May 2019 Newsletter
Upcoming HAAM Events
Options in Death Care for Non-Believers
Saturday, May 11th, Room 2M70, University of Winnipeg, 515 Portage Ave, 5:30 PM (Note the location!)
We’ll be talking about death care, ceremonies and services, and what’s new in the funeral industry in Canada.
Special guest will be Shane Neufeld of Ethical Death Care. Details here.
HAAM and Eggs Brunch
Sunday, May 26th, Original Pancake House at The Forks, 9:30 – 11:00 AM
New people welcome! Details here.
Save the Dates
Outreach at the Summer in the City Festival in Steinbach – June 14th to 16th
Summer Solstice Party – June 22nd, Kildonan Park
Outreach at the Morden Corn and Apple Festival – August 23rd to 25th
Check our Events calendar for the latest information on all upcoming events.
Upcoming Community (Non-HAAM) Events
Winnipeg Pride Parade – June 2nd
Steinbach Pride Parade – July 6th
For more information on these events, visit our Community Events page.
Charity of the Month – Dying With Dignity Winnipeg Chapter
Dying With Dignity Canada is the national human-rights charity committed to improving quality of dying, protecting end-of-life rights, and helping Canadians avoid unwanted suffering. Most of us are by now familiar with their work in providing support to adults wishing to die on their own terms, advocating for rules governing medical assistance in dying (MAiD) that respect the rights of patients, educating Canadians about advance care planning and legal end-of-life options, and supporting health care practitioners who provide MAiD.
In addition to the national office in Toronto, DWD Canada has chapters in each province (and in larger provinces, major cities) that provide for needs and concerns arising in their area.
The Winnipeg chapter of Dying With Dignity is active in the areas of education, patient advocacy and support, and the witnessing of MAiD applications. We aim to be revenue-neutral, taking in only as much as we spend, but there are costs we need to be reimbursed for by head office. These include printing Health Care Directives and training and event posters, and reimbursement for the cost (gas and meals) of travel outside of Winnipeg for speaking engagements, training, and witnessing of MAiD applications. Our current goal is to obtain funding for a toll-free telephone number so patients can arrange for witnesses for their MAiD applications without our volunteer coordinators exposing their personal phone numbers to the public.
Donations for the Charity of the Month will be collected at the monthly meeting. Tax receipts are available for donations over $10. If you would like to donate but cannot attend the meeting, you can do so via the ‘Donate’ button on our website. Just include a note letting us know that the money is for the charity.
Partners for Life Update
Summer is coming, and that always means that Canadian Blood Services will be scrambling to keep their supplies stocked up. If you are able to donate over the summer, please help out! If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, or you’ve never donated before, take this 2-minute eligibility quiz. Then follow the links on the quiz page to find out more about blood donations and book your first appointment.
HAAM is part of the Partners for Life program, which creates incentive for members of participating organizations to donate. We have set an annual target of 25 donations from HAAM members and supporters. There is no prize if we meet it, except for bragging rights and the satisfaction of helping others. Make sure to enroll in Partners for Life if you give blood, so that your donation will be counted towards our annual goal. All the information you need is on the HAAM website (and bonus information about the online organ donor registry is included on the same page).
As of mid-April, we are at 6 donations, so we have a way to go to reach 25 by the end of the year. Give now!
Outreach at Local Seniors’ Residence
Outreach doesn’t just happen at our booths at summer festivals, although of course, those are our major opportunities. But the “Ask an Atheist” speaker program is available all year round and available to any group that is interested in learning about atheism and Humanism. Usually this involves high school ethics or world religion classes.
On April 23, Jeffrey Olsson was invited to speak to an audience of seniors at the Portsmouth Retirement Residence, as part of a series of talks they were holding about different religious beliefs. Jeff’s presentation covered atheism, and topics related to the use of critical thinking skills, such as Epistemology (the study of knowledge, or how we know what is true), Faith, Logical Fallacies, and the Scientific Method.
Jeff stressed the importance of everyone taking time to evaluate their own beliefs in a critical light, and to consider if their beliefs are suitable for life in a truly diverse society. He also stressed the importance of judging your own beliefs, while respecting the right for others to hold to their own.
