Does reason lead to belief in God? Is God the best explanation for objective moral values? Are the Bible’s claims and its history of Jesus reliable? Is biblical faith compatible with rational inquiry? Can a good and loving god allow evil and human suffering?
Sunday, November 13, at 9:30 a.m. in the MountainView Ballroom Dr. Gil Shapiro will address these questions and focus on how believers and non-believers manage beliefs and factual knowledge, or “How do we know what we know and what we don’t know?” He will explain why secular humanists’ reason-based thinking is preferable for decision making rather than believers’ faith-based thinking. He will also define secularism, atheism, agnosticism and religion.
Audience members will better understand Secular Humanism and the reasons many now choose to follow its principles rather than those of the world’s religions. Several stimulating topics will include: homosexuality and gay rights; abortion and birth control; end-of-life issues and physician-assisted ending of life; education (homeschooling, creationism/evolution, sex-education, school prayer); tax benefits for houses of worship and clergy; employment restricted to only people who share the faith; the desirability of reason-based thinking and factual knowledge over more faith-based thinking; use of a common secular language so that secular humanists and Christians can discuss and seek solutions to common problems; the importance of the religious not imposing on our pluralistic society the views derived from religious dogma or doctrine; and secularism as the only reliable means of preserving public order and freedom for all.
Dr. Shapiro received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from the City University of New York, then completed pre-medical sciences at Columbia University. He received his podiatry degree from the California College of Podiatric Medicine in San Francisco and finished a surgical residency in Chicago. After 36 years in podiatric practice in Tucson he retired in June.
Dr. Shapiro knows about the dangerous intersection of politics, culture and religion. He frequently shares his thoughts with audiences in Tucson and SaddleBrooke and has written 50 guest opinions for local newspapers. Doing so he has addressed the growing tensions between secularism and religion. His opinions have predictably elicited spirited responses in personal emails, online and in “letters to the editor.”
Dr. Shapiro moderates FreeThought Café prior to monthly meetings of FreeThought Arizona where he is a board member and spokesperson. He advocates that the secular voice must be heard in our society more than ever. He is unapologetic and defends the position that “Clearheaded decision making can only be made by rational thinkers. Rational thinkers are critical thinkers. Advocating for secularism is advocating for critical thinking. It is by this reasoned approach that society has the best chance for advancement.” While you may not agree with him, you will find his talk engaging and thought provoking.
SaddleBrooke Freethinkers is free and open to all regardless of religious belief, political persuasion or gender preference. To defray costs please contribute $2 per person. Non-perishable food and cash donations for Tri-County Community Food Bank are welcome. More information at www.sbfreethinkers.wordpress.com.