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Discussion on the chapter called "Emotions and Meaning "

"A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge." ...Carl Sagan

Our discussion is centered around the book "The Sacred Depths of Nature" by Ursula Goodenough:

<< New people are always welcome! >>

Book section to discuss: 
Emotions and Meaning 

Our group approaches spirituality from an atheistic perspective.  However, we have a rule not to be negative about other religions.  Our goal is to build an atheistic viewpoint for spirituality... understanding and practice.  We will focus on positive aspects of our belief rather than negative problems of other beliefs. 


More details about this meetup group:

Natural Spirituality Study Group

The primary purpose of this group is to explore a variation of what is known as "
Religious  Naturalism."  It is an experiment to investigate "spirituality" without belief in God (or anything supernatural).  We will be studying naturalistic answers to typical  religious questions such as "Where did I come from? Where do I go after death? What is the meaning of life? Why is there something rather than nothing?"  The answers are seen through the eyes of cosmic and biological evolution.  We will open each meeting with one-minute of mindfulness meditation.

A secondary goal of this group is to develop community friendships.  Rather than just strangers coming together once in a while, we aim to build some relationships... making new friends.  Therefore, a significant amount of time for the meeting will be devoted to getting to know each other better.  We would like to see people commit to the series as much as possible, with drop-ins always welcome.

The book is organized similar to a devotional (each chapter has a specific topic, followed by a reflection from a secular humanist worldview).  The first part of each chapter tries to explain highly technical scientific processes for the average person to understand (for example, the origin of the Earth, or the origin of biological life).  The second part of each lesson reflects on the science to see how it can affect our emotional outlook; by providing a way to view the world, and our place in it, through naturalistic eyes. 

We plan to meet twice a month starting in January 2012 (one book discussion event, and one social event) .

Book chapter discussions, one per each meeting:

1.Personal, Introduction, & How This Book Is Put Together (done)
2. Origins of the Earth (done)
3. Origins of Life (done)
4. How Life Works (done)
5. How An Organism Works (done)
6. How Evolution Works (done)
7. The Evolution of Biodiversity (done)
8. Awareness (done)
9. Emotions and Meaning
10. Sex  
11. Sexuality
12. Multicellularity and Death
13. Speciation
14. Emergent Religious Principles  

More background info:

1.   Religious  Naturalism  
2.  Author Ursula Goodenough:
3.  Book Reviews:
4.  Essay on "Emergence" by Ursula Goodenough: ;
5.  Atheist debate on whether atheists can be 'spiritual,' etc. (audio online, free):
6. A scientific report on 'mindfulness meditation':

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  • Carl T.

    This is the meat of the subject, namely replacing theistic religion with something equally awe-inspiring. Doubtful indeed whether philosophers sticking to science and logic can come even close to pulling it off. Also doubtful whether they can come close to unraveling the secrets of psychology behind Nazi rallies, jihadist suicide bombers, tent revival meetings and the like. There are serious social psych works making this scientific attempt, but not in this book, for sure!

    May 18, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I enjoyed the other members of the group and discussing the chapter and the personal anecdotes and experiences it elicited. I look forward to many more of these meetups.

    May 18, 2012

6 went

  • Bernie D.
    Event Host
  • Dawn
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member

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