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I am a new parent. My interests are secularism, learning, parenting, religion, career planning, and adult education.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I really enjoyed reading the following about secularism and wanted to share it. I yearn for this kind of culture in our global soceity.


     Several people have asked me the meaning of this term.

     Secularism is the religion of humanity; it embraces the
affairs of this world; it is interested in everything that touches
the welfare of a sentient being; it advocates attention to the
particular planet in which we happen to live; it means that each
individual counts for something; it is a declaration of
intellectual independence; it means that the pew is superior to the
pulpit, that those who bear the burdens shall have the profits and
that they who fill the purse shall hold the strings. It is a
protest against theological oppression, against ecclesiastical
tyranny, against being the serf, subject or slave of any phantom,
or of the priest of any phantom. It is a protest against wasting
this life for the sake of one that we know not of. It proposes to
let the gods take care of themselves. It is another name for common
sense; that is to say, the adaptation of means to such ends as are
desired and understood.

     Secularism believes in building a home here, in this world. It
trusts to individual effort, to energy, to intelligence, to
observation and experience rather than to the unknown and the
supernatural. It desires to be happy on this side of the grave.

     Secularism means food and fireside, roof and raiment,
reasonable work and reasonable leisure, the cultivation of the
tastes, the acquisition of knowledge, the enjoyment of the arts,
and it promises for the human race comfort, independence,
intelligence, and above all liberty. It means the abolition of
sectarian feuds, of theological hatreds. It means the cultivation
of friendship and intellectual hospitality. It means the living for
ourselves and each other; for the present instead of the past, for
this world rather than for another. It means the right to express
your thought in spite of popes, priests, and gods. It means that
impudent idleness shall no longer live upon the labor of honest
men. It means the destruction of the business of those who trade in
fear. It proposes to give serenity and content to the human soul.
It will put out the fires of eternal pain. It is striving to do
away with violence and vice, with ignorance, poverty and disease.
It lives for the ever present to-day, and the ever coming to-
morrow. It does not believe in praying and receiving, but in
earning and deserving. It regards work as worship, labor as prayer,
and wisdom as the savior of mankind. It says to every human being,
Take care of yourself so that you may be able to help others; adorn
your life with the gems called good deeds; illumine your path with
the sunlight called friendship and love.

     Secularism is a religion, a religion that is understood. It
has no mysteries, no mumblings, no priests, no ceremonies, no
falsehoods, no miracles, and no persecutions. It considers the
lilies of the field, and takes thought for the morrow. It says to
the whole world, Work that you may eat, drink, and be clothed; work
that you may enjoy; work that you may not want; work that you may
give and never need.

                         The Independent Pulpit, Waco, Texas, 1887. Robert Green Ingersoll

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Problem with Pretending to Know the Future

Whenever I come across religious or psychic statements about the future, I am reminded of why I think religion is harmful to society. Recently, I came across this

On the surface, most people, even less religious people, will say - "ah that's nice to believe that good will always overcome evil in the end," but we really don't know that for sure, do we? Seeing what we see on the news everyday, we can see that evil often overcomes good and there aren't a lot of good reasons to believe that this will magically change one day, just because a prophet, the bible, or whatever said so. The only way to ensure that good overcomes evil is to work towards it ourselves by creating a society based on human compassion, social justice, and logic and reason.

Pretending to know the future, in my opinion, is one of the biggest problems with religion and why more people need to speak out against ideas and statements that are of no help to a society that desperately needs it. It is important to challenge these ideas, because the more we let these ideas pass around without comment, they more these religious ideas will sink into the public conscience through social consent for religion.

Believing in an apocalypse, end of times, or even just a final judgement and destruction of this earth are common in North America - it is a tenet of Christianity and many people take it seriously. The biggest problem I see with believing this, is that whenever the world gets in trouble - wars, financial crisis, environmental threats, natural disasters, is that rather than respond to these problems in a constructive way, folks read everyday happenings as "signs of the times" and get busying praying, preaching, and getting people "on the right side" instead of acknowledging that Christianity and all its sects have been predicting the end of the world since the 33 AD and it hasn't happened yet. All these actions are misdirected time and energy that would be better used in solving problems the problems that face us.

