The purpose of this group is to create a friendly community of like-minded, socially-conscious, politically-liberal, critically-thinking, science-oriented, non- or not-very-religious (including free-thinking, atheist, agnostic, skeptical, humanist), creative, amusing, open-minded people, who are looking for a shared community experience that is usually found by belonging to a club, a religious community, or any other group of people who come together to share similar interests.
Our Meetup was started to have fun and to meet people like ourselves, on our own terms, where we set the parameters of the discussion, in a place where we would not be confronted with angry conservative politics, offended by intolerance, or bombarded by anyone else's religiosity. We want a safe place to meet where we can avoid inappropriate conversation, where we can let our guard down without being attacked or preached to, have fun, meet people, and improve our community and world as a whole. The meetings are not intended to discuss our particular ideologies, or to explain ourselves, or convert others to our belief system...it is so that we do not have to have these discussions, we already get it. We meet for the purpose of simply hanging out with others who already share (or at least respect) a common ethical philosophy - that virtues such as morality, kindness, compassion, justice and generosity derive from natural human values, logic and reason, our actions should be guided by wisdom and compassion, and do not require belief in supernatural powers and a spiritual afterlife.
We share a liberal ideology, supporting ideas and programs such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, civil rights, universal healthcare, freedom of choice, free higher education, LGBT rights, gun control, taxation of religious institutions, democratic societies, secular governments and international cooperation. We mainly identify as left-leaning Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Socialists, Independents, Global or World Citizens - who reject the conservative, tea-party, Republican platform, because we find much of it to be unfair, unkind, unjust, uncompassionate. Instead of building a wall around our country, we want leaders who help build a larger table, to welcome people in need.
We believe in separation of church and state. We believe in freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
We reject (or at least respect those who reject) any dogmatic theology, new-age spiritual mysticism, belief in the supernatural or pseudoscience, astrology, homeopathy, crystal healing, ancient astronauts, telepathy, crop circles, UFO or other conspiracy theories, intelligent design, reincarnation, auras, etc. We do not want to spend any time discussing or debating these things - that is the point - to be with people for whom these are non-issues, or understand that we do not want them to be part of our lives or conversation.
We believe that lack of scientific knowledge, logic and reason, the belief that this life is just a staging-ground for an eternal afterlife, the wasting of time and resources on religious, pseudoscientific or new-age pursuits, the ignoring of scientific facts, has brought us to the brink of ecological and humanitarian disaster. We hope that we can make a difference - by making a new friend who feels the same as we do, having strength in numbers, discussing ways to help in our community and the world at large, by getting together to share a meal, some conversation, even laugh about the absurdity of this world while we think of ways to cope and effect change.
We have been asked why we do not welcome other people, to have lively debates, learn about other viewpoints, political or religious. To be clear, our goal is not excluding people, and we are not closed-minded (I like to say, I am open-minded, but my brain has not fallen out). We all know and interact with other-minded people daily and know their viewpoints well. Many of us have felt marginalized, even attacked for our politics, religious beliefs or non-beliefs. This is a well-informed group of people who want to find other people who think like we do, so we do NOT end up having to discuss and debate our politics or religiosity. If someone wants to create a group for debating politics or religion, please do, some of us might even want to join. However, we pay for this group, and we want to meet up with our own people for the same reason that Catholics go to their own church and Baptists to theirs, vegetarians do not plan a party at a steak-house, and bowlers meet at a bowling alley and do not want to debate the values of tennis.
Let's meet for lunch or dinner, crafts, local activities, to share ideas, make new friends, learn new things. It would be nice having a visible presence in the Milford/TriStates area, see how many of us are out there, and where it goes. We are open to any suggestions for meetings, and anyone can plan and lead the group in an activity, just let us know what you have in mind and we can post it for you.