The NTCOF July service was on the 2nd. We considered some other interesting things that have happened on July 2nd, including that the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution on that day in 1776 to declare independence from England. John Adams wrote his wife the next day: "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival." Of course, the specific wording of the document to be sent to the King was finalized on July 4th and this is the date that appears on the Declaration of Independence.
Our Moment of Science was on the Conquest of Mars. "Conquest" and not just "Exploration" because there is an element of the enterprise that is not just the raw data transmitted back from our space probes sent to study the planet. There is a part of it that is "religious" in that it induces many feelings in us when we think of all that has gone into it. There is even a connection to the July 4th holiday in that it was on that date in 1997 that the Pathfinder robotic probe successfully began operation on the surface of Mars, to be followed by additional missions that have effectively put Mars under continuous study. We watched this video:
It conveys some of what the religion of Freethought has to offer in terms of awakening within us the sense of what the human condition is all about!
We then turned to the subject of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY. It is much MUCH more than some incisive and insightful quotes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, though it is that too. It turns out that the colonization of the Americas played a large part in the discovery of the importance and benefits of religious liberty — of freedom OF religion and freedom FROM other people's religions. We now think of the people who came to America seeking religious liberty as courageous and admirable, which in many respects they were. But many of these religious nonconformists were misfits led by that era's equivalent of Jim Jones who expected to build a God-ordained utopia in the wilderness. They were also, themselves, as intolerant of other religious beliefs as the orthodox Anglicans back in England had been of them. The King and the English authorities were glad to be rid of them! Not only that, but the private companies involved in the colonization effort were much more interested in profit than in religious conformity and used the promise of religious liberty to entice people to immigrate. Thus it was found that, contrary to what had always been supposed, that religious uniformity was necessary for peace and prosperity, the exact opposite was the case!
More about the July 2017 service and other past services, as well as an opportunity for you to share your opinions on these subjects is HERE in our Forum.
Next month's service will be on August 6th. Few things are more fascinating to Freethinkers than how, exactly, people can find their way out of a supernatural-superstitous theistic mindset to Freethought. That is what we will feature at our August service when our own Jim Majors will share the story of his personal journey. As he will explain and discuss, "the devil is in the details." Which is interesting too because believers often say that "God" is "in the details" and the small things. We'll also talk a bit about — as a Moment of Science - the eclipse coming up on August 21st! It's going to be a lot of fun! As we have been and plan to for the rest of 2017, we will meet at the Comfort Inn DFW Airport North. The service starts at 10:30 sharp but come early as most of us do for coffee (and usually snacks — you can bring some!) and conversation.
Have kids? Bring them too as we offer free childcare and "Sunday School" which is aimed at helping our younger Freethinkers cope with the challenges of growing up by learning to ask questions instead of just being spoon-fed "the answers." If they're too young for that- and we have had folks bring infants! - we'll look after and entertain them. We want them to have fun too! Children of all ages need to learn that Freethinking is exciting, important, and absolutely "normal." In fact, Freethought is extraordinary!