Weekly Announcements 10/13/13

We’re almost halfway through the semester now, if you can believe it. Hopefully your academic obligations don’t keep you from another week of fun Freethinker events:

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Tuesday, Oct. 15th from 7:00-8:30pm: This week’s meeting, in Brush Mountain A of Squires, will be a presentation by Christian Matheis entitled “What do we make of one another?”. Here’s a brief description of the presentation in his words:

Why do historically underrepresented groups who might benefit from working together find it difficult to foster solidarity? Where do we begin if we hope to ameliorate widespread injustices, to end oppression, and to bring about collective movements that respect differences? In this session, I discuss common misconceptions about “solidarity” that have hindered liberatory social movements, and instead I propose an alternative strategy for describing relationships. If workable, this strategy opens up the feasibility for scholarly and activist work to bolster not just one form of solidarity, but multiple conceptions of solidarities as resources for liberation.

Christian Matheis is a PhD candidate in ASPECT, the alliance for social, political, ethical and cultural thought. Here’s a link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1400965246802920/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Wed, Oct 16th at 8:00pm: The Secular Support Group will be meeting this week in the Shenandoah Conference Room (314) of Squires Student Center. This is a more private, mellow, and laid back group conversation than what you’ll be able to find at the regular Freethinkers Meeting. The general body meetings are great for guest speakers, educational workshops, good lively discussion, and even a heated debate or three. If you want a safe space to explore ideas you may not yet have fully formed, or you’re seeking some advice about how to interact with friends and loved ones who do not share your views, or simply want a place to speak your mind then please join the Secular Support Group!

Thursday, Oct. 17th at 7:00pm: There’s a group of us that go climbing at Crimpers Climbing Gym in Christiansburg. It’s a lot of fun as well as a good workout. It costs $14 to rent shoes and climb for the night. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.crimpersclimbing.com/

Friday, Oct. 18th from 11:00am-12:30pm: Friday morning, the Breakfast Club will be meeting again in the large first floor dining hall in Turner Place. This week the discussion topic is religion. As always, find the group by looking for the person in the magenta (pink) hat. Here’s a link to the page for the Breakfast Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/freebreakfast/

Friday, Oct. 18th from 10:00pm-2:00am: Friday night, we will be having a bake sale outside of Moe’s. We currently need people both for staffing the table and providing baked goods. If you have the time to help out with either task, even if you can’t stay at the booth for the entire time, please RSVP on the Facebook event page and leave a comment about how you can help: https://www.facebook.com/events/175866905938445/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Sunday, Oct. 20th at 2:00pm: If you can’t go climbing on Thursday (or can, and want to go again) come climb at Crimpers on Sunday!

Sunday, Oct. 20th at 5:00pm: Our exec. group will be having a business meeting in Squires Student Center near Au Bon Pan. In order to allow more time at meetings for discussion, we will be meeting Sunday to handle the business our club needs to organize. Everyone is invited to come and participate. It’s a great way to play a part in the workings of the club and gain leadership experience.

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Visit our website (http://www.freeatvt.org) or our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/24398461218/) for more information

Weekly Announcements 10/7/13

Yet another week has rolled around. Here are the events for this week.

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Tuesday, Oct. 8th from 7:00-8:30pm: This week’s meeting in 342 Squires Student center will be for general discussion. Come prepared with a controversial topic that you’d like to discuss.

Wed, Oct 9th at 8:00pm: The Secular Support Group will be meeting this week in the Shenandoah Conference Room (314) of Squires Student Center. This is a more private, mellow, and laid back group conversation than what you’ll be able to find at the regular Freethinkers Meeting. The general body meetings are great for guest speakers, educational workshops, good lively discussion, and even a heated debate or three. If you want a safe space to explore ideas you may not yet have fully formed, or you’re seeking some advice about how to interact with friends and loved ones who do not share your views, or simply want a place to speak your mind then please join the Secular Support Group!

Thursday, Oct. 10th at 7:00pm: There’s a group of us that go climbing at Crimpers Climbing Gym in Christiansburg. It’s a lot of fun as well as a good workout. It costs $14 to rent shoes and climb for the night. Here’s a link to their website: http://www.crimpersclimbing.com/

Friday, Oct. 11th from 11:00am-12:30pm: Friday morning, the Breakfast Club will be meeting again in the large first floor dining hall in Turner Place. This week the discussion topic is politics. As always, find the group by looking for the person in the magenta(pink) hat. Here’s a link to the page for the Breakfast Club: https://www.facebook.com/groups/freebreakfast/

Sunday, Oct. 13th at 2:00pm: If you can’t go climbing on Thursday (or can, and want to go again) come climb at Crimpers on Sunday!

Sunday, Oct. 13th at 5:00pm: Our exec. group will be having a business meeting in Squires Student Center near Au Bon Pan. In order to allow more time at meetings for discussion, we will be meeting Sunday to handle the business our club needs to organize. Everyone is invited to come and participate. It’s a great way to play a part in the workings of the club and gain leadership experience.

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Visit our website (http://www.freeatvt.org) or our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/24398461218/) for more information)

If not secularism, then what?

Brian Britt delivered an enlightening talk at our meeting three weeks ago on, among other threads, the evolving interpretations of holy texts and the clash between dominant religious communities and institutional secularism that has become a mainstay of the Enlightenment.* Following a question from Zack at the Leopard discussion afterward, i’ve been wrestling with my own embrace and promotion of secular values—a core element of this club.

Here’s the dilemma Dr. Britt posed: In the hundreds of years since its inception, the secular agenda has failed to realize the hopes of its founders. Now, it may have been too much to hope for an end to religious strife or guidelines for the founding of happiness-maximizing societies. But to get the point across it’s enough to reflect on just how successfully the largest nation to codify secularism—the United States**—has overcome the religious intolerance that has defined it since inception. This failure, Dr. Britt argues, has ushered modernity into a post-secular phase.

This isn’t to say that secularism has been anything but an immense net good for modern societies. But it does seem to say that secularism will not be the final word on interfaith coexistence. Dr. Britt characterizes post-secularism by a defining problem: Religious strife and discrimination—which include the marginalization of the irreligious—require a solution. If not secularism, then what?

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