NON-THEISTIC RELIGIOUS MEDITATION RITUAL by C. Lee Hubbell April 18, 1991 This ritual is n

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NON-THEISTIC RELIGIOUS MEDITATION RITUAL by C. Lee Hubbell April 18, 1991 This ritual is non-theistic because it is grounded in the postulate there is no sort of God at all, neither the deity of theistic religions or that of vague pantheisms/panentheims or other creations of speculative philosophical imaginings. It is religious because it deals with questions that traditional religions deal with in the context of various theistic/pantheistic groundings, even though it has no God content. It can be part of an entire Humanist non-theistic religious service. Humanist -- because it takes all its elements from what humans can ascertain by recourse to human knowing procedures explicitly excluding any shadow of recourse to anything superhuman/supernatural. Humanist also because it answers certain needs of human beings in human terms. It makes use of a ritual of the ancient Pythagoreans. Each disciple was required to put three questions to themself while meditating in the evening. 1. In what have I failed? 2. What good have I done? 3. What have I not done that I ought to have done? (Refer to Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960 edition.) The gathered group of Humanists convened by a leader, enter into a period of silence together (the "together" in this ritual is important; individual meditation is good but meditation with other human beings has a special quality). The leader directs attention to thoughts of the immensity of the universe with specific details of time-space and galactic distance and age. He also directs attention to the realm of values, in particular, moral values: good and evil, with all the human misery evil has caused and the benefits good has brought. Then he speaks of the ideal, each human being's own ideals of what is right and beautiful. (A right humanism is not just whatever is derived from human existence/behavior: it is ideal ways of existing/behaving. It is a Gandhi, Schweitzer, King, not a Hitler, Stalin, Gacy, regardless that what these last three did was a way of being human. Right, true Humanism, in the modern sense of Western culture is idealistic Humanism.) He names some one exemplar to focus meditation on, for a period. Then he puts the three Pythagorean queries asking that each one should seriously meditate on their personal answers. Following this, the leader (I have used "he" because some singular form is required to correspond with the singular "leader" and no neutral form is available) asks the group along with him/herself to make a conscious decision/commitment to try to live better for the coming week. And to consciously think of some actions he/she might take to accomplish this. As a close, the leader voices a ritual formula -- each group should have its own -- expressing the thought that such acknowledgment of wrongdoing, such self-certification for rightdoing, such acts of commitment to better doing, along with the acts of whatever restitution is possible, are the realistic/ humanistic means of wiping out guilt and of attaining personal freedom from any further sense of wrong. We must forgive one another; we must forgive ourselves (we act wrongly because we a human, not superhuman); we must accept forgiveness. For me this would be a wonderful gift Humanism could bring to troubled humankind. Its actuality remains a dream and an ideal. I hope someone, some day, can transform the ideal dream into living actuality and human blessing. ------------------------------------------------------------------ (C) Copyright 1991 by C. Lee Hubbell So long as profit is not your motive and you always include this copyright notice, please feel free to reproduce and distribute this material in electronic form for the use of other ceremonial officiants. All other permission must be sought from the author through the Humanist Society of Friends, which can be contacted at the following address: HUMANIST SOCIETY OF FRIENDS 7 HARWOOD DRIVE AMHERST NY 14226 Phone: (800) 743-6646


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