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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › Bookclub Discussion - Topic is guidelines and procedures on book selection

Bookclub Discussion - Topic is guidelines and procedures on book selection

Raj
user 7103976
Fairfield, CA
Post #: 13
I would have to agree that the Carl Sagan quote Shane used in the other thread was in very poor taste and quite inappropriate.
A former member
Post #: 3
That this needs to be discussed in a group such as our surprises me as well. I guess I have higher expectations of our group. And that means that "freethinker" truly means thinking freely for oneself and accepting that others have the right to do the same. No topic should be "off limits" and it's more interesting to cover different areas of thought, not just religion, even though that is what fascinates me the most.

I have been attending the book group when work does not interfere, which has only been a few times now. The discussions have been enjoyable, and I like different opinions and even disagreement. How boring it would be if everyone agreed! I basically just like being with you guys, it feels good to not have to hide any aspect of myself, and I can feel free to state any opinion.

I saw the selection for this month's book and it didn't sound interesting to me from the title alone, but I feel that I was not at the last meeting and did not put my vote in, so too bad! I don't have to read it or go to the meeting if I don't want to go. I might also give the book a chance and really like it, who knows.

Thank you Bakari, for facilitating the group. Your thoughtfulness and open mindedness are appreciated. I hope nothing gets in the way of your continued involvement and "herding" of the book group.
A former member
Post #: 4
And when I refer to "herding", I of course meant cats, not sheep! Thought I would make the clarification although you all know what I meant.
Brooke
kestrien
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 12
As a fairly new member, I'm pretty surprised at some of the viciousness laid out against Shane & Josh, who to me raise perfectly valid questions. I'm a little taken aback by some of the personal levels of the attacks, and it gives me serious doubts about some members of this organization. From re-reading the string on the events page, Bakari & Raj clearly perpetuated the conversation. There was no ignored plea to move to the forums - which is why the extreme hostility is so surprising and uncalled-for.

And, as someone who HAS participated in the bookclub (although not lately due to the surprisingly anti-Semetic nature of one book, which left me considerably upset), I would like to see more books that address atheism and freethinking - that's what I expect from a Freethinkers, Atheists & Nonbelievers bookclub. What it comes down to is that I wish all the books were on topic - but I just won't read and attend the ones who aren't.

And I, for one, enjoyed the Carl Sagan quote - and hardly feel it inappropriate coming after a string of other similar quotes. We are freethinkers, after all, aren't we?
Raj
user 7103976
Fairfield, CA
Post #: 14
Brooke,

Criticism of Islam and Muslims is Great free thinking; criticism of Christianity and it's many denominations is also OK. But any criticism of Judaism or Israel is not free-thought, it is antisemitism. Why is that?
Bakari
user 2418735
Elk Grove, CA
Post #: 33
Brooke, as I noted earlier, I have made available a list of books (most based on your list of recommendations) for members to select from for reading and discussion. If you don't attend the meetings and participate, I'm not sure how you or anyone else can criticize the book selections. It's the process we as a book club agreed upon. I will continue to post a link to the list so that members can add to it and recommend books based upon it.

Secondly, as for the accusation that Raj's book is anti-Semetic...though I don't agree, I appreciated those who actually read the book and attended the discussion(!) so that they could express their opinion and back up their claims. Raj's book is critical of Islam and the West, and he provides political analysis of the Arab-Isearli conflict in light of his thesis that it is political and religious(!) conflicts like this that are holding nations and people back from building a better more enlightened world. You have every right to make a claim that the book is anti-Semetic, but your claim lacks support. Perhaps if you had attended the meeting, you could have provided that support, and helped educate the group.

I am deeply saddened that this type of conflict has developed around the book club. It's the kind of thing that I thought mostly happens amongst religious people, not amongst "free thinkers." I sincerely joined FAN and stepped up to facilitate the book club because I enjoy critical and engaging discussions based on the books I read. I don't enjoy having to defend a process that I have consistently asked attending members of the club to provide their feedback on. Every book that we have read since I started facilitating the group have been selections voted upon by attending members of the group. That's the process for how it exist today. If FAN wants to change the process, it certainly has the right to do so.

And as for personal attacks against Shane and Josh, I'm not clear what those are. I made responses to their criticisms and questions. I've never met Shane, so I can't say anything personally about him. As for Josh, I said he doesn't know what he's talking about—simply because he hasn't attended book club meetings and he hasn't read the book he criticizes. He also made swipes against the Zeitgeist Movement—which I am member of—and again, I concluded he doesn't know what he's talking about. That's not a personal attack; that's a critical response to claims he has made. I don't know him personally. But if I offended him personally in any way, it was not intentional, and I apologize.

The last conversation we (I, Josh, and a few other members) had ended in the suggestion that Josh (and perhaps you and others) develop a process and criteria for book club selections and bring it before FAN. It sounds like Josh wants us to only read books about atheism. If FAN agrees with his criteria, then we move on from there. I really don't want to spend this type of time defending the books that are chosen by attending(!) club members. I'd rather be reading and preparing for discussions. I'm saddened that it has gotten to this point. I really would like to move on.

Bakari
user 2418735
Elk Grove, CA
Post #: 34

Thank you Bakari, for facilitating the group. Your thoughtfulness and open mindedness are appreciated. I hope nothing gets in the way of your continued involvement and "herding" of the book group.

Jay, thank you for your feedback. Really appreciate it. I hope to see you in future meetings. A book titled, Good Without God, has bee suggested for next month's reading. Perhaps you might like to read that one. I'm looking forward to it.
Anyse J.
Anyse
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 83
Again, let me reiterate: "We just read books, that's all!" What is so difficult about this? I do not understand what i happening here at all! I am reminded of "Three Days of the Condor," starring Robert Redford. While he went out to get food for everyone, the "Agency" liquidated all personnel of this division as they supposedly learned something that they ought not to have learned. While Redford's character tries to stay alive, in one conversation with some upper level operative/manager, he tells him, "We just read books." He had no idea what the overall purpose was! So, I feel as he did: out in the cold and struggling with something that now makes no sense at all. Sad day at the Temple Mount, I must say . . .
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