Upcoming HAAM events

Winter Solstice Celebration  **Connections across the country**

Saturday, December 19th, online via Zoom, 7 PM

This Winter Solstice, we will be reaching out to our fellow Humanist/atheist organizations and inviting their members to join us for a little holiday cheer. These may include some folks you’ve interacted with on social media, as many of us have online friends we’ve never met. So whether you’re in Flin Flon or the Fraser Valley, Calgary or Corner Book, we hope you’ll drop by to our virtual solstice party for a chat, and maybe some trivia and games (we’re still making plans). Be a part of the festivities, as together we look forward to another trip around the sun.

Everyone is welcome! See you on Zoom!

To ‘attend’ (participate or just listen), EMAIL US (info@haam.ca) and we will send you the Zoom link before the meeting. You do NOT need to have your own Zoom account, just a computer, tablet, or phone to open the link.

January meeting (and AGM)

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

Mark your calendars now for this one! We’ll be having a special guest, guaranteed to brighten up the bleak mid-winter – well-known Winnipeg comedian (and Humanist) Rollin Penner!

Stay connected

We can continue to interact, support each other, and maintain friendships online. If you are not a member of our private Facebook group, and would like to join it, contact us. It is open to anyone in Manitoba who identifies as a Humanist/atheist (i.e. you do not need to be a paid member of HAAM).

Check our Events calendar for the latest information on all upcoming HAAM events.

 Like so many other organizations, HAAM’s activities have been dramatically disrupted by COVID-19. We will continue to rely on evidence-based information and follow the recommendations made by Shared Health Manitoba before deciding when to resume in-person meetings and events. We encourage you to visit our home page (haam.ca), our Facebook page, or Meetup for information and updates.

Other online events of interest

Check out all these great offerings from the following organizations:

Dying with Dignity – Winnipeg Chapter

The Death Matters series (end-of-life planning) continues via Zoom this winter. The next topic will be Creating Your Legacy, on December 8th and 15th. These webinars are free, but registration is required. Visit the Chapter Events page for details and the full schedule.

Skeptical Inquirer

Are you starved for real information about the pandemic? Skeptical Inquirer Magazine is continuing their series of online (Zoom) lectures by experts in science, skepticism, medicine, media, activism, and advocacy, all devoted to the cause of advancing science over pseudoscience, media literacy over conspiracy theories, and critical thinking over magical thinking.

December 3rd – A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You – the awe-inspiring story of the surprising power of chance in our lives and the world, with guest Sean B Carroll.

December 17th – The Infodemic: Debunking Works – a look at what the science says about fighting misinformation and how we can all get involved in the battle against bunk. This webinar will be presented by Timothy Caulfield from the U of Alberta.

These lectures are free but require advance registration. Visit Skeptical Inquirer Presents, to learn more about these topics and to register. Recordings of the previous lectures are available on the same site (scroll down below ‘upcoming events’).

CFI Canada

The ‘Virtual Branch’ of CFI Canada holds regular online secular chats and support groups for people Living Without Religion. They also host occasional presentations on some varied and provocative topics.

December 3rd – Bad science in consumer health products and services – Explore the various ways in which consumer health products and services are regulated in Canada.

December 9th – Ethical issues in police conduct

December 10th – Protecting blasphemers – panel discussion about the persecution of blasphemers in the global community. Donation required to join this event.

Visit CFI Canada’s Virtual branch MeetUp page for more information and to register for these events. If you missed any of the previous presentations and want to catch them on video, check out CFI’s Youtube channel.

American Humanist Association

December 10th – Humanist Holiday Delights and Disputes – celebrating the season and navigating the holiday sensibilities of religious family and traditionally conservative communities. Register at the AHA’s Center for Education.

Charity of the Month

We have not selected a specific charity for December, but instead encourage all Humanists, if your finances allow, to give generously to any secular charity during the holiday season. There are lots of needy families in our local communities this year, especially with the pandemic causing so many lay-offs and business shut-downs.

In October, we collected donations to pay the annual school tuition for our sponsored child at Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda, and November’s charity was the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Unfortunately, our website was down for maintenance for most of November, and people were unable to use the link to donate. If you would still like to contribute to either of these, it’s not too late. Now that the HAAM website is back up, you can use the Donate button in the sidebar. Just include a note that the money is for the Charity of the Month (and which one).