Finally, Jeff’s own personal journey away from faith to non-belief was discussed, and he reflected on the effects that the Canadian Residential School system had on his own faith, the faith of other clergy, and his family.
Jeffrey Olsson is a member and past president of HAAM, and a former Anglican Priest. His book Leaving Faith Behind, about his journey out of the faith, is in our Library.
On the Web – Explore Nonbelief
Summer’s coming, and for a lot of us, that means a break from routine and a chance to relax and unwind. Maybe you’ll find time to do a bit of reading or watch a few videos. Want to learn more about Humanism and Atheism? If you’re relatively new to the Humanist community, are still questioning religion, or have left faith behind fairly recently, you may have a lot of questions about living as a non-believer.
You’ll find lots of answers if you look at the Resources menu on HAAM’s website. There are downloadable/printable copies of the brochures we hand out to the public at our Outreach booth, links to information about Humanism and atheism, the names of local and online secular support groups and services, a network of secular organizations, and discussions about religious involvement in Manitoba schools and health care facilities.
The Exploring Nonbelief page has recently been updated. It contains links to over 50 videos, blogs, podcasts, news and reference sites, and articles about Humanism and atheism. Topics covered include the Bible, counter-apologetics (refuting religious claims), science and evolution, and resources that will inspire you to be a proud and happy Humanist. There is also a list of excellent videos addressing the most common question that non-believers get asked – where we get our morals from. By the time you finish exploring the material on HAAM’s Exploring Nonbelief page, you’ll be well prepared to answer questions about morality – and a lot more besides. Happy reading!
Book of the Month – Fact or Friction: Where the Known meets the Unknown
In this collection of 14 essays, Skeptic Magazine editor Michael Shermer examines the personal barriers and biases that plague and propel science, especially when scientists push against the unknown. What do we know and what do we not know? How does science respond to controversy, attack, and uncertainty? When does theory become accepted fact?
Several personal tales are included, from Shermer’s days as a student and evangelical Christian to his growing interest in science and skepticism. But the book isn’t only a display of his experiences; it’s ammunition we can all use when dealing with misleading or manipulative teachings.
Topics range from a fascinating discussion of the controversy several years ago over a group of atheists and skeptics attempting to label themselves ‘The Brights‘, to an analysis of the true cause of the mutiny on the Bounty. Shermer discusses the witchcraft hysteria in Europe and the colonies from 1560-1620, and then demonstrates a striking parallel between that and the Satanic cult/false memory mass delusions of the late 1980s and early 1990s. There are also essays on “heresies of science” and “spin-doctoring science”, which are a depressing indication of how the public lacks understanding of what science does and has done.
The individual articles in this book make it perfect for several short reads, (i.e. ‘bathroom reading’).
All our library books and DVD’s are free to borrow for paid HAAM members.
Visit the Library page to request to borrow a book or DVD, and we will make arrangements to get it to you.
Have an Idea for a HAAM Event?
Summer hasn’t even started, but we’re already thinking about fall meetings and events. Is there a topic you’d like to learn about, or a speaker you’d like to hear at an upcoming meeting? A social issue, a hot topic, or a book you’d like to discuss at an informal get-together? It doesn’t have to be only about atheism or Humanism. There are lots of other topics and concerns of relevance to Humanists – like separation of religion and government, science, public education, freedom of speech, human rights, environmental stewardship, reproductive rights, and end-of-life choices.
Have you seen a video you think would be great for next year’s Film Fest? Do you know of a community event you think our members might be interested in? An opportunity for outreach? A fun group activity? A secular charity that could use our support?
HAAM members come from every imaginable background. Most of us are former believers who are very familiar with religion, but we come from all denominations of Christianity, as well as other faiths. Then again, some of our members grew up in secular homes and have never been religious at all. So our knowledge level and interests vary widely.
Let us know what interests you. Contact us with your suggestions – or, better yet, come to an event and chat with a member of our executive in person.
Last Chance to enter the Humanist Canada essay contest
Students! Write an essay on any topic related to Humanism that would be of interest. $8,000 in total prize money to be awarded to the winning essays.
If you’re not a student, tell your favorite student about this contest!
Deadline to enter is May 15th. See Humanist Canada for details and rules.