This video created by the Center for Inquiry and the Living without Religion organizations, describes my spirituality well and the sector of the population I seek to serve.
The closest label for my spirituality would be "Agnostic" or "Freethinker" or "Humanist" or "Naturalist." I believe religion must mesh with the science of the day, in order to be believable and useful to humankind. As a Spiritual / Secular Humanist, I enjoy rituals and ceremonies that lift up the natural human spirit. I don't think anyone can know whether gods exist or not. Personally, I doubt it. Whether supernatural deities exist or not makes no difference to me, as I just want to live a good life and help others do the same.
I have no problem acknowledging the force of creation we call nature and the unstoppable progression it makes through time and calling it a"higher power" if we must, but I don't think it "listens" to our prayers, only allows us to forge our own path, using our sensibilities, reasoning skills, compassion, mercy, integrity, wisdom, etc.
The mystery of life itself, the need to belong, to feel connected to our environment and the
universe, and the desire for celebration and joy, are primary factors
motivating human 'religious' experience. There is a richness in discovering one's own personal religion, code of ethics or moral compass. It is a journey each person makes privately, not necessarily fitting into the confines of traditional religion. For many, spirituality isn't their main focus in life, but a tender thread that is gently woven through each of their experiences of life. That thread is not rigid, but is maleable to each experience.
Your personal human spirituality and secular ethics may not need a name, label or a denomination as it grows and evolves, but for those striving to describe their views to others, or for simplicity in the passing down of ethical, moral and spiritual values to children, it is helpful to make use of the resources from the many secular organizations that try do try to define spirituality without dogma, such as Ethical Culture Society and Wisdom Commons. (Visit my Wisdom Commons page here.)
Humanism is a philosophy of life inspired by humanity and guided by reason and compassion.
Millions of people around the world embrace humanist values for fuller, more joyful lives without dependence or reliance on supernatural god(s) or belief in a literal heaven or hell. Whether you use the term Humanist, Agnostic, Freethinker, Atheist, Rationalist, Naturalist, those who have evolved away from traditional theistic religions make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values.
I agree with the latest Humanist Manifesto which is:
|Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933* Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance.
This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the following:
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life's fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature's integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.
Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.
For historical purposes, see preceding Humanist Manifestos: I and II.
My Personal Values follows something along these lines:
I really like this advice written Roberta Edgar on 60 ways to make people love you. I believe they are 60 ways to ensure that we love ourselves as well.
60 Ways to Make Someone Love You
- Have a positive attitude.
- Never judge anyone.
- Show patience.
- Control your temper.
- Be helpful to people in need.
- Be supportive of the emotional needs of others.
- Think before you speak.
- Laugh generously.
- Have a sense of humor about yourself.
- Contain your ego.
- Display good table manners.
- Be polite and courteous to others.
- Make others feel good about themselves.
- Focus on the person with whom you are speaking.
- Arrive punctually and leave on time.
- Do not interrupt another in conversation.
- Do not bore or be self-indulgent.
- Be willing to take a risk in order to reap the reward.
- Do not lie, cheat, steal.
- Do not gossip.
- Do not use foul language or make disparaging remarks.
- Do not flirt with someone who “belongs” to another.
- Dress appropriately.
- Be clean and neat.
- Have something worth saying—or be content to listen.
- Digest knowledge.
- Keep an open mind.
- Do not squander money.
- Do not talk too much.
- Be tolerant of the differences of others.
- Do not assume anything.
- Be responsible and reliable.
- Do not be lazy.
- Do for others what you would expect them to do for you.
- Speak in a modulated tone.
- Be open to change.
- Never say never. There are no limitations to your free will.
- Look into the eyes of the person with whom you are speaking.
- Smile often.
- Greet friends and strangers with genuine warmth.
- Appreciate the generosity of others, however small the favor.
- Modify addictive behaviors, including eating and drinking.
- Keep physically fit.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Lead a life of balance between work and leisure.
- Respect your elders.
- Respect the rights of others.
- Let your loved ones know they are loved.
- Be trustworthy and honest.
- Welcome misfortune as a necessary channel for growth.
- Give the gift of yourself often and with gusto.
- Appreciate every moment of your life.
- Always have something to which you can look forward with excited anticipation.
- Don't miss an opportunity to realize your potential.
- Do not give yourself reason to regret.
- Know that nothing is a mistake, but a lesson to be learned.
- Love passionately and unconditionally. Know that any degree of love is possible.
Its limits are controlled only by your mind and your will.
- Take good care of yourself. You're the only you that you have.
I am an ordained minister of Spiritual Humanism, which is an organization endorsing religion based on reason rather than deity worship. It is a growing organization of Freethinkers, Atheists, Agnostics, Deists, Buddhists, Taoists and others who might call themselves spiritual, but not religious.
