Tool Box

The "Tool Box" offers an opportunity for Brights to benefit by sharing of constructive ideas for how, in a milieu infused with supernaturalist beliefs, persons who have a naturalistic worldview can best interact with fellow citizens.

You can recommend a new situation by sending an e-mail to the-brights@the-brights.net. Be sure to put TOOLBOX (in upper case letters) in the subject line of the e-mail.

Confronting Mortality

There is a tension between awareness of pending death and a wish for continued consciousness. What happens to me when I die? The question appears to be universalónot so much culturally-imparted as a "given" of human existence. A great many people find satisfaction in answers provided by some form of religion. Others reach a nonreligious conclusion. Those who rely on supernatural explanation have difficulty comprehending any alternative. How one can live without the consolation of belief in a life after death of some sort? Yet human angst about mortality can be and has been resolved by individuals who have a naturalistic worldview. They find their perspective consistent with what they know about the natural world and amply satisfying.

Responses to "God Bless You"

Actually, there are varied circumstances in which someone might say directly to you: "God bless you!" (Perhaps you sneeze, and your companion speaks aloud his/her acknowledgement. Or, you give a donation, and the recipient shows gratitude by saying, “GBY.”) How might a person whose worldview is naturalistic follow with a polite and appropriate reply, one that presupposes a kindly intent on the part of the citizen who spoke it? Should you sneak your own worldview into a reply? (Is it possible to do so and not be impolite?) What about just ignoring the remark?

Responses to "I'll Pray for You"

Is there any way to incorporate being honest about the naturalistic worldview while expressing social acknowledgement to this sentiment? Many have recommended that this topic be addressed in the Toolbox. On various occasions, perhaps when one is burdened or hitting a rough patch, a message of concern will be conveyed via a religious expression. A "We will put you in our prayers" or an "I'm praying for you" readily transmits not only empathy, but also belief in the supernatural. Brights struggle to merge an affable response with some similarly conspicuous expression of their own naturalistic outlook. Presuming sincere good will on the part of the speaker, one can reply with a simple and courteous, "Thank you," fully ignoring the worldview angle. But must they stop there? The sampling of responses received from Brights makes clear that conveying a supernatural-free worldview in casual conversation is not easily accomplished.

Answers to “Where did we come from, Mommy?”

Parents are sometimes bewildered by young children’s questions, and a child's "origins query" is one a parent is sure to find taxing. "Classmates say we were created by God. How did we get here if there is no god who made us?" It is challenging to respond in language that a youngster is likely to comprehend, especially when the simple personification (the “God did it” account) is set alongside the naturalistic explanation. In attempting to distill the empirical account for young ears, parents run the risk of issuing abstract concepts beyond their children’s stage of development and thereby planting a wobbly mishmash in their heads. Comfort and understanding do not come by that route. Also, when children ask how humans came to be, they need and deserve a straightforward narrative reply, not a lengthy exposition. We can see that Brights handle the query in varied ways.

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