What we're about

We are the first local chapter of The Circle of Reason, an international organization for pluralistic rationalism (or "plurationalism") -- commitment to reasoning, regardless of one's worldview. We're a unique charitable service, organizing and conducting volunteer programs and community service projects to encourage those with diverse or disparate beliefs and cultures to use reasoning dialogue to bridge the gulf of human difference, helping us lessen neighborhood tensions, eliminate prejudice and discrimination, and combat community deterioration. Our members remain affiliated with their cherished religious, atheist, biological, ethnic, cultural, economic, political, tribal or ideological groups, but also join the Circle to examine their different perspectives at the roundtable of rational discourse -- demonstrating the plurationalist belief that consistently practicing simple, everyday reasoning, regardless of our different worldviews, will be humankind's next major step in moral evolution. As did the ancient Greek Peripatetics, we also often nature-walk during some of our plurationalist dialogues on a wide range of topics (after all, Earth's climate is nicer than Vulcan's!). We're the place in the Twin Cities to find, recruit, converse with and encourage -- from all walks of life, all biologies, all beliefs, all societies -- those who are your own kinsfolk: The reasoning kind!

Upcoming events (1)

ZOOM Plurationalist Dialogue 118: How Can Polarized America Unite?

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The reasoning theists, atheists, liberals, libertarians, & conservatives of Secular Bible Study, Circle of Ijtihad, First Minneapolis Circle of Reason, & Winnipeg Circle of Reason join Inter-Belief Conversation Café for our 118th Plurationalist (Interbelief Reasoning) Dialogue:

In the 1860s the South seceded and fought a war to maintain slavery & separate from the United States. During the War of 1812 New England states held the Hartford Convention to decide if they should remain in a union harming them through an unpopular war. So things have been worse (if not by much, given the January 6th attack on the U.S. Congress to seize the Presidency). If we’re so polarized that the legitimacy of our elected governments is up for grabs, what can we agree on, and can we ever act as a united people?

What has happened to the spirit of moderation? Didn’t politicians once put partisanship aside for the good of their country? Weren’t there once liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats? We still have a Problem Solvers caucus in the U.S. House trying to create solutions, not talking points. Are voices of sanity still audible amidst the rants of their colleagues? Who really speaks for Congress?

Does polarization happen only when something is important enough to fight about? Does that include the straight white male establishment in danger of losing its power? (Will it accept equality quietly? Or will it deny elections were swayed by the votes of “those people,” and re-label voter suppression “election reform”?) Crises have brought consensus -- such as the New Deal reforms and the spirit of togetherness after 9/11 -- but also have brought protests, riots, government overreaction, and excessive exercise of Second Amendment rights. As the ground shifts beneath our feet will it uncover new vistas, or will our shuddering democracy sink into strongman rule? America has survived past upheavals -- but was it due to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, or to dumb luck?

In Colorado, liberals and conservatives “agreed to disagree” on abortion, but “found common ground” to provide loving families for children whose parents were unable to raise them. Can ideology be set aside to attain mutual goals, or are we too wound up in our rhetoric to unwind and look beyond it? Is respectful and reasoned dialogue an answer? Is it the answer? And are we strong enough to change our own opinions if we then do hear something that makes sense?

In Florida, conservatives are calling educators “liberal indoctrinators”; criminalizing and removing them, and their courses, lesson plans, and diversity programs; and imposing conservative doctrinal replacements. Can “freedom of speech” exist without “diversity of speech”? Is tolerated societal polarization part and parcel of a democracy? But can such polarization allow democracy and liberty to survive, when free dissent and opposed views are forcefully repressed?

Is there a tipping point of polarization, beyond which democracy no longer works because each side would rather see the other fail than give them a “win” to help the country? Is inaction a bad thing if none agree on what to do? If we choose to weigh in the balance our conflict and consensus, will that move us past our crises (real or imagined) afflicting our nations and planet? Is moderation in the pursuit of justice a virtue? Is extremism in defense of liberty a vice? Our times...are they really a-changin’?

On Monday, February 20 from 7-9 PM through the magic of Zoom, we will try to solve, together, how to unite polarized America -- or at least how to help fewer sparks fly. Meanwhile our reasoning dialogue’s agreements of open-mindedness, acceptance, curiosity, discovery, sincerity, brevity, and confidentiality may get our group to depolarize. Now is your chance to discharge some of your voltage!

Past events (138)

ZOOM Plurationalist Dialogue 117: Would Taxing the Rich Add to Our Economy?

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