Newsletter # 36- The Church of Spiritual Humanism
October 25, 2016 - Philadelphia www.SpiritualHumanism.org
This has been such a busy fall that I did not have the opportunity to send out the September newsletter. Things have finally slowed down enough for me to get caught up a bit. They say a rolling stone gathers no moss, but it also doesn't get much of anything else accomplished aside from rolling.
There have been such great leaps forward with time saving technology that one would think we would all be living lives of leisure. In fact the exact opposite seems to be the case. But I have found that if I don’t block out time specifically for leisure activities I would never get to them as other must do activities are always pushing ahead of them on my to do list.
You must make sure you are the master of technology and not let it be in charge. If that means the lawn goes un-watered for a few weeks or the DVR fills to capacity, so be it. We have to make time to get outside, take a walk down to the park and enjoy the nice weather while it last. Be sure to set aside a few hours a week for important things.
IN THE NEWS
Goal attainment seems to be about avoiding temptation, not exercising willpower
Those people with their gym-toned bodies and high-flying careers. Somehow they always seem to make different choices than the rest of us - fruit over chocolate, work over TV. It's as if they are capable of super-human willpower, but a new study that's currently in press at Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests it's not so. Achieving your work and fitness goals is not about exercising self-control, the findings imply, rather it's about avoiding temptation in the first place....
The surprising finding is that students who reported exercising more deliberate self-control through the main study week did not achieve more progress on their goals. Instead, it was the students who reported experiencing fewer temptations who achieved more goal success...
see full story at https://digest.bps.org.uk/2016/10/18/is-willpower-overrated/
I think mastering your own weaknesses is one of the most important skills a person can develop in order to be successful. If you want improve yourself in any domain it takes lots of practice and hard work. Without the self-knowledge that helps to keep at it and not be distracted this becomes very difficult.
We can greatly increase success by simply making it more convenient to move toward your goal. I suggest you use this as a guide when molding an environment for success. If you are trying to lose weight, do not keep snacks in the house. If you want to study more use blocking software to keep your from time wasting social media.
If you can shape your environment so that you encounter fewer temptations you will have a much greater chance of achieving those elusive ambitions and perhaps help in your efforts to make the world a better place.
READERS WRITE IN:Thanks for sending the newsletter out. I have a question for the organization. I joined, quite some time ago, because I needed spiritual support in understanding and providing closure on the death of a pet; something which mainstream organizations were not prepared to assist with at that time.
I strongly feel that the tenants of Spiritual Humanism are very flexible, and can apply to many different belief systems. For that reason, I used the ordination to officiate a Pagan handfasting some years ago in a natural setting, which is generally favored by Pagan couples. The ceremony called to the elements of nature (earth, air, fire and water) and to the Goddess and God, which represent the feminine and masculine nature of the divine, and not supernatural beings.
Later, I was told by the forum administrators that Paganism was not part of Spiritual Humanism, because the belief in the Gods and Goddesses of the ancient mythologies constituted belief in the supernatural. I disagreed, because the deities represent archetypes of human behaviors and feelings, and when we call upon the deities we are actually calling upon the qualities within ourselves. This is in contrast to believing in a supernatural being who can "save us from going to hell".
Since there was some question, I also ordained in Universal Life Church which embraces Paganism and everything else. What is the true answer? Is it okay to perform Pagan or Wiccan ceremonies, which honor nature along with feminine and masculine divine archetypes (as contrasted with religions restricted to recognizing a single or triple masculine supernatural being, and not the feminine) with the Spiritual Humanist ordination?
Sorry to heart of the loss of your beloved friend and pet. My condolences.
All religions have borrowed elements from other belief systems. Spiritual Humanism recognizes and unashamedly espouses this idea. Certainly we do not need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to ritual and human spirituality. There have been many attempts to create new religions with no ties to other traditions and inevitably these feel flat, artificial and not organic.
I think for any religion to be successful it is necessary to selectively borrow things from other traditions even when those traditions have elements that are objectionable. When I was first developing the idea of Spiritual Humanism I definitely was influenced by pagan religious practices. Generally speaking paganism promotes a human connection to Nature. The Spiritual Humanist rituals associated with the solstice and equinox have roots that loosely go back thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands of years.
On the other hand the primary tenet of Spiritual Humanism is that we can only base our actions and moral ethical systems on concepts that can be verified via the scientific method. That means it is unacceptable to justify any moral position, ethical guideline or action via a supernatural agency. If something cannot be verifiably proven to exist we must never base our actions on it.
I dislike these sorts of stickler arguments but in the end it comes down to your definition of Divine. If as you said “the deities represent archetypes of human behaviors and feelings, and when we call upon the deities we are actually calling upon the qualities within ourselves” then of course that would be fine.
On the other hand I am sure that many pagan believers would take it a step further and endorse a supernatural element to their belief. It is perfectly acceptable to be a Spiritual Humanist and personally believe there might be or is something akin to Divine entities in the Universe, but it would not be okay to base any moral authority or justify any action on such a being. Unless of course the existence of such a being can be proven and verified by using the scientific method.
The short answer to your question then is, yes it is okay to perform a ceremony in the manner which you described.
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