The distinctive elements of a Spiritual Humanist ceremony include inspirational recognition of the beauty of the natural world and our place in it.
Principles and Tenets of Spiritual Humanism
composed by R A Zorger
1. Behold Nature with reverence.
By instinct we are inspired by the beauty of nature – a fiery sunset, the starry night sky, springtime flowers, or autumn leaves.
2. Base religion upon Reason.
Religious truth can only be found through science, the basis of all the knowledge that makes our civilization possible.
3. Treat all people as equals.
Everyone deserves the same level of respect, opportunities, and right to be happy. No one is born as a superior to anyone else.
4. Act to reduce suffering and misery, and advance contentment, and happiness .
Everyone must obey the same standards of good and bad behavior. Doing good deeds makes the world a better place.
5. Protect things that belong to everyone.
Fresh air, clean rivers, and healthy oceans are all things that every one has a right to enjoy, and no one has a right to spoil. It's our duty to protect these public treasures.
6. Celebrate seasons and cycles with ritual.
We are part of nature. Recognizing it brings us closer to our natural roots.
7. Cultivate spiritual abilities by application.
By practicing we can get better at being inspired and knowing our own abilities.
8. Exalt the correlation of past, present, and future.
What we do today affects the world of the future. Things done in the past like preserving the environment, finding cures for diseases, or writing an inspiring song, still help us today.
9. Champion these principles.
When you believe in something you must be ready to stand up for yourself and defend it. Otherwise some one else will step in and make things worse.
10. Improve these codes as we learn more .
Only through learning and changing our actions based on the new information can we grow and make the world better. Even our dearest beliefs must always be open to improvement.
(Click here to printable page of the 10 Principles and Tenets of Spiritual Humanism)
Am I the right officiant/celebrant for you?
The Church of Spiritual Humanism ordains anyone who agrees that religion must be based on reason and will champion the tenets noted above. Any further training in celebrancy and humanist education is a personal quest. My training includes the completion of several courses from the Institute of Humanist Studies, the Continuum of Humanist Studies as well as the seminary courses with the Church of Spiritual Humanism and ongoing casual education through web forums such as the Church of Spiritual Humanism Members Forum and the American Association of Wedding Officiants and the Community Forum for Certified Funeral Celebrants with Insight Institute. I am a supporter and contributor to "Grief Beyond Belief" support network for the faith free community, non-theists, atheists, agnostics and other "spiritual but not religious" individuals. I'm also the Vice President (Kauai Island) of the Hawaii Secular Society, and a standing member of the Secular Hawaii Leadership Council.
I received my Funeral Celebrant Certification through Insight Institute, specializing in training Life Tribute Professionals. I also draw on the wealth of spiritual poems, quotes, and other literature written by humans past and present, for my ceremonies and services
I do not have a divinity degree, for the simple reason that I am not a theist and do not provide theistic ceremonies. I became a Humanist Minister/ Celebrant / Officiant, to offer wedding ceremonies, funerals and family services to those who simply wish to have a meaningful ceremony without religious references or imposing a worship service on guests who may be of various spiritual backgrounds.
As I was not ordained in a Christian church, and do not call myself "Reverend" nor perform Christian ceremonies. I became a celebrant and officiant to help fill the growing demand for more free spirited ceremonies, without religious restrictions. My ceremonies celebrate human values and therefore are warm and memorable to the participants and guests.
- I believe that a marriage is a commitment between two people, accountable to each other.
- I believe that family ceremonies such as baby welcomings and coming of age ceremonies are about the family's code of ethics and inspiring positive involvement in the community.
- I believe that community ceremonies should inspire a feeling of goodwill and positive interaction between community members , not reliance on a an outside supernatural force. (Evocation versus Invocation)
- I believe that a funeral should recognize the life and legacy of an individual, providing closure and hope to the survivors. The deceased person's memory should be embraced by the survivors in a positive way, allowing life to go on with adjustments toward living without the loved one.
- I believe that the responsibility of one's success and happiness depends on the personal dedication and devotion to those goals rather than encouraging personal dependence on outside supernatural forces, such as deities, to provide that success and happiness.
a philosophy of life, inspired by humanity
and guided by reason and compassion.
As a Humanist Minister and Celebrant,
my focus is on human needs, goals and values,
rather than worship or theological dependence. "
While my ceremonies are written for clients who are non-religious, or are of mixed religious faiths, agnostic, atheist, freethinkers, humanists, rationalists, etc., they can also be of value to religious individuals, because they focus on common human values that are espoused by all religions. I do not include anything negative about one spiritual path or another in my ceremonies, so only a positive message is sent.
