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Do you have a rational worldview based on the natural world? Do you seek ethical models based on reason and compassion? Do you have an affinity and respect for science and skepticism? Are you looking to meet others like you in one of the most religiously conservative corners of California? Then please check us out!
1. How was this group started?
The Antelope Valley Freethinkers Meetup Group was founded in 2007 as an affiliate of Atheists United, an organization based in Los Angeles, CA. On May 15, 2009, the group became Antelope Valley Freethinkers, Inc., an independent, non-profit corporation. Our first executive board was elected on June 20, 2009. Our current officers are David Stansifer, treasurer; Samantha Ghreir, secretary; and David Dionne, president.
2. What is a freethinker?
There are many definitions of "freethinker," but for the purposes of this group, a freethinker is someone whose worldview is based on reason, objective evidence, and compassion without relying on tradition, authority, or dogma, especially those associated with religion. Freethinkers are skeptical about the existence of gods, miracles, life after death, and the supernatural in general. They choose to focus instead on the many joys and challenges of this world. Freethinkers may call themselves atheists, agnostics, humanists, rationalists, or skeptics. In the end, however, it doesn't matter what you label yourself, if anything. As long as you have a naturalistic, non-religious outlook, or enjoy associating with those that do, you are welcome!
3. What does it take to be a member?
There are actually two kinds of membership.
One is registering to be a member of the meetup by clicking on the “sign up” link at the top of the web page, and filling out the basic information about yourself. You will then be added to the mailing list and contacted whenever a meeting is scheduled. You can also e-mail other members, start a discussion thread, participate in polls, etc., free of charge.
The other is “official” membership in Antelope Valley Freethinkers. To be an official member, you must fill out a membership application, enclose cash or a check for the membership fee, and mail it to the address on the form or return it to an executive officer for processing. Checks should be made out to Antelope Valley Freethinkers. The membership fee is $25 a year, with the membership year starting on January 1. After June 30, membership is $15 for the remainder of that year. You can also opt for the “family plan” where each adult member of your family can be added for $10 with your full-price membership.
Please note the membership fee is non-refundable and not tax-deductible.
4. What are the benefits of being an “official” member?
As an official member, you will receive a membership card and have a paper copy of our quarterly newsletter mailed to you home. You are also entitled to nominate and vote for executive officers, and even run for executive officer positions yourself, if you wish. Your dues also go to pay for publicizing the group, including our meetup page account, which is $144 a year, as well as advertising in local media, funding our scholarship, and providing supplies for our group functions. The most gratifying aspect of membership, however, is supporting the only local non-profit freethought organization in the Antelope Valley!