Magazine article Free Inquiry

Turning Down the Brights

Magazine article Free Inquiry

Turning Down the Brights

Article excerpt

If you need proof that the secular humanist and (for lack of a better term) religious humanist communities have taken separate paths, consider Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell's proposal that humane nonreligious people call themselves "Brights." In their guest editorial (see p. 20) they report that their idea is enjoying broad acceptance. There's no reason to doubt them, especially since America's largest (again, for lack of a better term) religious humanist organization has launched its own Brights-based project.

It's equally clear that the proposal left most FREE INQUIRY readers cold. We gave it every chance for acceptance, running the seminal "invitations to enBrightenment" by biologist Richard Dawkins and philosopher Daniel C. Dennett in our October/November 2003 issue. A proposal can scarcely wish more distinguished advocates, and so I was astonished at the one-sidedly negative reader response. We received formal letters to the editor as well as a great deal of less formal e-mail, phone, and personal feedback. No one wrote or spoke in favor of the proposal. Objections varied; some readers simply thought there was no need for a new label. Most expressed misgivings that, despite proponents' best efforts, calling ourselves "Brights" would inevitably come off as the nonreligious claiming to be smarter than everybody else.

We presented the Brights to the FREE INQUIRY community, and the community has spoken. Those who find the label commodious are welcome to adopt it; but based on this feedback, and with all due respect to Richard Dawkins and Daniel C. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.