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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And We Have Blastoff!

Our logo, designed by me.

Hey, it's our first post (and I used a cheesy poor pun [that you won't notice until you look at the URL] of a title!). Even better, today was our (drumroll) Very First Meeting (TM). Yes, you heard correctly- after months of careful planning and intense deliberation, we've finally met. But, of course, my previous statements mean absolutely nothing- until I tell you who we are and what we're doing.

So let's begin. I'm Rajat, one of the co-founders- and now a newly appointed Treasurer ("Divider of Zero," as I am empowered to evenly distribute funds that total precisly nil), Official Designer®, and Guy Who Does a Bunch of Stuff Nobody's Really Sure About- of the Mustang Alliance for Reason, Science, and Humanism- or MARSH for short. And before you ask- yes, I did formulate that name precisely because it would entitle our members to call themselves "MARSHians." I'm not kidding- I really thought of it for that reason. I'm fifteen, have above average intelligence and a procrastination habit (as manifested in the writing of this post), and love science fiction. Oh- and I'm an atheist. What? Why? How? Where? When? Well, let's not kid ourselves. I'm a very poor expository writer... and you probably already figured out the contents of this post when you saw the title. Bare facts- let's just go with that.

Fact #1: As I've already stated, I'm an atheist. Agnostic atheist, if you want to be specific and pin down my strangely relevant views on a particular unfalsifiable hypothesis. If you're like me and like to be precise and intellectually lazy at the same time, here's a full list of relevant labels: nullifidian, Pastafarian, IPUist, metaphyscial naturalist, secularist, ignostic, theological noncognitivist, materialist (at least in the looser sense), antitheist (no, this doesn't mean I hate theists), agnostic, rationalist. Oh, and of course, to return full circle- atheist.

Fact #2: MARSH is, to put it with excessive and misleading bluntness, "atheist club." If you're a fan of the inside jokes, it's where we consume our weekly serving of nutritious, delicious babies.

Fact #3: MARSH is, to put it without excessive and misleading bluntness, a club where open-minded people get together to discuss topics (including taboo, often relating to religion), entertain and share ideas, and promote a naturalistic secular humanist worldview- hopefully we'll also be able to act on that final point if we can figure things out. (I do think that most of us volunteer by ourselves, but I'd also like it if we could volunteer as a group).

Fact #4: I'm out of facts. I can't think of anything else. It's really a very simple concept- weekly meetings, discussion of taboo topics, a safe haven for any oppressed atheists/agnostics/humanists/skeptics/freethinkers (yes, the idea of oppression seems ridiculous, but given that it's the Bible Belt and the Bible Belt is in this backwards secular first-world country we call America... I'm not discounting it).

This post refers to the meeting, so I suppose I shall discuss that as well. At around 3:10 PM (CDT?), I walked into the room of an awesome World History AP teacher who likes our cause (even though I don't think he's one of us). Waiting for me were Kelly and Zach- the other two co-founders (Zach got the ball rolling and did most of the work, to his credit). We waited for a while, fretting that our other members would not show up and the meeting would be ruined (I'd forgotten to put up posters in time and nobody listens to the announcements indicating club meetings, so it was a possibility). But, well, they did. In around 7 minutes, we had Ceana, Kasra, and Lorenzo- I'd introduce all of them to you, but we're saving Introductions® for next week's meeting. Rest assured that they're pretty nice people, though.

First order of business- WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!!!!!!!!!!!!

After endless hours of planning (consisting mostly of Facebook posts), we still hadn't much of an idea as to what we were going to do... all we knew was:

  •  We'll introduce ourselves
  • ???
  • PROFIT!!!

But it didn't go that way and I guess some natural stress-control mechanism prevented us from actually discussing the topic. We just went on and, well, did stuff.

Order #2: Okay, so what's our leadership going to be?

I'm not going to lie- I was really hoping for Supreme Mullah just so I could issue fatwas to outstanding members. Alas, dreams rarely overlap with reality.

Here's what we ended up with:

Scholar and Chief: Zach (to keep up with the idea of dreams, he wanted "Dark Lord of the Sith")

Secretary (who dislikes the term secretary): Kelly (I don't know what she wanted as the appointment was almost instantaneous... she had a pen and paper out in front of her)

Social Media Chair: Since Lorenzo already has a blog and writes pretty well, he gets to maintain this blog (haha sucker). And I'll have to remember to admin him on our Facebook page once he likes it.

Treasurer of Absent Funds, Guy Who Does Stuff Nobody's Sure About, Designer: Me

All Other Positions: Somebody

Order #3: What are our meetings going to be like?

First part- I NEED to put up the posters SOONER. LIKE THIS FRIDAY.

Second part- We need to get through intros. Let's discuss things.

Third part-

Rudimentary Meeting/Activity Schedule:

Meetings- Every Tuesday @ 3:10: Debate topics are deliberated and voted upon, things sorted out, hopefully some videos watched, and we talk about stuff. Hopefully we'll also watch videos. I really hope we do that. I guess I'll have to add some to my flash drive as my school blocks YouTube.

Discussions- Every 6th Tuesday @ 3:10: We have a topic (present one is: "Does [Theistic] Religion Still Have a Place in Humanity?") and we talk about it... reasonably, with science and humanism in our mind.

Group Activities- Once Every 3 Months (minimum): We do something. Hopefully volunteering. Maybe a meetup with other groups. I'm not sure if we'll include conventions and conferences in this.

At this point, we just got to general discussions (I'm probably wrong- Kelly has a comprehensive account, though). It was actually pretty fun (and we began introductions).

So I guess we had blastoff. And since I'm handing this blog off to Lorenzo, suggestion for next post:

The Basics: What's atheism, secularism, agnosticism, humanism, etc.? What does it all mean? What kind of people are atheists? What are our stances? What's our goal?

Good luck.