Seriously, Folks

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

I am terrified by the way this world is dominated by the irrational - particularly by those who have a belief in an afterlife which then allows them to abdicate responsibility for their actions and impact on this (one)… Paul, UK

A community of Brights is a fantastic idea. Although I had only recently heard about the Brights, I have been one for the past 15 years or so. While recent word events certainly brought forth many issues about belief in a god, these have yet to push my buttons. The use of various religions in the worlds of education, medicine, psychology, and other scientific domains, however, distresses me. The mission of the Brights gives me hope that some day personal beliefs about mystical powers may have their appropriate place, in people's personal lives and not in the professional and political domains. Keith, USA

I am not by nature the type to join social movements, but I am tired of having the political/legal/educational process hijacked by a loud-mouthed few with the arrogance to think they know what "God" is.  Al, USA

I am particularly concerned about the intrusion of religious beliefs into public schools, science and politics.  Wayne, USA

I think this is a wonderful way to organize those of us without any other means of organization. I am tired of feeling like an outcast for not believing in one god or another. I am also tired of a political leadership that continually creates legislation based on their religious ideals. I hope this movement someday grows into a powerful political group where logic and the science of the natural universe prevails over the current irrational medieval theocratic system. I also hope that someday soon I will be talking to someone at a party or a bar and find out that they too are a Bright. I need some non-Christian friends here in the heartland if I am to keep my sanity. Otherwise I might start believing in a god as well.  David, USA

I fully support this idea. We would all be better off if we could always rely on the facts which cannot be manipulated by those who have hidden motives for people believing what they do.  Josef, UK

I have for many years resisted the label "atheist" because it implies a denial of something true, when in fact it is a refusal to accept something false. I am a humanist, physician, scientist, father, and citizen. I am hopeful for the future of the human species. I do not believe in belief, for it is belief—uncritical acceptance of the untestable—that leads to many of our most troubling problems: war, disease, famine, poverty, and ignorance. I am a bright.  Stephen, USA

How can there be such a thing as the supernatural anyway? Anything which exists must be natural. Anything else is just an article of faith, or product of human psychology, and therefore a product of that very natural thing, the human brain. And just why couldn't the human eye have evolved by chance? Believing in religion/the supernatural/creationism is just as ridiculous in believing that the Babel fish is 1/ real, and 2/ proves that god exists.  Graham, UK

I would like to be part of this movement, since I now believe we are in a critical time in history with the present administration in power. We are being led down a dangerous path in our great nation. We must speak out about the importance of the separation of church and state.  Marilyn, USA

Interested in movement because the "bright" movement resonates with truth and because "the religious" must be countered to protect individual liberties.  Clare, USA

I have long believed religion in any of its farcical disguises to be arrant nonsense. It is a tool for manipulators to subjugate the mass of people with a "need" to be dependent. These "victims" need their crutch and I feel guilt that I might occasionally kick it away. The Bright channel should provide idea exchange without the guilt.  Wickham, USA

It is of vital importance that the tyranny of religion be curtailed. Without rational thinking all people in all countries are easy prey to political and religious demagoguery which explains why so many people believed Bush when he misinformed us about Iraq and that God and Bush have the same goals. Religious fundamentalists sincerely believe that God gave the Israelis a divine right to all of Palestine more than three thousand years ago. One could go on and on... Ralph, USA

The New York Times published information regarding a survey a few months ago (News of the week in review) to determine who would most likely be elected president. Atheists were the most undesirable on the list. Go Brights. Elizabeth, USA

The names "bright" does have an arrogance about it that will be used contemptuously by all who hate us godless pagans, but hey, what are you gonna do? I wouldn't join except that it is so important to finally create and build a political base of people who try to think straight without interference from the supernatural powers that seem to love our side so much, from what I hear.  I have to wonder, though. I am in100% agreement with what I read in The New York Times Op-Ed page this morning and I know how many people in this country will be utterly appalled. But I suddenly have a little more hope that we may be able to work our way through this very dangerous world situation.  Joy, USA

