Minister will be going into effect very soon. Already, there is a couple inquiring about a secular wedding ceremony. Fortunately for me, there is another experienced Humanist Minister nearby (who actually married my wife and me). His name is Ross and he's agreed to help me out on this first wedding. We are both meeting with the couple next week to discuss the content of the ceremony with them.

In addition to this, I've been elected as President of the 'Humanists of Houston' (HOH). This local Humanist group has been around since 1978 and many of its members are my elders and much better educated than myself. So it's a big honor that they would see fit to elect me - I hope I do HOH well.

Although HOH has been around a long time, it's still a fairly small organization. This is partly because through much of its history there have been a variety of ideas on just what sort of group it should be. As it stands today, the membership is disproportionately 'gray'. We could also stand a few more females in the mix. HOH has, at least in recent years, become somewhat of a 'scholarly' type group with book clubs and lectures and such.

While we'll always keep the academic options, my aim is to do more outreach to a younger more diverse crowd. In order to be more attractive, we'll need to be a fully robust Humanist organization. That means we need to have more activities outside of the meeting rooms, and more activities that involve more than lectures and book clubs. I'm hoping we can get a Social club going which will include movies, plays, game nights, outings, and more. I also hope that we can establish a Women's club. We will be reformatting the monthly meeting to have a reception and be geared more toward positive Humanist values that are practical and applicable for people, rather than so much religion-bashing which has been the focus of late.

Second to making HOH more attractive to a wider variety of people is letting them know about it. I have high hopes for our outreach efforts which will include newsletter ads, T-shirts and other merchandise, and maybe radio spots. Getting more active on the web is also crucial. I've begun by refurbishing their website, which should be going live in the next few days. Eventually I hope to get us more involved with MySpace, YouTube, and more. One of our members has already been part of a growing Humanist group in Second Life.

In addition to these other efforts, we hope to have more public events, the first will be a Darwin Day celebration at a local bookstore. So, I'm quite excited about the possibilities for HOH and fortunately, the current members seem to like these directions. Tomorrow we'll be having our first planning meeting to get things going.

HOH hopes to get out in the public eye a little more and promote Humanist philosophy and values while at the same time provide a home for humanists, nontheists, and freethinkers in this area. This is a good example of living, applied philosophy (at least, one type of philosophy) so I thought it might make an interesting post for this week.

As a bonus post, I plan to soon complete something I'm calling "Simmias' Harmony". It's a detailed examination of the arguments Socrates uses for a distinct soul - the basis of which went on to inspire Stoicism, Gentiles, Christianity, and the modern conception of souls. I hope to be able to post this in the next few days.

Soon after that, I have another article in the works which will take a look at what seems to be an explosion of secularism, religious criticism, and/or atheism among the youth over the web. As always, thanks for reading :)

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