Category Archives: Secular Humanism

Humanist Peer Support and Discussion Group in Orlando

On the third Wednesday of each month, 6:00 p.m., the Humanist Peer Support and Discussion Group, hosted by Humanist and Secular Services at UCF, will meet in east Orlando, near the University of Central Florida.

The group is for those experiencing personal or professional challenges related to their worldview, coming out as an Atheist or other marginalized perspective identity, coping with transition from a religion, seeking meaning and purpose in secular life, and more.

If you have specific topics or questions you’d like us to cover, please send them to nonreligion@ucf.edu.

This is a peer support group, not a therapy group.

Dates: Spring 2018 dates (third Wednesdays): 1/17, 2/21, 3/21, 4/18, and 5/16
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Location: 3280 Progress Drive, Suite 100, Orlando, FL, 32826
Parking at the building is free. Follow the signs in the parking lot to the Human Resources suite; we are in room 105.

For more information contact nonreligion@ucf.edu or visit  http://SRMA-UCF.org/support.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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Atheist’s Invocation, Florida Legislature

January 12, 2018

We honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by investing time this coming weekend to make a positive difference for our communities through volunteer service (Join us!!). However, we must also honor his vision of a world where people are judged on the content of their character.

There are many Humanists, Atheists, and other secular citizens concealing their non-religious identity.  Living in the glare of hate that is ignited by ignorance isn’t easy. We might fear damage to professional relationships and even impact to job security.  We might fear loss of friends and family.  Many feel alone, isolated, or unrepresented in our community.

Dr. King said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.  As compassionate people concerned with the well-being of others, uplifting and serving our community must include valuing and creating a world that is safe for everyone.

Picture4It is extremely important that non-religious people– and all underrepresented identities – have a voice. We are grateful to Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, a champion for his constituents, for inviting a secular invocation for the House of Representatives.  As far as we know, this is the first Atheist to deliver an invocation, and the first intentionally secular invocation, for the Florida Legislature.

The invocation focused on diversity and inclusion, reminding us all that there are many identities around us whose voices are seldom heard.   As Humanists,  we are “concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views.” (Humanism and Its Aspirations).

All leaders of our state need to be aware that nearly a quarter of the people they represent identify as unaffiliated with a religion, and more than 1.4 million Floridians identify as Atheist or Agnostic*.  This invocation was an amazing opportunity for our voice to be heard, for our existence to be noticed, and to work toward normalization of inclusion for people of all perspectives.

A special shout of gratitude to the Central Florida Freethought Community for their support and coordination.  And thank you to House Chaplain Tim Perrier for his kindness and hospitality.

LINKS

 

Below is the transcript of the invocation.  You can watch it here: https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/1-11-18-house-session/

It is an honor to represent your Humanist, Atheist, and other non-religious constituents and colleagues with a secular invocation.

 Those you serve and those around us today include people of different cultures and races, gender identities, levels of financial stability, and backgrounds. They vary in physical and cognitive abilities. They speak many languages. They include people of many faiths and non-faith perspectives. But while we are diverse, we are united by our common humanity.

 The deliberations in this chamber are of the highest consequence to the people of Florida. As you work together toward solutions that address challenges facing our state, may you have the fortitude to make difficult choices while holding the needs of the diverse public at the forefront of your decisions.

 As we seek to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month, I am reminded of his words: “The time is always right to do what its right.”

 May your leadership be guided by integrity and compassion to uplift all people today and every day of this legislative session.

 Thank you for your service and your work today to make a positive, meaningful difference for all.

 

*Based on US Census Bureau v2107 Florida Population (20,984,400) and Pew Research Center data identifying 7% of Floridians as Atheist or Agnostic.


 

Thanks, Orlando Distaff Day!

The fiber artist community contributed 136 hand-made warmies yesterday – blankets, scarves, gloves, slippers & socks, shawls, hats, and more.   They also donated more than 70 items of food and wrote postcards to warm hearts – a nice touch to add an extra sprinkle of kindness to their 2018 Warmies drive!

