Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Times at the 2011 Maryland-DC HumanLight Celebration

By Gary Berg-Cross

This Dec. 23rd the Kalmansons of Laurel MD hosted the annual Maryland-DC Humanlight Celebration. It was wonderful chance to spend time with friends seeking to “illuminate Humanism's positive secular vision” and “affirm the positive values of humanism during the time period of the 'traditional' winter holidays.”

This year was again a special time to cultivate an attitude of clarity, tolerance and openness. It was also a family affair with an Ingresoll of bright, happy children, the next generation of secular humanists, in playful attendance. Phil Kalmanson’s 3 aquariums, including the corals in salt water, were a hit with everyone and you had only ask and he would was ready with a friendly tutorial on the fish filled ecology. Jenny provided explanations on the latest puzzles secured from Marbles: The Brain Store in the Columbia mall.

WASH members were in attendance and the adult conversation was as diverse as humanism allows with plenty of time to meet new folks, each of whom is invited to post their memories of the event. A C Grayling wasn't there, but one felt his ideas on Humanism in play:

Humanism in the modern sense of the term is the view that whatever your ethical system, it derives from your best understanding of human nature and the human condition in the real world. This means that it does not, in its thinking about the good and about our responsibilities to ourselves and one another, premise putative data from astrology, fairy tales, supernaturalistic beliefs, animism, polytheism, or any other inheritances from the ages of humankind's remote and more ignorant past.

A C Grayling, Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness

Maggie Ardiente from AHA was there sprinkling interesting comments on every topic from plans from Darwin Day 2012 (including legislation) to national politics, to the varieties of atheism, to a discussion of atheist posters – the last-supper-flying-spaghetti-monster poster sits among the Kalmanson’s art collection. Comments on the cuisine flowed as easily as the potables. This year the pot luck items were anchored by the venison Phil’s stew and Jenny’s the vegetarian chili. Many were so good, I asked for the recipe including of course the theme appropriate Sun Cookies, which included a dash of cardamon for spice.

I’m already looking forward to next year. Thanks to all for driving away gloom and darkness with an enlightening time.

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