Naturally curious, compassionate & rational
  • Humanist Community

    TED Talk Salon, Nov. 1st @ 2:30pm

    Join us for our next TED discussion, "Can prejudice ever be a good thing?" Psychologist Paul Bloom seeks to show that  prejudice is often natural, rational... even moral. The key, says Bloom, is to understand how our own biases work — so we can take control when they go wrong.

  • Ethics in Action

    Fall Food Drive

    Please participate in our food shelf drive for the Food Group of New Hope. This non-sectarian food network has been serving those in need for over 35 years. Let's remember those who are still struggling in this current economy and practice compassion.

  • Our Vision

    We aspire to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment and contribute to the greater good of humanity and the planet through reason, science, compassion and creativity. 

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Blog: Humanist Voices

Death: Acceptance or Avoidance?

autumn bench emptyIt’s the first day of autumn, a picture-perfect fall day, and I’m sitting here on my porch contemplating this essay on death. Perhaps it seems a bit macabre on such a lovely day, but it shouldn’t be. All the better to reflect on death in some of life’s finest moments than at its worst.

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How We Know What is True

http://i.imgur.com/IOOcrqh.jpgAs opposed to religions, which are founded on unsubstantiated if not outright debunked ideas, Secular Humanism is a philosophy of life founded on skepticism, empiricism, and reason. As a result, we not only have the capacity to better understand what is likely to be true, but we can also discern what is probably false, including supernaturalism.

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Mental Illness: Stigma, Silence, Suicide -- or Support?

Omental illness caring handsn a recent August morning I was awakened to the terrible news of Robin Williams’ demise. The sadness of this loss and his death by suicide hung over me like a shadow for days. Of course I didn’t know him personally, nor was I an especially avid fan. But over the years my life had been touched by this comedian and actor who made me both laugh and cry, and more importantly, helped me reflect on and better understand the complexity of our humanity. His portrayal of a passionate and caring English teacher in “Dead Poets Society” is a performance I will never forget. Now Williams’ own death has reminded me once again of the fragility of life and the heavy weight of mental illness that some people carry.

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The Problem with Magical Thinking

http://static.someecards.com/someecards/usercards/MjAxMi1lZGU5YmM0NzUwM2M0Yjlm.pngMagical thinking can be defined as "believing that one event happens as a result of another without a plausible link of causation."[1] This sort of cognition has led to beliefs in gods, spirits, luck, "alternative" medicines and therapies, magic, psychic powers, astrological signs, the power of prayer, etc. While magical thinking can produce some psychological benefits, there are simply too many dangers and downsides which make it harmful to society.

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The Problem with Liberal Religion

"Religion has not civilized man--man has civilized religion. God improves as man advances." -Robert IngersollAs I define it, liberal religion is the adherence to religious traditions and beliefs that do not outright contradict modern secular ethics or science. Often, Secular Humanists and liberal theists agree on a lot of topics. For example, many liberal theists accept evolution, global warming, gay rights, women's rights, sexual freedom, and cultural tolerance. In the end, the world would be a much better place if fundamentalist theists embraced liberal religion. Despite this, however, liberal religion still creates many problems which harm society.

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The Problem with Fundamentalist Religion

"If no change in reality can change your belief your belief is not based on reality."

As I define it, fundamentalist religion is the strict adherence to traditional beliefs and practices of a religion including, but not limited to, the literal interpretation of holy texts. The problem with fundamentalist religion is that it leads people to not only be immune to reason, but also to behave in ways which are harmful to themselves and others.

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The Nature of Religion

religious-warSo far in my blog posts, I've discussed the evolutionary, historical, cultural, literary, moral, psychological, and neurological nature of religion and of Christianity in particular. Before I delve into the issues created by religion and provide explanations of a more rational worldview, I would first like to summarize what religion is actually all about.

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Do Humans Have a Soul?

http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/3f/3fa2b966e592c68c89e76f36281c7345632d21e41be0bf46192df4a27b0839f8.jpgIn my previous 3 posts, I've provided evidence that religiosity and spiritual experiences are not based on supernatural forces, and free will is merely an illusion. Given this information, is there still room for an immaterial soul? Based on the best available evidence regarding brain functioning, there is no reason to believe anything akin to the human soul exists.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Garyprison Cox is a member of HofMN and an inmate at the Oak Park Heights prison. He is co-editor of the prison inmate publication, "A New Perspective," from which the following is excerpted.

The proverb "out of sight, out of mind" is likely familiar to most everyone. Yet how many of us fully appreciate just what a profound truth it actually expresses? Relatively few, I would hazard to guess. In short, we depend on our sense of vision much more than we realize – or should, once the scope of the situation is properly grasped. As the notoriously cryptic Yogi Berra might once have quipped: We are often blinded by what we can’t see.  An example of this is prisons.

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The Illusion of Free Will

"My favorite part of the Bible is when God give people free will, then kills them in a flood for not doing what He wants."Free will is an important aspect of many denominations of Christianity.[1] As C.S. Lewis explains "God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having."[2] However, the more we learn about the forces influencing our decisions, the less room there is for such freedom of will.

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