Newsletter #1 – The Church of Spiritual Humanism
August 7, 2002 – Philadelphia, www.SpiritualHumanism.org
It is finally time to start sending out the newsletter (this is the first one). As you may have realized, The Church of Spiritual Humanism is a new organization with a new idea – Religion based on Reason. I am happy to report that our membership is growing rapidly. There is a huge number of people out there who want to have a religious connection to the universe, but who are dissatisfied with what the traditional “faiths” have to offer. Spiritual Humanism can fulfill these people’s religious needs, and eventually I hope it can do much more.
But to change the world into a better place takes time and effort, and your help. If you realize that the only path to religious truth is through reason then share your convictions with a friend who might agree with the philosophy of Spiritual Humanism. Mention our web site, SpiritualHumanism.org, and let them check it out for themselves. Only by continuing to grow can we hope impact the wider population.
READERS WRITE IN
I hope to include letters like the one below, from members in this newsletter. So if you have question feel free to email me at info ( at ) spiritual humanism.org
A Reader Writes:
> I would like to know more about your organization. Thank you. Ana
REPLY There are a lot of reasons why I started Spiritual Humanism. I have always been interested in religion, philosophy, and ethics but I thought that every person should develop their own ideas on these subjects. Like the majority of freethinkers, rationalists, or whatever they prefer to call themselves, I kept my religious views private.
The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 were the catalyst that caused me to reevaluate my position. It wasn’t just the fundamentalist origins of the terrorists but also the jingoistic responses of our leaders. It made me realize that not everyone has the time or inclination to formulate their ideas into a cohesive philosophy. And if I didn’t make the effort to publicly present simple, rational, religious system perhaps many people would never realize such a think could even exist.
There is an amplified power when many people stand behind a conviction that is greater then the sum of its members. Unless each us take action it is possible for civilization to fall into a dark age of superstition and irrational religious violence. So I started Spiritual Humanism. It’s a long term project that I hope will continue to be refined and improved upon. You have to take action to make the world the better place you want it to be.
There are other religious groups based on humanist and rational philosophies and while we respect their positions we take a different approach: All people have the right to perform religious ceremonies. Religious experience can and should be available to every one, not restricted to an academic, theological elite. Furthermore: For any movement, religious or otherwise, to be a success you have to convince a lot of people to join together.
This is why Spiritual Humanism easy to join, and easy to be a minister in. Every person has the right to perform religious activities; there is no separation between the clergy and the laity.
I also think it is important that a religion has ritual ties to the past. This is where I think where many atheists, agnostics, and humanists fail. People need rituals and the emotional religious experience that they promote. As long as we base our understanding of the universe on reason and science, we can adopt and redefine the meanings of the religious rituals of the past just as every successful religion has. You can’t wipe out religion, its part of being human. But you certainly can make it better then its current condition. This is the goal of Spiritual Humanism.
IN THE NEWS
AP NEWS Reports: Vatican excommunicates women who ordained as priests – From the on-line story (and link below) Aug 5, 2002
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has excommunicated seven women who claim to be priests and refuse to repent, saying Monday that the group had “wounded” the Church.
The women – from Austria, Germany and the United States – participated in an ordination ceremony June 29 carried out by Romulo Braschi, an Argentine who calls himself an archbishop but whom the Vatican rejects. The Church’s guardian of orthodoxy, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, set a July 22 deadline for the women to reverse their claims.
However, the women did not “give any indication of amendment or repentance for the most serious offense they had committed,” the Vatican said in a statement signed by Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “This Dicastery, in keeping with this warning, declares that they have incurred excommunication.”
Ordination is the right of all people regardless of sex, race, or sexual orientation. Religions based on “revealed” information from supposedly supernatural sources that is taken as infallible and unchangeable are a tremendous source of despair and suffering. Until people become informed and realize there is a better way they will continue to experience the dissatisfaction of this oppressive system. The best religious system will adapt to the constantly changing needs of our evolving society.
Finally I want to remind you about for the Clergy Packages available in our online store. The Ordination Certificates and Clergy Wallet ID Cards are really cool, and of course The Officiant’s Manual contains valuable information in it such as marriage laws for 50 state, sample ceremonies, etc. The fees charged for these packs help defer the cost of the web site, advertising, PO Box, and incorporation fees.
President, The Church of Spiritual Humanism