Will I allow someone to contribute religious readings, in an interfaith ceremony? Sure! When a freethinker marries a believer, both faiths should be recognized with respect. Likewise when a loved one dies and the survivors are a mixture of faiths or lack thereof, all should faiths should be addressed. While this can be done on a level of commonality between them, elements from the different faiths can provide a feeling of inclusion for everyone. Note: If you both want a religious focus and are considering me only for my affordable rate, please keep looking. I prefer to reserve my services for families whose spiritual values are close to my own. That keeps me plenty busy!
In addition to spiritual dialog from the humanist point of view, when asked, I am happy to help you define your own personal spirituality, code or ethics or moral compass and help you create symbols, rituals and ceremonies so that your personal spirituality can have a positive impact on your own life, your family and your community.
Note: If you're interested in reading a little more about what I do, there was an article written about me a few years ago, in the Hawaii Reporter: Celebrant Sprinkles Spirituality on Weddings and Funerals in Hawaii.
WEBSITES and ARTICLES OF INTEREST
When God isn't on the Guest List, an article posted on CNN in 2013, describes how couples are coping with going along with plans for a secular wedding, while their family and friends might be religious.
Wisdom Commons is an interactive and inspirational website elevating & celebrating our shared moral core.
Visit my personal page there! http://www.wisdomcommons.org/users/189-julie-wirtz
Secular Radio from Whidbey Island All Internet Radio - in Washington State - but of national interest - and a wonderful resource for keeping your finger on the pulse of secular issues offering comforting dialog, interviews and news, shedding light on a positive future for secularism. Host Tom Smith does an excellent job with this project. Enjoy the archived podcasts, if you don't want to be tied into tuning in at the scheduled airings.
Grief Beyond Belief is a facebook page and organization devoted to helping non-believers cope with the loss of a loved one.
Foundation Beyond Belief is a secular charity organization funding
The Thinking Atheist Podcasts contain thought provoking dialog.
Secular Therapist Project for help in finding a secular therapist in your area.
Recovering from Religion, for support during the traumatic loss of long held religious beliefs, including recovering your human sexuality without the confines of religion,
CNN Article posted November 2013 regarding the rise in secular and atheist weddings.
The survey from the Pew Forum that shows that the "Nones are on the Rise" talking about the increasing number of citizens who do not claim an affliliation with a relgion. Approximately 20% of Americans are non-religious, and that number is rising.
Huffington Post article and video about the emergence of the Atheist or Humanist Chaplain.
Article about Losing our Religion by Katherine Ozment, touching on raising families when parents no longer claim any religious affiliation.
Article in the NY times by Susan Jacoby about the "Blessings of Atheism"
which shines a light on the conviction that the absence of an afterlife lends a greater, not a lesser, moral importance to our actions on earth.
Humanist Congregation of Greater Atlanta is a newly formed Humanist Church in Georgia. Headed by an eloquent and insightlful clergyman,
Spiritual Humanists Forum is a discussion board on various topics of interest to Spiritual Humanists
Secular Seasons is a website with valuable resources for celebrating life with without traditional religion.
Anerican Ethical Union is known as the Ethical Society or Ethical Movement and is a fellowship of people who seek clarification of the values of life and a faith to live by.
Secular Spirituality - An article from the Atlas Society regarding spirituality without religious faith.
Recovery without Religion - Secular Organizations for Sobriety, also known as Save Our Selves (SOS)
For SOS meetings near you, find one here: http://www.sossobriety.org/meetings/states.htm
Secular and Humanist OFFICIANTS IN OTHER AREAS
If you are looking for similar services, with like-minded officiants, on another island, or in another part of the country, please visit the websites of my colleagues:
Amanda Richardson, Oahu Secular Humanist Celebrant, offers a humanistic service for your life event.
Les Fernandez, Honolulu Secular Celebrant,offers affordable non-religious weddings on Oahu.
Frank R. Harlan, Secular Wedding Officiant, Greater Seattle area of Washington
(Frank performed my daughter's wedding in 2011, and I can highly recommend him.)
Tie the Knot with Pastor Dave, Wedding Offficiant in the Greater Seattle
(Dave is creating ministry hoping to form a congregation of Spiritual Humanists.)
Robert Ray, Humanist Celebrant in Snohomish County and outlying Puget Sound Region. Certified by the American Humanist Association, Robert can officiate weddings and celebrate other life events with a humanistic style.
Susan Sackett, Secular Weddings in Arizona, has been providing secular services since 2001 and is active in the humanist community.
Arkansas: Sheila Cordellia Hicks, Spiritual Humanist Celebrant & Officiant
Oregon and Washington: Hannah Goldfarb Gerber, Spiritual Humanist Celebrant & Officiant