August 2017 Newsletter
Upcoming HAAM Events
See our Events page for the details on these and all our HAAM events.
An Evening with Richard Carrier
Did Christianity really begin without a Jesus?
Saturday August 19th, Canad Inns Polo Park, 1405 St Matthews Ave, 7 – 9 PM
Note that space is limited! Click here to register in advance.
Admission is free for paid HAAM members. Non-members $5 at the door.
Outreach at the Morden Corn and Apple Festival
Friday August 25th – Sunday August 27th, Stephen Street, Morden Manitoba
Friday and Saturday 10 AM to 10 PM; Sunday noon to 5:30 PM
HAAM and Eggs Brunch
Sunday September 3rd, The Park Café (in Assiniboine Park beside the duck pond), 9:30 AM.
Monthly Meeting – A History of Atheism in Canada
Saturday, September 9th, Canad Inns Polo Park, 5:30 PM
It’s that time of year again! We’re planning for the upcoming season.
Is there a topic you’d like to learn about, or a speaker you’d like to hear at an upcoming meeting? An issue you’d like to discuss at a Round Table? A book you’d like to read or present at a Book Club? A video you think would be great for next year’s Film Fest? A community event you think our members might be interested in? An opportunity for outreach? A fun activity that would benefit the community? A charity that we should support? An event you can help out with?
We welcome our members’ ideas and involvement. Contact us with your suggestions – or even better, come to any event and talk to an executive member about it in person.
Do Human Rights come from God?
A curious and committed group of HAAMsters attended the debate Human Rights – By Design or By Default at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in July. It was part of an apologetics conference hosted by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, so they were greatly outnumbered by the 400+ Christian conference attendees.
It was worth going just to support and hear Dr. Christopher DiCarlo, representing the Humanist position. Luke Delaney took on the challenging task of reviewing the evening, and he has some insightful comments. You can read his take on the evening here.
Book of the Month
For this month’s featured book, we turn to the category of Skepticism and Pseudoscience. Encouraging people to think critically about their beliefs is always a major focus of our outreach activities – and we expect that this summer in Morden will be no exception.
But the need for critical thinking applies not only to religion but to many other facets of life, and Guy P. Harrison addresses quite a number of these in his book 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True. He believes that “our world could be a little better – and a lot less crazy – if more people simply understood how science works and appreciated the protective value of skeptical thinking in everyday life.” Amen to that.
Read about psychics, the faked moon landing, TV preachers asking for money, homeopathy, bigfoot, Holocaust deniers, alternative medicine, ghosts, the power of prayer, the Bermuda triangle… Each section is only 5-10 pages; perfect for reading a bit at a time over the rest of the summer.
You can listen to an interview with the author here.
Visit our library page if you would like to borrow this book.
Charity of the Month
For over 4 years HAAM has been supporting a charitable cause or group at each of our monthly meetings. In total, we have supported almost 40 different agencies, including food banks, shelters and resources for marginalized populations, animal rescues, environmental projects, children’s camps, science education, social/peer support groups, and international aid.
Why do we support a Charity of the Month? Because we are not just atheists; we are Humanists. The mere absence of a god belief does not make someone a good person – one’s actions do. Humanism includes caring about the welfare and well-being of others, supporting human rights, valuing education, respecting the environment, and generally trying to make this world a better place.
A number of popular memes mock the futility of prayer as a means of solving human problems. “I’ll pray for you” accomplishes nothing in the real world. But consider the implication of those memes – if prayer is useless, then some other action is required. HAAM’s Charity of the Month program gives us opportunities to ‘put our money where our mouth is’.
We support 9 or 10 charities per year, via a donation box at meetings. Loose change or small bills are always welcome – it all adds up. But if you can’t make it to the meeting, you can also contribute via PayPal using the ‘donate’ button on our website (just include a message about where the money is to go).
Tax receipts are issued for donations of $10 or more. So making a small donation each month will get you a nice little tax deduction at the end of the year, plus the satisfaction of having helped support a variety of worthwhile community projects and causes.
Watch for our Charity of the Month program to resume in September. We welcome suggestions for future charities that meet our criteria. More information, including a list of all the organizations we have supported, is on our Charities page.
Summer Solstice party – better late than never
Our rained-out Solstice party, rescheduled as a summer barbecue, was almost rained out for a second time! Thankfully, the rain let up in late afternoon before we got there, which makes us luckier than the folks from the apostolic church who rented the site earlier in the day.
Rob Daly was our master BBQ chef this year for the first time. After dinner, Pat Morrow (left in photo) presented him with a copy of one of our new outreach posters, featuring Rob’s words of wisdom about living a ‘godless’ life.
A godless life is one without needless guilt; it’s taking responsibility for one’s own mistakes.
It’s a life where one’s actions are deemed ‘good’ by their benefit and ‘bad’ by their harm, and are evaluated not by the product of bronze age penmanship, but by the application of critical thought and reason.
It’s a life where the only intolerance is directed toward ignorance and the suffering it causes.
A godless life is where education and a broadened understanding of the human condition are seen as ideals to strive for.
Considering the weather and date, we had a great turnout. There are more photos on our gallery page.