And statements like the one made by Jeffrey Holland are only comforting to those on "his team" is divisive and exclusionary. Let's face it he's not talking generally about good guys and bad guys - he's talking about those who agree with his religion and those who don't.

There is no way to know the future, but we all have the power to create one that is better for all human citizens and the ones who come after us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In Honor of "Read-In Week"

In honor of Read In Week, I would like to share the reasons I love to read and express gratitude to my parents, teachers, and friends who encouraged a love of reading in me as a child.

Reasons I love to read:

  1. Enjoying the quiet time to sit and read a good book - this is the best "me time"
  2. Exploring new ideas and different ways of seeing the world, a different culture, or a particular issue without having to leave the comfort of my own.
  3. Learning about the world, I read at least 1-3 non-fiction books a year.
  4. Researching advice on topics of importance to me to solve problems
  5. Informing myself about the world
  6. Finding new things to talk about with my friends and family
I mostly read for enjoyment, learning, and entertainment. Yesterday, I was reading a blog post on books that groups and organizations have lobbied for banning certain books from American libraries. I was overwhelmed with anger and sadness at these efforts to ban some of my favorite books, including such works as those like To Kill a Mocking Bird, 1984, Animal Farm, Lord of the Rings, Beloved (and other books by Toni Morrison), and Of Mice and Men (and other books by John Steinbeck), as well as many, many others. Someone in the comments of the blog I read said, "If picking up a book is the worst thing your child does, consider yourself lucky." I agree!

So I quickly googled Banned Books in Canada how this list of books being challenged. Now, don't get me wrong, some materials are not age-appropriate for children, and there are definitely some controversial issues discussed in some of the books by the sound of some of the titles but that isn't a good reason for censorship - especially when books like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are included. Also, considering how awesome some of the challenged books on these lists are, I think I'm going to choose a couple of books from these lists for my own "To Read List" and this I do in honor of Read-In Week.

Are some of your favourite books on these lists? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ten Months

Dear Boo Boo,

You are exploring the world in new ways now. You are crawling, pulling up to furniture and walking around it, and getting into drawers and cupboards with a sense of curiosity and determination that is both adorable and frustrating.

Then there are the quiet moments while I snuggle you as you drink your bottle or drift off to sleep, which I enjoy so much now that you don't want to be held as often because of your need to explore. Those are the moments that I stop and appreciate the way you hold on to my fingers as you drift to sleep and marvel at the beauty of your small hands, you soft hair, and your big brown eyes with those thick dark lashes. I stoke your belly as we play All Around the Garden...Tickle you under there and we share smiles and giggles as you settle into your nap.

I also enjoy your playfulness, and the way your nose and eyes crinkle up when we are bouncing on the bed while singing, and when you are delighted to copy your grandparents or dad or me by waving, clapping, or throwing your arms up in the air while we say hurrah! You also cover your eyes now to play peek-a-boo and you look so proud of yourself when we clap and laugh with you. You get so excited and do a little bounce dance on your bum - very cute!

Your Abeulo and Tita from Mexico came to visit you this month and we had lots of fun with them. You were delighted to have two more people in the house to love you and play with you. You made them laugh and smile and I bet this was one of their favourite visits with us. We showed them the river valley in our little city and took fall photos of you.

Then we took you and your grandparents to Drumheller to see the hoodoos and dinosaurs and then off to Banff to enjoy the mountains in the fall. You travel so well and we had so much fun.

You are truly the love of my life (next to your Dad) and I cherish your sweetness, energy, health, smiles, laughs and every milestone along the road. As you graduate to toddlerhood, childhood, and adulthood, I hope you will always remember you are my baby. Whatever you grow into you, I loved you before you had anything to prove, or became whatever you will become - and I will always love you. I know these are days you'll never remember - but I will keep the memories and sweetness of this time for both of us.

Love Mama