Last night was designated a “cold night” at the Coalition for the Homeless.  There were more people waiting at the gate and on the campus than i’ve seen there in a long time. The lobby was packed with men, women, and children.  After a week of unexpected freezing nights, people were looking for shelter and warmth.  The Coalition was in need of warmies of all kinds – and Orlando Distaff Day helped to answer their call for community support.

Thank you to the fiber artists and the organizers of Orlando Distaff Day – you make a difference!

We’re looking forward to Orlando Distaff Day 2019 on January 5th!

LINKS

 

 

BE. Inspired – January Newsletter

2018 is going to be AWESOME.

We’re starting off 2018 strong with some great events in January – join us & help kick off a GREAT year for Humanist service in Central Florida.  BE part of it!

Year-End Summary:

  • In 2017 we hosted 72 events and performed 880.5 hours of service;
  • Our 2017 blood drives collected 67 units;
  • Our 2017 summer book drive raised 97 books and our holiday toy drive raised more than 50 STEM-themed toys;
  • Our total 2017 expenses were $7,960.70; and
  • We achieved Gold team status with the Foundation beyond belief.
  • Detailed summary: http://JustGottaBE.org/service-impact 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

2018 Member Surveyhttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZPZGQKR

Board of Directors vacancies: There are three openings on our Board. Contact BEOrlando@live.com for more information.


 UPCOMING EVENTS

Details & RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/BEOrlando/events 

  • 6th – join us for Orlando Distaff Day!  A day of fiber crafts & philanthropy with the fiber artist community. We’ll host a vendor table collecting hand-made warm items and food for homeless people in Central Florida.  Volunteer with us or bring a project & just come enjoy the day. Learn more: http://orlandodistaffday.org
  • 10th – prepare & serve dinner at SafeHouse of Seminole.  Must RSVP by January 3rd.
  • MLK Service Weekend (MLK service pins for volunteers at these events)
    • 13th –  sort food donations at Second Harvest Food Bank
    • 14th –  prepare & serve lunch at Ronald McDonald House (Nemours at Lake Nona)
    • 15th –  sort destroy mattresses!  Prepare mattresses at the Mustard Seed for recycling.
  • 17th – Humanist Peer support and Discussion Group – This is hosted by Humanist and Secular Services at UCF; however, it is free and open to the public.  The location is just off campus and parking is free and adjacent to the building.
  • 20th – climb into the woods for the annual Invasive Species Raid with Seminole County SERV.
  • Online, anytime – 15 minute online Meal Serve training for those joining us to prepare and serve food at upcoming events. Electronic certificate upon completion.

Announcing our 2018 12x12x12 Challenge!!  Each month, make a care pack with 12 items.  You can turn them in at any BE. Orlando event.  Last year we used these items to support the Coalition for the Homeless as they served an influx of people who needed shelter during and after Hurricane Irma.  Whether there is a similar event or not, these care packs make a real difference for people in our community.  Item suggestions and agency wish lists are posted on the event description.


 JANUARY HUMANIST OBSERVANCES

Humanist Calendar: http://HumanistCalendar.wordpress.com

  • Birthdays: Stephen Hawking (8th)
  • Founding Dates: ACLU Founded (19th, 1920)
  • Half-Pi Day – If the Tau Day enthusiasts can call Pi Day “Half-Tau Day”, then we can have Half-Pi Day as well. Celebrate on January 5th!
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – The third Monday of every January is designated a national day of service by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Points of Light Foundation. We celebrate  “A day on, not a day off”: investing our day out of the office to make a difference in our communities. BE. Orlando hosts one or more service events on MLK Weekend.  Volunteer with us or visit NationalService.gov/MLKday for national projects & information.
  • Thomas Paine Day – One of the founding fathers of the United States and author of The Age of Reason, Paine promoted reason and free thought, and argued against institutionalized religion in general and Christian doctrine in particular.
  • January is National Mentor Month. Learn more about International Mentor Day, Thank Your Mentor Day, and other mentoring celebrations at Mentoring.org