I am excited about the prospects for the Brights (though I am not excited about the name). I look forward to us having more say in our government and other social institutions. If my understanding of the Brights is correct, then I have been one for many years. What I would like to see clarified and explained more clearly are the beliefs of Brights (if there are any) toward organized religions, morality and other such issues. There may not be any base position, but I personally believe that non-Brights have the right to believe as they wish and I believe that many of them get a lot of value from their! beliefs, because they are not able to reconcile or rationalize the world without them. Maybe we need to solve that problem.  Leonard, USA

A precise naturalistic view of the world helps people to make better choices and to achieve a better life. Christophe, Belgium

The inclusion of atheists, agnostics and humanists is helpful, and immediately made it clear that I am a Bright… I am a pseudo-retired medical academic, and believe that dogma and rigidly held beliefs are incompatible with true academic thinking.  Peter, UK

The world has obviously never lacked for irrationality and appeals to superstition. But it appears that at the moment there is an increased risk that these forces are acquiring a pestilential force, as the fundamentalist United States squares off with the fundamentalist middle East, and appeals to magic and mysticism proliferate.  Stefan, USA

Atheism has never had a spokesperson or structure for dissent. Belief in the afterlife is still the foundation of so much of what is wrong in the world today. We need to concentrate our minds because this is not a dress-rehearsal.  David, Great Britain

I am increasingly worried by the eclipse of reason by irrational, cruel and stupid religions, that batten onto people by feeding off their best emotions and converting them to their worst. I have just read an excellent book on the Cathar "crusade" of mediaeval times, and realise with horror and sadness that nothing has really changed.  Judith, UK

I've been wondering about what would be a suitable word to appropriate for years! Thanks for coming up with this excellent term….I'm not shy about telling people that I am an atheist, but you are building a database that could one day (given the current U.S. political trends) turn into dynamite. As you are aware, many people signing on could be harmed if their viewpoints became public. How secure are these data really? With all due regard, and appreciation for his efforts, I hope that Kevin Schultz has thought carefully about this. …Such concerns aside, many thanks to the three of you for your worthwhile efforts. – Mark, USA

Thank goodness I have found you; I feel quite lonely intellectually speaking, and wish to understand why so many seemingly intelligent people still believe in the existence of God. When we lived in the USA some years ago we decided that Churches had replaced parochial communities, but that can't be the full story.  Fran, UK

I hope this does gain traction as a viable meme, but only time will tell. What freethinkers all the world over have lacked is a unifying, positive identifier with which to associate. Humanists, atheists, and agnostics can all identify together with this term and, if successfully spread as a meme, begin to make progress in the social and political spheres. It is both a positive and negative that so many Brights are scientists and engineers. On the one hand, Brights tend to be well educated, very smart and capable people, but they also tend to maintain a low profile politically and socially (regarding their naturalistic outlook), thereby allowing the meme of conventional religion to continue spreading unabated. Maybe this will be the first step towards changing that.  Jeremy, USA

I want to thank Richard Dawkins for doing his best to popularize this, and also for his efforts to create a positive ethics for atheists and agnostics. Rather than being reactive, movements such as these seek to be proactive and helpful. One of my favorite ideas from Dr. Dawkins is that since we are capable of conceiving of a world without violence and war, we should act on that conception. Enough said. The ability to conceive is equal to the ability to not do. An excellent ethic from a truly excellent man.  Seth, USA

I think this would be a most appropriate time to abandon the [Human-Sexuality-as-a-Moral-Issue] Albatross placed around everyone's neck by Christianity and other religions.  We (The Brights) could embrace our human sexuality as an integral part of our political and cultural force.  Religion's forcing the natural human capacity for shame and guilt into a nexus with our sexuality is the ultimate perversion.  This will be a difficult sell, though.  Sexual morality is pervasive in Earth's culture among faithful and rationalists alike.  It is rather like requiring religious politicians to keep church and state separated.  

Perhaps sometime in the near future we should reconsider joining the world back together instead of dividing it up with terms like "Bright", "Catholic", or "Patriot  (signed anyway).  Ben, USA

I'm very pleased to be enrolled as Scotland's first Bright, though I assure you there are many of us around and it's not as destructive to one's career prospects in the UK as it appears to be in the USA to be an atheist. …Lots of my friends think like me, as does my daughter (now on faculty at the University of Iowa) but not, alas, my step-daughter and beloved grand-daughter, a victim of what Richard accurately calls brain-washing. Good luck in your endeavours and let me know if I can help.  Rose, Scotland

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