Latest News

Check out our updated website

You may have noticed that our website was down for maintenance for a couple of weeks. It’s back up and running now, with a fresh new look, thanks to Heather Murray of Murray Web Works in Steinbach. Heather is a member of the Eastman Humanist Community, and she has been providing technical support for our site since 2015. Thank you again, Heather!

Crank up the music this holiday season – whatever you celebrate!

Nothing seems to divide non-believers more than holiday music. We love it, or we hate it, or we love or hate only certain genres, or certain songs – and we all have our own reasons for feeling the way we do.

Personal taste in music aside, our strong feelings are often are related to how we arrived at our non-belief. Atheists and Humanists are a varied lot, but most of us fit into two main categories – the Dones and the Nones. The Dones were once religious and are ‘done’ with religion. The Nones never were religious. Then, within those groups, there are different life experiences; for example, some of the Dones had more unpleasant experiences in religion than others, and some of the Nones were surrounded by Christian culture during childhood, while others were not.

Looking at all our different backgrounds, it’s little wonder we can’t agree on holiday music. Many people who sang at worship services when they were young still remember those familiar tunes with nostalgia long after their belief has vanished – unless their experience in the church was very negative, in which case, hearing those tunes may trigger a type of PTSD known as ‘religious trauma syndrome’. Then again, life-long Nones raised in Christian communities may have learned seasonal songs as children and still enjoy them because of tradition, while people coming from other cultures, religious backgrounds, or parts of the world may be unfamiliar with Christmas carols and view them as strange.

So here we are, at the beginning of what’s looking to be a long winter and a subdued holiday season, with little recreation or entertaining on the horizon. We will need to make our own fun and cheer at home, so let’s do it with abandon! Deck your halls, enjoy your favorite seasonal food and drink, light up the darkness, and turn your favorite seasonal music up loud. Don’t feel the need to defend your music choices – either to your fellow Humanists, or to religious people who wonder why you still sing along to O Come All Ye Faithful. Lyrics don’t need to be true or believable for a song to be enjoyable! (Is there anyone out there who would admit to not liking Frosty the Snowman?)

Thankfully, in this age of unlimited online music choices, there’s seasonal music to please almost everyone. A search for non-religious holiday music gets oodles of results, like this list from Spinditty. YouTube has dozens of playlists of seasonal music sorted by genre, including secular Christmas and non-religious Christmas. Online radio has even more options. Check out the holiday offerings on Accuradio. There you can find (in addition to the usual fare) channels like Happy New Year, Holiday folk, Non-standard Christmas, Smooth Hanukkah jazz, Reggae Christmas, Spice tracks (non-traditional sounds), Winter Solace, and ‘What, they made a Christmas record?’

So crank up the sound and let’s enjoy whatever we can of the season, whichever holiday(s) we celebrate: Christmas, Hannukah, Yule, Winter Solstice, or something else.

Be part of the larger Humanist community

On November 19, 2020, I joined a Zoom meeting sponsored by the Eastman Humanist Community. It was an informal meeting with no specific topic other than getting together and sharing conversation. I had never met any of the members who attended but they were all friendly and welcoming. They talked about their experience in EHC, in which they were able to meet other atheists and non-believers. Living in a more religious area of the province, this is helpful to them to have a community to meet friends and from which to receive support. There was discussion about Covid and how it had affected their work and personal lives.

It was very enjoyable to meet people from a different community and to listen to them talk about their experiences. Since Covid has shut down person-to-person events, it is nice to be able to connect through Zoom. It is my understanding that EHC will be sponsoring future informal Zoom meetings like this. I suggest contacting them directly to be given times and dates if you are interested in meeting new atheist/non-believer friends from a different part of the province.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           – Arthur Prystenski     

It’s membership renewal time again!

HAAM operates on a calendar year, meaning that memberships come up for renewal every year in January. We need your support more than ever, during this challenging time, if we are to continue to create a supportive community and provide a voice for non-believers. Please stick with us!

All our activities will be virtual or outdoors only, until we can safely resume regular in-person meetings and activities. Renew your membership now (or join for 2021 if you are not already a member). You can join or renew anytime, online or by check, and annual dues start as low as $10 a year. Visit the Join Us page for details.

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