Members’ favorite positive life quotes

Contributed by Amanda, member since May 2012:

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” Anthony J. D’Angelo


Favorite Photos from Dec 2017:

Elfing Day – toy & blood drive – we collected more than 50 toys for SafeHouse and 11 units of blood.  In addition, BE. Orlando beat Oneblood at badminton.  Kind of.IMG_20171216_134113215.jpg

Christmas Eve hike on Klondike Beach: seven members & friends did a beautiful (but not easy) 6 hour beach hike starting at 6:30 a.m.  Near the end we slowed down to each fill a trash bag.IMG_20171224_071925595.jpg

 

A great day in the park

BE. Orlando members joined 50 other volunteers and the parks and recreation team with Seminole County (SERV) for a park cleanup on June 24th.  Teams of volunteers removed 17 bags of litter and trash, and approximately 60 bags of invasive plants (9 cubic yards of primrose willow, Caesarweed, alligatorweed, torpedo grass) from Red Bug Lake and from the edge of the park.

BE. volunteers canvassed the park for three hours, filling bags with trash and talking to the younger volunteers about the impact of trash – especially deadly shiny items like confetti, Mylar balloons, and tin foil.

Our youngest volunteer, a 3rd grader, said this was her second time volunteering. When asked what she learned from the project she said, “I learned not to litter.”

Our gratitude to the SERV program leaders!  SERV stands for Seminole Education, Restoration, and Volunteer program.  They lead citizens in projects where we learn about environmental impacts and are then empowered to work together to make a difference.

LINKS

Seminole County SERV

Join BE. Orlando for future events

SERV photo album from this event

 

 

 

Happy World Humanist Day!

World Humanist Day is celebrated every year on June 21 by declaration of the American Humanist Association and the International Humanist Ethical Union.

It is an opportunity for humanists and humanist organizations to celebrate and inform communities about the positive values of Humanism and to share the local and global concerns of the Humanist movement.

The 50th anniversary World Humanist Congress in 2002 unanimously passed a resolution known as “The Amsterdam Declaration 2002″. Following the Congress, this updated declaration was adopted unanimously by the IHEU General Assembly, and thus became the official defining statement of World Humanism.   Read the Amsterdam Declaration: http://iheu.org/humanism/the-amsterdam-declaration/

The Humanist Manifesto, first written as a version of religious Humanism in 1933, was subsequently revised as a secular-specific perspective in 1973.  The third version, “Humanism and its Aspirations,” was adopted by the American Humanist Association in 2003:

Humanist Manifesto III, a Successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.

This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:

Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.

Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.

Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.

Humanist Manifesto is a trademark of the American Humanist Association
© 2003 American Humanist Association

Additional resources:

• Humanist Manifesto I

• Humanist Manifesto II

• Humanist Manifesto III in Spanish

• Humanist Manifesto III in Portuguese

• “Life without God (An American Sign Language translation of the Humanist Manifesto III)” translated by Justin Dean Vollmar

• Notable Manifesto Signers

• Print Version

 

 

Rice Bar!

For our June monthly meal serve event, we prepared a Rice Bar for the residents of SafeHouse of Seminole.  With rice as our base, we prepared creative toppings for residents to choose from.  These included cheesy veggies, steamed fresh veggieVolunteersRocks, spiced Mexican beans, tomato basil sauce, sweet & sour chicken, portobello alfredo, and chicken & gravy.  There was also an Indian section with chana masala (curried chickpeas), Methi melai mutter (green peas and spiced cream), Dal curry masala (lentils), baghara baingar (eggplant), and palek paneer (spinach & cheese).  And for dessert?  Rice pudding, of course!  We also had peaches and strawberry yogurt (both good on rice!).

We’re looking forward to our Summer Picnic theme in July!

LINKS

Join us for an event

SafeHouse of Seminole