Newsletter #13 – The Church of Spiritual Humanism
August 13, 2003 – Philadelphia www.SpiritualHumanism.org
It’s the lazy dog days of summer. Its still important during this time of sun and fun to keep in mind and promote the ideals of Spiritual Humanism, that religion must be based on Reason, and that all people should be treated as equals.
IN THE NEWS
A Positive not so Positive
By: Hank Kalet, 08/06/2003
A study trumpeted by the right to support faith-based programs offers little support when looked at closely.
Slate’s Mark A.R. Kleiman offers some necessary tonic to offset the Bush administration’s contention that faith-based initiatives are the panacea that ails us.
In June, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society issued a report on a Texas prison program called InnerChange that apparently said that program graduates have been rearrested and sent back to prison at “dramatically lower rates than a matched control group.”
At least, that’s how the report played in the news media and was sold by the Bush administration and InnerChange proponents. The coverage, however, was seriously misleading, as Kleiman points out…
see full story at
One of the reasons for the great success of the United States is that its founders wisely delineated religion and government. Government should not endorse or promote religion. In a related story Bill Berkowitz of WorkingForChange.com reports that billions of dollars are being earmarked for the faith-based initiative in programs that not only don’t work, but are counter productive.
see full story at
READERS WRITE IN
If you have a question feel free to email me at info ( at ) spiritual humanism.org
On your web site I read the following:
“If you agree that Religion must be based on Reason…”
Well, it seems to me after reading much of what is available here that reason does not seem all that important to this organization. I do not intend any offence, but to me, the use of reason in the investigation of any question requires a fully open mind to all possible answers. To rule out any possible answer BEFORE investigation is to depart from reason. Reason says that I will accept WHATEVER conclusion all the evidence points to. To say I will believe any conclusion EXCEPT (…) is to sacrifice integrity on the altar of one’s preconceived ideas.
It is my belief that religion is either a true reflection of reality, or it is useless excrement. Religion is man’s attempt to explain things otherwise unknown. These ideas are not determined by my emotions. These ideas are either true, or they are false. Reality is reality, whatever I believe.
It seems that this organization is closed to the possibility that true, Biblical Christianity could be true. I would not expect you to blindly accept that it is true. But it seems that everything I read from this organization considers the matter settled against the possibility. That can only occur at the expense of REASON. So, I must conclude that propaganda, not reason, rules the roost here.
Certainly we are open to all possibilities including flying saucers, invisible fairies, and Biblical Christianity (whatever that may be). But to believe frivolous claims is folly, so every claim must be backed up with the best tools available. Logic and the scientific method are the best ways humans have yet discovered to ascertain the true nature of reality. With out the application of these tools our lives would be shorter and plagued by much more suffering and misery. If you claim cannot stand up to such investigation then we cannot endorse it.
I find fault with your close-minded beliefs about religion. To conclude that there can be only a true reflection of reality or useless garbage is preposterous. In all of our pursuits of knowledge we learn incrementally, often a tiny step at a time. Religious knowledge is no different. Certainly we learn something about being human from all religious beliefs including the most trivial, even when they appear misguided.
We must learn from the mistakes of the past, and build on the successes. We must boldly reject ideas, which don’t stand up under closer scrutiny, embrace that which has been shown to be true, and accept that are some questions that cannot yet be answered but under the power of reason and persistence may yet yield truth. Only this is the surest path to spiritual fulfillment, prosperity, and the true nature of reality.
Ordained Clergy Packages are available in our online store http://www.spiritualhumanism.org/shop.php The Ordination Certificates are printed on acid free paper for extra long life, and Clergy Wallet ID Cards are nice to have. The Officiant’s Manual includes information on celebrating the solstices, sample ceremonies, etc., and the companion CD has marriage laws for all 50 states. The fees charged for these packs are our only income and help defer the cost of the web site, advertising, PO Box and fund the purchase of a permanent location for our regular religious services.
President, The Church of Spiritual Humanism