Archive for December, 2008

Jan. 4 “Journeys of Belief” with Eric Dollard

December 28, 2008

“Journeys of Belief” a discussion hosted by Eric Dollard, Biblical scholar and independent thinker. Eric will share what has shaped his philosophical position. Participation will be encouraged.

Well I don’t know yet what his philosophical position is, but in any case most freethinkers have the experience of being raised with certain beliefs of our parents and then going on a quest to find our own path. Even researchers who study the psychology of religion use the word “quest” or the phrase “questing orientation” to describe one approach to religion which is shared by nontheists and some liberal Christians, Jews and others. So this promises to be an interesting discussion. Hope to see you there!

UMKC, Haag Hall, Room 301 from 1-3pm. Informal chat begins at 12:30.


Programs for Dec. 21 and 28

December 15, 2008

Dec. 21 “Psychology of Election Battles & Conflict Resolution Skills”

Rachel MacNair, PhD and author of “The Psychology of Peace” will give this talk.

Why talk about  conflict resolution at COR? Freethinkers don’t look to God to solve the world’s problems. So who is left? Just us humans. We need to know how to resolve our problems. Humanists in particular affirm that, “We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding” and affirm that Humanism is an alternative “to ideologies of violence.” (Humanist Affirmations,

Dec. 28 “Free Thought Celebration: When Religion is Absent, What Are Our Sources of Joy and Inspiration?”

Jerry Sargent will lead an interactive discussion.  (The relevance of this topic is self-evident, so I’ll say no more.)

Both programs are at the usual place and time, UMKC, Haag Hall, Room 307 at 1pm on Sunday, (or 12:30 for informal chatter beforehand).

See you there!

Dec. 14 Program: “We Voted. It’s Coming. Reflections on the Election”

December 13, 2008

Obama ran on a campaign of change, promising to be vastly different from George W. Bush. Although Barack Obama is a committed Christian, the way he holds and talks about his faith is worlds away from the religious divisiveness of George W. Bush, more reminiscent of President John F. Kennedy. So Obama’s election victory does give freethinkers hope that perhaps the holes punched in the wall of separation between church and state may soon start to mend.

But separation of church and state is certainly not the only issue of importance to the Community of Reason. The outgoing administration seems to be, as Stephen Colbert would say, factose intolerant, preferring truthiness to truth and ideology to reason-based policies. In contrast, Obama seems more reasonable and pragmatic. He was endorsed by 61 Nobel Laureates in science (

Finally, because of COR’s Humanist philosophical leanings, many other political issues also concern us. Humanism requires comittments to democracy as the best form of government, to the dignity of human beings and to a clean environment. As a result, we are environmentalists. We abhor tyranny, even in the name of national security, and we condemn any and all use of torture. The steady amassing of power in the executive branch, the erosions of both environmental protections and civil liberties, and the increased use of and attempts to justify torture are all trends that we hope will reverse themselves in the next administration.

It is with great interest that we shall hear Harris Mirkin, Chair of the Political Science Department at UMKC and Former Peace Corps member, reflect upon the election results this Sunday. See you there! (UMKC, Haag Hall, Room 301)


December 13, 2008

The purpose of this blog is to answer the question: What does this topic have to do with the Community of Reason or freethought in general? These posts are not intended to be summaries of our programs but rather as a way for members and non-members to understand how each talk is relevant.

A simple rejection of theistic religion is not a complete philosophy or worldview, but rather only part of the picture. Most freethinkers have a more complete view of the world and sometimes this worldview has a name and sometimes it does not. When it does, it most often is Secular Humanism or something similar. Not all of our members are Humanist and perhaps not everyone will agree each and every post on this blog. However, Humanism is so popular among our members that our programs are chosen with Humanist values in mind. Therefore, to understand the relevancy of our programs it helps to understand Humanism (see

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