Dear Friends, I am completely confident that the religious naturalist worldview will eventually be the default worldview of most people (never 100% of course). What I don’t know is the route to get there. Will it be through organizations like ours, or sister organizations like humanist groups or natural spiritualism groups? Will it be through the slow modification of other worldviews like mainstream religions, or through the growth of unitarianism? Will it be through academic achievements or through blockbuster popular books? Will one or more celebrities help popularize the ideas? Will it be all of the above, or perhaps just a slow evolution of culture, one person at a time? Will it be through the adoption of some sort of ritual or set of rituals? Will it involve celebration, exhortation, or some combination of emotions?
As I think about a future path, I’m already standing in awe of those who started Earth Day and those who keep it going. Starting in 1970 and growing every year since then, this will be the first year my own area has had family activities at a major venue, and somehow that just underscores for me how powerful an idea Earth Day was and is. Each year more and more groups get on board for this day of celebration and caution, and I hope as many of our members as possible participate. Maybe THAT by itself will turn out to be the catalyst that not only raises awareness about the need to protect our precious planet, but will also usher in a dramatic shift to adopting principal worldviews featuring nature and its appreciation, at not only a cognitive but also at an emotional level, at not only individual but also group levels.
Because of my sense of awe about this year’s Earth Day celebration, I’m asking each of you who does participate to send me a paragraph telling me what you did on April 22 (this Sunday). I’ll simply make a file on it, and in future years track our involvement and figure out ways to encourage our members to help make this a significant day in our individual lives and in the life of our world.
And now for a few exciting announcements:
1. For those of you in the Boston area, our president Ursula Goodenough will be giving an Earth Day talk, at the Humanist Hub (30 John F. Kennedy St, 4th Floor, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts at 1:30 PM). There’s no cost and all are welcome, and you are all invited to stop in afterwards at John Harvard’s at 33 Dunster Street (a block away) to meet and talk with other RNA members and whoever else may want to join in. For details you may want to touch base with Todd Macalister (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will definitely be there. I envy you all the experience, but I’ll be in our LSU Agricultural Center enjoying those family activities I mentioned.
2. Our Board of Advisors member Michael Hogue, whose earlier books you have already thrilled at, has a new book out, entitled American Immanence. If you are interested and want a 30% discount, write me a note. In the meantime, go to Amazon and read the review – I’ll give you a day or two, and if nobody else buys the one available used copy for $30, don’t say I didn’t warn you that I plan to buy it.
3. Finally, let me mention this summer’s June 23-30 conference sponsored by the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science on beautiful Star Island off the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, entitled Artificial Intelligence Turns Deep: Who’s In Control? Go to www.IRAS.org for details.
I’ll be thinking about you all on Earth Day. I’m glad to be on the planet with you.
Michael Cavanaugh, Secretary