Discussion Group ,Saturday March 4th.
Our quarterly discussion group met at our usual venue ,The El Puente in La Mojada.
The discussion was kicked off by John and Rhian on the subject of 'Toleration' . It was not long into our discussion that we realised that this had to be a conversation on tolerance and intolerance , as most of us are striving to be tolerant of certain things in the world, but were also intolerant of certain bad behaviour and injustices, thus a lively discussion ensued.
How do (we) tolerant people tolerate intolerant people ?
Rhian explained that as Humanists we are not prescriptive and allow freedom for individual decision and do not have rules decided by prejudices. She explained the historical different views on toleration within the Christian churches , showing geographical and leadership differences e.g as between Luther's Germany and the southern Catholic countries of Europe. Galileo had to recant his scientific views on the idea of the Earth going around the Sun , for fear of his life.
Should reasonableness and unreasonableness be considered the same as tolerance and Intolerance ?
Where does this leave judicial decisions ? Do fixed minds always lead to intolerance ? How far should we tolerate injustices ?
Many other ideas were discussed and the conversation was interesting and at times very humorous . As happens in these discussions many topical ideas were raise and between us we attempted to 'put the world right' .
Afterwards the majority of the group stayed on for lunch .
Our next meeting will be on Saturday ,June 3rd , with a subject that will be announced 2-3 weeks before the meeting. Anyone is free to join us and we would welcome all of your ideas , if you are interested contact us via this website.
Quarterly Discussion Group
The quarterly discussion group of the Humanists of Murcia met on Saturday Dec.3rd at the Bar El Puente in La Majada.
The discussion, led by our member Martine Smets was around her choice of topic”Who wants to live eternally?” and was prompted by a book she has recently read. The central idea of the book, entitled “The possibility of an island” by Michel Houellbecq, and which is set in the future, is that members of a particular sect were enabled to be cloned and thus “live on” into the future. The clones began their life at about 18 years old, lived as hermits in an enclosed compound, and after being cloned to produce the next version of themselves, took their own lives at about age 50. The world they lived in had suffered both global warming and nuclear war, and beyond the compound of the clones lived feral tribes of uncloned humans who posed a danger to the clones, in their fight for survival. Despite the restricted environment in which they lived, and that there was no need for nourishment, and no sexual relations, the clones were not bored.
So with these ideas as a starting point, we were posed the question, “ Would you like to live for ever?”
Several members started with more questions; Would the eternity on offer be as described in the book?, Would one be able to choose at what point in life one entered eternity? Would there be relationships with others in the eternal life? What about meeting up with deceased former partners, for example how would it work if one had been widowed twice or more?
The position of religions in relation to eternal life was also raised. Despite the promise of paradise by religions, none of them spell out what paradise would be like, as opposed to hell, which is described in some detail. If the eternity offered by religion was as described in the book, would there be any takers? What would one do to pass the time for ever?
After a lively discussion around these ideas, the consensus was that we didn´t want to live eternally.
Too many imponderables, too many possibilities of it all going horribly wrong. True to our humanist principles we concluded that we are content to expect that our physical bodies and our life energy will, on our deaths, return to the universe.
June Discussion Group Meeting.
With summer upon us , we may have hoped for a 'chilled out ' topic for our June discussion meeting , something like 'what's the best beach for a BBQ ' or ' is it being a good humanist to remove a towell from a sunbed which was vacated more than an hour ago ?'. This certainly was not the case , instead we had a heated yet friendly debate on Ethics and Morality , this was led by Rhian who gathered together various information for us to discuss from the ideas of John Stewart Mill, who said ' That we know or sense that we need to treat the interest of others equally ' and also ' to achieve maximum happiness we should often be motivated by love, the respect for others and for their sake' . To the Ideas of Kant with a lot of others ( Noel Coward , Plato, Richard Dawkins ,to mention a few) in between.
Rhian's introduction to the subject was aided by her husband John who opened up the subject further , some of the things considered were : 'The Selfish Gene' ' Is morality an illusion ? ' 'Can we be good without God' and a Big Question ' All Men are equal ' but what about 'What is Deserved ' .
The session finished with a lunch in the restaurant .
Finally I would like to leave you with some of the questions that I am sure many of us took away with us :
' If you think you are Happy , you are happy ,is that true ?'
' Morality and personal happiness go together' ?
'Is ignorance bliss' ?
And : Are White Lies morally wrong ?
March Discussion Group Meeting
Our March meeting was entitled ' If you were asked what is Humanism ? How would you reply ? ' Barry led this
discussion and also introduced short video presentations from The BHA , narrated by Stephen Fry.
The groups objective was to try to avoid negativity and to try to discover what we as a group believe to be important,
rather than what we DON'T believe in.
We agreed that we tend to share the morality of a lot of the religions ,but without the need of any dogma or creed .
We also looked at the difference between an atheist and an agnostic.
We also felt that is was important to be able to look at all matters from the standpoint of a Freethinker.
All in all the session was lively and good humoured and well led by Barry . When we tried to summarize and answer
the original question : ' If you were asked what is Humanism ? How would you reply ? ' The consensus was as
follows : A love and respect for all life, To be moral and ethical without the need of any divine outside agency ; and
to strive for happiness for ouselvves and others in the life we have now.
As usual our meeting ended by most of us taking lunch together.
The discussion group was started in 2012 with the aim of learing about Humanism.
The more we learn, the more we realise that Humanism fits in with our lifestyles.
Normally someone volunteers and does the research and presents the topic.
We have books with a lot of information from the BHA.
Discussions have been -
- Should we eat the cabin boy
- The Catholic Church in Spain
- Secularism and its growth in America
- Report from the World Humanist Congress in Oxford 2014 headed
Freedom of thought and expression
- Customs around death and funerals in Spain. This one was
lead by one of our members who provides celebrant services .