Happy Winter Solstice! It’s December and the shortest day of the year is almost upon us. In fact, winter solstice is at 2:47 pm MST on December 21st, the moment at which the sun is at its lowest point for the year. Why is there such an emphasis on winter solstice? For thousands of years, humans have known that after winter solstice, the days begin to get longer. Many societies and cultures have celebrated this “rebirth” of the sun, even in prehistoric times. Thus, obliquity, or the axial tilt of Earth relative to the plane of its orbit around the sun, is the reason for the season of celebration.
We at Rocky Mountain Atheists (RMA), formerly the Atheist Society of Calgary (ASC), have a lot to celebrate this season. Yes, we have a new name, and a beautiful new logo. I want to emphasize, however, that we are the same organization with the same leadership. Nothing has changed except the name. In case you missed the announcement at our Sagan Day Celebration, the president’s news release is here: https://www.rockymountainatheists.ca/post/breaking-news-asc-is-now-the-rocky-mountain-atheists
RMA’s big event for this month is, wait for it, a Winter Solstice Celebration. It has been three years since we have been able to have a solstice dinner, so it is definitely something to celebrate. On Saturday, December 17th, at 6:00 pm, we will meet at the Rosedale Community Hall at 901 11 Ave NW, for dinner (turkey and a vegan option), games, prizes, cash bar, silent auction, and live music! The dinner will be buffet style and servers will be masked and gloved for your safety.
We have more great news! The refugee, whom we applied to sponsor three years ago, had his final interview on November 28th and he was accepted. It will take about two more months to wrap up all the details for his trip from Nepal to Calgary, but he will arrive by February or March. We will definitely have a big celebration when he gets here.
My pick for December is a little unusual because it is not a podcast or a YouTube channel. It is a website called School of Thought. It is a non-profit organization, established to promote critical thinking, reason, and understanding. They develop educational materials such as posters and decks of cards on such topics as cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and many more. I discovered it when I was researching ways to have constructive conversations on delicate topics and found the website, Rules of Civil Conversation, which is part of the School of Thought. To learn more about it, go to the Rules of Civil Conversation web page, and look for the symbol that says “see how it works,” on the lower right of the web page. Click on the symbol and you will be taken to a video in which Steven Fry will tell you all about the School of Thought.
Thursday Dec 1
Life Without Religion - Online First Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm Being steeped in religion can do some real damage to a person. But, leaving a fundamentalist religion of any type, can do much more harm. That is why LWR exists, to provide a community of people who have all been through a similar experience and can thus be supportive of each other. We discuss many ways in which leaving our religions caused us problems. Sometimes, when something bothers us, we don’t even realize that it is caused by our previous indoctrination. If you are not a member and would like to learn more about LWR, contact Lois at email@example.com. LWR members will receive an email with the Zoom link a day or two before each meeting.
Tuesday Dec 6
Skeptics in the Pub
First Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm
here is nothing quite like being in the company of like-minded people. Conversations are great and when you add good food and a drink, it doesn’t get any better. But it does get better because Jeff always has some video clips on thought-provoking topics that stimulate deep conversations. Join the fun at Bottlescrew Bills, located at 140 10 Ave SW. You will be glad you did.
Thursday Dec 8
RMA Book Club – In Person
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
The book that we are reading and discussing this month is The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg. Interesting? Yes. Unsettling? Oh, yeah! This book will certainly stimulate quite a discussion. But it is a topic that we should all be aware of and give some thought to. For details, see the Meetup page.
Thursday Dec 8
RMA Book Club – ONLINE
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
The online Book Club group will be nice and warm at home on this cold December night and still have a great discussion about the book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg. Yes, both the in-person and online groups will be discussing the same book at the same time, but separately. Hmmmm, we should find a way to compare notes afterwards. That would be interesting. The Zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82909191294.
Monday Dec 12
Second Monday of every month at 1:00 pm
Coffee Chat is great friends, great discussions, with a little learning woven in, without even leaving your house. And, of course, BYO coffee. One of the best things about Coffee Chat is that you never know where the discussion is going to lead you. I have a feeling that, this time, we just might want to continue the discussion that was started at the last Movie Night. Regardless, it will be interesting. Find us at the Zoom link, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86949788511.
Saturday Dec 17
Winter Solstice Celebration
Once a year, at 6:00 pm.
The last couple of years have been tough, partly because we haven’t been able to have any winter solstice dinners. But that changes this year. RMA will be having a big night with dinner, games, and live music. The servers at buffet dinner will be masked and gloved for your safety. There will be a silent auction for fundraising. If you have anything you would like to donate for the silent auction, it would be much appreciated. The event will be held at Rosedale Community Hall, 901 11 Ave NW. Tickets will be $25 for adults (in advance only) and $5 for children under 10 (at the door). For tickets, go to the Meetup page and click on the word, Tickets, and it will take you to PayPal. You will also find a map for directions. Come and have three years’ worth of fun.
Tuesday Dec 20
Life Without Religion
Third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm
I was surprised to find out how many people there are who have left a fundamentalist religion. It is so important to find others to talk to, who have been through the same deconversion process. And that is exactly why we started Life Without Religion six years ago. The last couple of years have been difficult for people who are not comfortable with online meetings and we are still trying to work out a way to meet in person. As a peer support group, LWR is limited to people who have deconverted and benefit from meeting and sharing experiences with others who have had a similar experience. If you are not a member but are interested, contact Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org. Members receive the Zoom link by email, a day or two before each meeting.
Wednesday Dec 21
RMA Monthly Board Meeting
Third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 pm
If you think board meetings are boring, think again. RMA board meetings are happening places. Everyone is welcome to come listen, and offer ideas and suggestions. However, only board members vote. The meeting this month will be in the boardroom at the Brentwood Co-op, at 4122 Brentwood Rd. NW. If you haven’t been there before and don’t know where the board room is, enter the main door of the Co-op and immediately go to your right. When you are almost in the deli, look to your right, which is the front of the building. Look for a door to a stairwell. Go down the stairs and you will be at the door of the board room.
Monday Dec 26
Movie Night - Online
Fourth Monday of every month at 7:00 pm
The movie for this month has not yet been selected. Suggestions are welcome. The name of the movie will be posted on the Meetup page as soon as it is determined. Be assured, we have always had an excellent discussion after every movie we have seen. Join us by clicking on the Zoom link, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88580809297.