Posts Tagged ‘Hemant Mehta’

Foundation Beyond Belief

2010/01/01

I am delighted to announce the launch of a new humanist-driven charity initiative, the Foundation Beyond Belief. Go to the site itself for full details, and to sign up.

I’m just going to point out some of the things about the Foundation that I find particularly awesome:

  • Though it is explicitly modelled on humanist values, religious individuals are explicitly invited to participate.
  • Social networking will be a key part of the Foundation’s interaction with members – this is not just a conduit for money, but a place to build community around shared values and actions.
  • Members can choose where their donations are spent, among ten categories (education, peace, health care, environment, and others).
  • Charities will be selected not just on the values they profess, but on efficiency and effectiveness as well.
  • Religious charities are not explicitly ruled out, but charities that use their funds for proselytizing are (regardless of the worldview they promote).
  • Though based in the US, the Foundation explicitly looks to support charities with an international reach.
  • Two of the key people involved in the Foundation – Dale McGowan and Hemant Mehta – were instrumental in my decision to become a blogger (though I have yet to meet either of them in person).

I look forward to seeing the Foundation help people around the world, and I’m excited to participate in it. I’ll close with words from the Foundation itself: a mission statement, a launch blurb, and a video:

Mission statement:

To demonstrate humanism at its best by supporting efforts to improve this world and this life; to challenge humanists to embody the highest principles of humanism, including mutual care and responsibility; and to help and encourage humanist parents to raise confident children with open minds and compassionate hearts.

Launch blurb:

Beginning on January 1, 2010, Foundation Beyond Belief will highlight ten charitable organizations per quarter — one in each of ten categories. Among other considerations, beneficiaries will be chosen for efficiency, effectiveness, moderate size (annual budget <$10M), compatibility with humanist focus on mutual care of this world and this life, no direct promotion or proselytizing of a particular worldview, and geographical diversity.

Video:

My newest humanist hero

2007/09/02

Deena and I are big readers, and so part of our preparation for parenthood has been to get hold of some key parenting books.

One which we have already read cover-to-cover, but whose practical relevance may not kick in for a couple of years, is Dale McGowan‘s collection of essays by various humanists, atheists, and others: Parenting Beyond Belief. Awesome book, by the way. Even before our kids are old enough to start trying some of the things mentioned in the book, it provides great reassurance for us as secular parents.

For some reason, I didn’t really notice that he also has a blog sparked by the book. It was just before I started this blog that I found it, through his interview with my Friendly Role-Model, Hemant Mehta.

And it’s great. The whole blog. I’ve read a good dozen or so of his blog posts now, and they’re brilliant. Funny, moving, informative. He does what I aspire to do – describe what it’s like to live as a humanist, compellingly and with mind-ticklingly lyrical wordcraft. It’s brilliant.

Read it.

A new perspective

2007/08/31

I’ll bet everyone who starts a new blog feels like, at last, their under-represented perspective will have a presence on the web.

Well, me too.

This is a humanist blog from a non-American perspective.

What’s special about that?

Well, Hemant Mehta’s excellent Friendly Atheist blog gives a positive humanist perspective – ie, it’s not all about what’s wrong with religion.

But he is American, so much of what concerns him centres on the American crisis of the religious takeover of the officially secular government. While interesting, that does not bear on my life so much as, for example, my home country allowing same-sex marriage (yay Canada!), or my current country of residence continuing to run one of its two legislative houses democracy-free (no elections in the UK House of Lords) – complete with a cadre of bishops from the established church.

I want to present a slightly more international perspective. But honestly, news about the humanist “cause” isn’t the most important thing in my life as a humanist. Humanism is a way to guide my daily life in a more sensible way than I otherwise would. I hope to convey some of that in this blog.


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