Is your worldview naturalistic?

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Is your worldview naturalistic? If so, you might find the brights to be interesting.

So just what is a ‘bright’? This is a new term coined by a group of web activists who want to create an online constituency of people who identify themselves as having a particular worldview, one that’s predominantly naturalistic and is free of supernatural and mystical elements.

Broadly speaking, I lean fairly heavily towards the ideas you can find at www.the-brights.net and think the world would be a better place if more people adopted a naturalistic worldview.

(I’m not that keen on the label ‘bright’ however, as it implies that if you don’t hold these views, you must be a ‘dull.’ Tribalism has always been part of the problem posed by religion and superstition throughout history, so it would be nice to try to do away with that. I don’t dispute the need for an upbeat positive sounding label, though. The language used to describe things says a lot about how they are perceived. Bright is much better than atheist or pagan.)

It’s interesting to examine why an internet constituency is an important thing – after all, surely people can just hold whatever beliefs they want and that’s that. Well, it is and it isn’t that simple. I watched a very interesting lecture with Richard Dawkins recently on youtube, in which he pointed out that identifying yourself as an atheist made it almost impossible to get elected in most Western countries – including the US and here in Ireland.

In fact the only other groups that find it harder to get elected to high office in the US are gay and black people. In many parts of the world, even quietly saying that you choose not to believe in supernatural forces will actively work against you, because of fear and mistrust. A lot of theists sincerely believe that it’s not possible to live a moral or good life without a belief in god. De facto, those that don’t believe in god are a threat.

By creating an international constituency, people can assert their conviction without fear of retribution and lobbyists for the Bright movement get to point to the level of support there is for their worldview.

The movement’s three major aims are:
  1. Promote the civic understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, which is free of supernatural and mystical elements.
  2. Gain public recognition that persons who hold such a worldview can bring principled actions to bear on matters of civic importance.
  3. Educate society toward accepting the full and equitable civic participation of all such individuals.

So there you go. Hope that brightens your day!

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