by Jim Sullivan
What is the Humanist Society of Gainesville? As a member of this group for a number of years now I think of it as follows. It is a group of people who value the idea of thinking for themselves about the most productive and effective ways to live our lives.
We generally reject the idea that the universe is created and controlled by an unseen God or Gods. We tend to be informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. We strive to act rationally while also understanding that we are social beings heavily influenced by our emotions. In a broader social context, we are firmly dedicated to the idea that church and state should be kept clearly separate.
Because we all have been influenced by different life experiences we expect differences of opinion. We believe that these differences are best handled by honest dialogue coupled with careful listening where everyone makes an effort to understand the positions of those of differing opinions. We believe that when the right and wrong of actions are concerned the choice should be made based on the resulting impacts of the action seen in the broadest context. Impacts considered are those on life on the planet. We typically believe that the life we have here on earth is the only life we will ever have and we seek to make this life meaningful for ourselves and others.
These are my feelings regarding the Humanist Society of Gainesville. I feel sure that other members will take issue with my thoughts because we are, after all, a group of freethinkers.