Skeptics' Peña

What's a "peña?" In South America, the term refers to a gathering of like-minded people who get together to talk about some topic with the aid of finger food and wine and spirits (of the alcoholic variety). It's like a salon, but for regular folks.

This month's topic is TBD

We will gather to ponder the world, one topic at a time. We will examine debates without debating, exploring our convictions –or lack thereof– and the reasons we have to have them –or to not have them. We will do so in relaxed, friendly setting, keeping in mind what Bertrand Russell is said to have said about beliefs: "I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong." Or, if you prefer, what The Dude said about opinions:

Feel free to bring food and beverages of your liking.

The plan is to meet the Wednesday after the Assembly each month, with a new topic.

Because of limited space at my place, we have to limit the attendance to 10, so please only RSVP if you plan to plan to make it, or cancel if you won't be able to in order to open a spot up for someone else.

February 07, 2018 at 7pm - 10pm
Wilmer's Abode
3332 Mentone Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
United States
Google map and directions
Wilmer Rojas Buendia ·
Elliott Balsley Mollie Knute James Witker christoph ruegg

Will you come?

Showing 9 reactions

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  • Elliott Balsley
    rsvped 2018-02-07 18:00:35 -0800
  • Mollie Knute
    rsvped 2018-02-07 16:29:11 -0800
  • James Witker
    commented 2018-02-07 01:04:01 -0800
    “First, let’s consider the insight that Dr. John Dietrich brought to this congregation
    when he was called here back in 1916. Dietrich imagined an American Protestant style
    religious gathering that could be done without reference to a god or traditional
    religious trappings such as scriptures or religious language. Secular poetry and
    secular music, Dietrich thought, would do just as well.

    Out of this insight, Dietrich and the people of this congregation created what they
    called ‘religious humanism,’ what today I like to call ‘congregational humanism.’
    One-hundred-and-one-years of weekly gatherings have proven that the model works.
    And today, UU ministers, Ethical Culture Leaders, and Humanist Celebrants across the
    nation serve the life-passage needs of people who identify with no religion.

    But there is a problem with that model: Remind yourself: when John Dietrich arrived
    here in 1916, most everyone in the city belonged to a congregation. What Dietrich
    and his partner in Humanism, Curtis Reese, thought they were doing was placing a
    time bomb under Christian dogma but keeping the idea of congregations. They
    thought that science and critical thinking and technology and democracy would
    destroy ideas that they considered to be old fashioned—such ideas as a god who is
    like a European king; such ideas as praying rather than rolling up our sleeves and
    getting to work; such ideas as passivity in the face of government, economics,
    superstition, and the human condition in general.

    A century and more have shown that they were only partially correct in their
    assumptions. What blew up was not superstition or the human need for the spiritual.
    Rather, it was the social binding that religion offered that went to pieces over the

    The telephone. The automobile. The radio. Then television. Then the internet. Since
    1916, the physical bodies and brains of our species have evolved in the slow, halting
    pace that they always have. But our technology . . . that evolved at break-neck speed.
    In the century of Humanism, capitalism went from a system severely questioned by
    the Russian Revolution and then the economic collapse of the Great Depression, to
    the only game in town for most human beings living on our planet.

    Things have changed, and our thinking about what religion means must change as
    well. "
  • James Witker
    commented 2018-02-07 00:00:59 -0800
    “Sanderson Jones loved almost everything about church – the singing, community, optimism, can-do attitude, do-good spirit. It was just the God bit he couldn’t cope with.

    So he decided to set up an alternative with a fellow comedian, Pippa Evans. It would incorporate many conventions associated with traditional places of worship, but do away with the deities. So while there would be sing-songs and sermons, collections and volunteering, tea and biscuits, there wouldn’t be as much as a hint of the holy or hereafter. The first Sunday Assembly took place in January 2013. ”
  • James Witker
    commented 2018-02-06 23:58:26 -0800
    Re-inventing. Religion: Atheopaganism? Yes, that’s a thing.
  • James Witker
    commented 2018-02-06 23:57:16 -0800
    “The articles of incorporation defined the Society’s purpose as to form an association where “people without regard to theological differences may unite for mutual helpfulness in intellectual, moral, and religious culture, and humane work.” 3

    The sermons of Rev. Simmons on evolution, science, and ethics drew large crowds. Simmons was a vocal opponent of the U.S. invasion of the Philippines and the congregation was instrumental in convincing the state of Minnesota to withdraw its troops from the war. 4 5

    …First Unitarian Society remains a humanist congregation and is a focal point for humanist, freethought, and atheist groups in the Twin Cities.”

    History of FUS Minneapolis
  • James Witker
    rsvped 2018-02-06 22:47:07 -0800
  • christoph ruegg
    rsvped 2018-02-05 21:56:01 -0800
  • Wilmer Rojas
    is hosting. 2018-01-20 11:35:05 -0800