The Humanist Advocate

Support NOSHA and your secular community

Greetings NOSHA Friends! The time has rolled around (finally) when we can send out our annual thanks to all who have helped the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association over the years by supporting our unique position in this area with your interest, participation, and membership support. We hope the health and well being of you, your family, and friends has not been adversely affected by the pandemic over the past couple of years, but we know that everyone has been…

Why Isn’t Everyone an Atheist?

    Why does religion persist? We live in an overwhelmingly secular world. Religious practices play little to no role in day to day life any more, at least not in the rich countries. If we have a medical problem the normal solution involves a modern doctor who does not use divination for diagnosis nor prayer for treatment. If the doctor has religious beliefs or affiliations with a church, we expect that to play no part in the treatment. If…

BOOK REVIEW: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

Review by Dean Bedekar, January 2022 In March 1997, police were called to a mansion in Rancho Santa Fe outside San Diego. Inside they found 39 dead men and women, all dressed in black, with their travel bags packed. It was a mass suicide. A note left by their leader, Marshall Applewhite, said they were ready to board a spaceship travelling behind the comet Hale-Bopp that would take them to the next level of consciousness. What happened? What demon could…

How many children must die? From 30-Second Read

One of our community members is a regular contributor to 30-Second Read Random thoughts, anecdotes and specks of whimsy. In 180 words. Emily Toth, also a member of our Thursday Night Zoom Visits wanted to share her recent column with the NOSHA community: How many many children must die?    I was in fifth grade when I first knew a kid who was dying. Howie Katz was my classmate at Hazeldell Elementary School in Cleveland, and he’d written a song:…

The Rockin’ Genesis of Secular Music: From the Mundane to the Insane

Back in my later high school years (2002-2005), it was a joy to research a variety of rock music and artists while living in Europe as iTunes was like a massive library. I would regularly devise fresh playlists for my early iPod (RIP years of frayed headphone cords!) like a chef perfecting a masterful dish. Mine was metal music to be exact. Everything from 70’s era blues-influenced bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath, to more extreme departures like…

Animism and Monotheism in Mali as Microcosm

      When American atheists think about religion, I imagine we are usually thinking about monotheism and its influence on the world we live in. We are not usually thinking about animism, or paganism, or whatever other term we might use to describe pre-monotheistic thought and practices. Those ancient cultures were obliterated by the extreme hostility of the monotheistic religions, and that all happened a long time ago.   At least, it happened a long time ago in Europe and…

The Religion Report

Religion. June 28, 2021   One of the great advantages of traveling to a different world (such as Mali) is the opportunity for obtaining the parallax view, the perspective on your own culture that you can never get from inside that culture, especially such a self-contained bubble as America.   As an atheist in a country much more actually religious than the United States, I am forced to confront many things I would not even see in the United States….

A New Challenge

    The fourth in a series of the experiences of NOSHA friend Robert Wilfong using the LEGO system of hands on learning as a gateway to more and more complex skills useful in a technocratic world, and an honest assessment of his own limitations that must be overcome to continue advancement; along with some observations on group behavior.         June 7 2021 At the fifth session of the Mali Lego Project in the Belle Tanti Nana…

Getting Started— Learning by LEGO

The following is the third in a series about the experiences of NOSHA member Robert Wilfong in his quest to introduce the LEGO teaching curriculum in a school in Bamako, Mali. He plans to update his progress and personal thoughts about the program as time permits. Here are reports from the earliest sessions, along with some observations about the Malian culture.   May 22, 2021   Seydou and I launched the Mali LEGO Project in his children’s school yesterday. Two…

Guitar Strings and LEGOs

The following is the second part of a series “From Here to Bamako” about ΝΟSHA friend and humanitarian Robert Wilfong’s experiences in pioneering a revolutionary teaching method in one small part of the world much in need of it.     Robert Wilfong recalls his first teaching experience in Bamako volunteering to help instructors at the Institut National des Arts with conversational English. His tour guide had taken him there to possibly find a solution to why Malian guitarists very rarely…

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