Multi-mixed Feelings

A sampling of comments made by individuals on the sign-up sheet and in emails

Quite an interesting idea, counting the unaffiliated. It's difficult because many people one might call "brights" do not yen for a label and would reject any one reflexively. Then again, there are a lot of people who don't have an interest in religion but have strong beliefs that they want to back up with something more; many of them have an unnatural interest in politics. Best and brightest to you, ha ha.  Neil, US

I am not too keen on the name, it sounds too cutesy. Perhaps "Humanists" or "Naturalists" would convey a more thought-provoking image. When I heard the name, for whatever reason I immediately thought “Smurfs."  Cheryl, USA

The idea is great ...the word itself feels a little pompous... Maybe I’ll get used to it.  Christopher, South Africa

A bad name for a good concept, but worthwhile nonetheless.  Clive, UK

I think that eventually brightness will cover the world, and the more that (we) people can form a constituency, the quicker that will happen. I hope that in the future we will all see ourselves as one constituency, rather than many countries.  … Oh, a second thought: with the best will in the world, people are going to find it tough to comply with your suggestions on syntax.  But that will be interesting too.  Bernie.

Not sure I have much faith in the political process, but it excited me to read the editorial and to somehow join with other like-minded people.  Carol, USA

I found the term "Bright" somewhat arrogant at first. However, the more I thought about it, the better I liked it. I guess the true test will be in the using and we'll see how that goes.  Steve. USA

Although my natural tendency is to avoid "hijacking" words, and I have the same misgivings that Dr Dawkins had about the word "gay", I'm willing to give it a shot.  Mike, MN

There are obviously finer gradations than the generic "brights" definition given; however, I do think that this is a good first stab at collective action. Thanks for taking it on.  Elijah, USA

Nervous but optimistic, I think the Bright term is a good innovation so I will put it to use.  Vince, New Zealand

Hate the name. How is it better than Naturalist or Realist or Humanist or almost any -ist other than theist. I understand that atheist is weighted down with negative baggage. "A Bright" just seems precious and too selfconscience and, to me, borders on a feeling of childish make-believe. Sign me up anyway.  Keith, USA

Glad to hear about you.. I don't know if the word will take off, but the aim is excellent.. It's exhausting being defined by what I'm not, and I'm chuffed to have a generic world view I can ascribe to (...even if no one knows what it is yet).  John, UK

I think the word is slightly clumsy in the sense that we have to be soooo careful how it is used so as not to offend, but, overall I am ecstatic about the concept. I'm looking forward to a logo that I can attach to email signatures, put on a bumper sticker, wear as jewelry, maybe even nail to my front door. It can go right next to my evolve-fish. The future is Brighter. Thom , USA

"Bright" > light > enlightened. "Gay" was for a long time a rather louche word, and before it became synonymous with homosexuality it had associations with loose heterosexual behaviour, so I understand. I share some of the misgivings already expressed about "bright", but I think it's worth giving it a try. However, I'm really rather doubtful that the word will catch on in this sense. Isn't it rather rare for these things to take hold if artificially created? Don't they usually have to, sort of, emerge spontaneously and anonymously? However, let's see!  Brian, UK

I found myself wishing there was a better word. Of course the word itself just sounds plain wrong at the moment but as i sit and imagine the future, if it catches on - as Dawkins speculates it will - it makes perfect sense. Who knows, perhaps this apparently subtle blossoming of memes will herald a fundamental (and timely) change throughout our society?  Zoe, UK

I think Brights as a meme is a most inappropriate and unfortunate choice but association with a movement of the like-minded so attractive that I am signing up nevertheless.  Van, USA

atheists really get a bum rap in the US. while i'm not crazy about your word choice, maybe it will change people's perceptions of the godless among them.  Mary Catherine, USA

I'm not sure I like the term "brights", since it does hint of elitism. But I certainly agree with what you say it stands for.  Mike, USA

I'm glad you're here, but I think the term sounds unfortunately silly.  Michael, USA

I'm a trifle uncomfortable about the nomenclature (BRIGHT), but hopefully, if a debate ensues about changing it, 'brights” would be willing to be open to exploring a not so loaded term as 'BRIGHT'. I do, however, subscribe to a world-view in which the super-human creator is absent. Pallav, USA

Right now I'm not sure if the term "Bright" will catch on, but there is certainly a need to draw together the various strands of naturalistic world view. In Britain, we do not have strong movements of religious fundamentalism to oppose - these tend to operate on the margins - but we do have a Prime Minister who wishes to extend the availability of faith - based schools, and an act of daily worship remains a legal requirement in all schools in this country. This means we British "Brights" cannot afford to be apathetic, even though we are now be described as living in ! a "multi-faith" society (as opposed to a "Christian country"). For too long I believe our world views have been expressed in terms of what they lack, rather than the positive convictions they include. I think your idea of having a label we can all wear proudly provides a firm push in the right direction. Good luck!  Brian, UK

Not crazy about the word "bright", but I agree with the worldview   Mike, USA

Will the word "bright" catch on in the nontheistic community and make us a viable force whose backing politicians will seek? Or is this yet another well-intentioned attempt that will not achieve the desired result? Unfortunately, it is probably the latter.  On the other hand, I hope we can support this and other initiatives that can bring our community together. We all want to show our strength in numbers, speak on selected issues with one voice, and make a difference in our culture. We must resist the temptation of focusing primarily on why our nontheistic organization or word is better than theirs. We can remain skeptics, but to move forward we must stop eating our own.  Herb, USA

I like the idea, hate the word 'bright' as an expression of the idea, but cannot suggest a better alternative. So I will be a bright.  Frank

I am a bit skeptical of the benefits of the term, but I am indeed a Bright.  James, NC

At first I didn't think that this was a particularly great idea, I'm opposed to 'militant' atheism (brightness?) as a rule because I think that people who think deeply about what they believe will come to the decision that is right for them without any external influences. As for those who don’t give due thought to their true beliefs and just "follow the herd" as it were, then they are only doing themselves an injustice. However, after reading Richard Dawkin's article in the guardian review I got to thinking, will we ever see a the president of the US or even a british prime minister who is a bright and will say so? The answer to this question is clearly no, at least not for a long, long while and if this is the way to speed that days arrival then it has my full support. Bob, UK

I'm skeptical about this attempt at memetic engineering, but what the hey.  Jeff, Texas

Prefer the company of those unhampered by irrational beliefs, yet have always been wary of organisations whose activities might tend to constitute a "religion substitute," as I find such a thing unnecessary. The looseness of the current proposal (along with the pedigree provided by those in on the ground floor, with whom I would be proud to be associated) persuaded me that more good than anything else would be likely to come of it (as long as my e-mail address isn't sold to a spammer!).  Stewart, Israel

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