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									The Circle of Reason®
“A fellowship of the religious and
    non-religious who believe
communal commitment to reason
    will transform the world.”
PROBLEMS:

Lack of dialogue

Religious and secular aggression

Polarization and prejudice

SOLUTION:

Bridge religious and secular gulfs with reasoning dialogue

Communal commitment to reasoning in lieu of aggression

Pluralistic, “transbelief” fellowship
®
                      Our Mission

We believe in the power of reasoning and logical minds,
when present in sufficient numbers, to reduce and
someday eliminate all ills on Earth caused by human
irrationality.

But no culture exists today that envisions community
commitment to logic and reason as an absolute
requirement for improvement of the world or even of
one's own assumptions and actions.

Only a different approach to solving irrationality by the
human race can lead to a better outcome.
About Us
The Circle of Reason is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to fellowship and service to
society -- but in a way different than you've seen before:

A fellowship who believes communal commitment to reason will transform the world.

No culture in history has used communal commitment to reason as a way to improve the world
as well as our individual lives. We believe this approach to solving irrationality by the human race
can lead to a better outcome than what has come before.

Our goal is to institute local and virtual congregations, or circles, of those who believe in the
power of reason to gradually but inexorably identify and expunge irrationality from our worldly
lives and from local society, campaign and governmental policies, and global society.

A fellowship who excludes none.

We welcome all who seek clarity of mind, regardless of their present beliefs or creeds. Faith can
even harmonize with reason, when we accept the gift of the mind to better understand, live in,
and shepherd this world. Consequently, the Circle is unique in inviting everyone, including both
the religious and the non-religious, into an additional shared haven -- a truly ecumenical
fellowship to make the world we've all inherited a saner place.

As an international organization for pluralistic rationalism, The Circle of Reason sponsors or
endorses local circles of reasoning dialogue and fellowship between those with disparate beliefs
and backgrounds.
 Reason Can Be Compatible with Religion

“It is a historical position of the [Methodist] church that any
disciplined theological work calls for the careful use of reason.”

“By reason, it is said, one reads and is able to interpret scripture
coherently and consistently. By reason one determines whether
one's Christian witness is clear. By reason one asks questions
of faith and seeks to understand God's action and will.”

“The Role of Reason in the Methodist Church” -- Wikipedia
                 The Role of Reason In
                    Belief Systems
• Reason plays a critical role in all belief systems -- as the umpire.
• Reason defines the limit of the role beliefs, faiths or religions can
legitimately play in (and the interface through which they must
communicate with) our larger and more heterogeneous society and
its moral systems.
• Without reason, belief cuts itself off from the universe, like a
black hole spiraling into crushing darkness -- becoming an
aggressive, all-consuming dogma of ignorance. What do we
consider evil in the world? Willful unreasoning.
• Reason is the one unique capacity that confers upon the human
species the potential for self-generated apotheosis -- the potential
to create a purpose as a sentient species that may outlive all that
we now know.
• Reason could thus be considered a "sacred” gift (whether from
God or Darwin) -- even though we don't usually capitalize the "R”!
 How the Circle of Reason Contributes
• The Circle of Reason's (COR’s) purpose is not merely to
call for trans-belief tolerance, as do other fellowships. Telling
people to be more tolerant is not necessarily the best way to
make them more tolerant.

• Tolerance may best be achieved by encouraging people to
use the intellectual tools that naturally create it.

• Hence, COR asks for more than simply “fellowship.”

• COR thinks it is critical to encourage “reasoning
fellowship” -- to encourage rationality within, and reasoning
dialogue between, its community members both religious and
secular, and of disparate biological, racial, ethnic, social,
political and economic backgrounds.
                          History
Founded: January 1, 2000 (Dr. Frank H. Burton, Exec. Director)
Incorporated as Non-profit : September 13, 2002
Publicly debuted (online): July 4, 2007 (www.circleofreason.org)
Service mark U.S. Registration: November, 27, 2007
RSS Feed syndicated: January 3, 2009 (Parable of the Week blog)
Main website hits to date*: 8,619 (101 countries, 2421 cities)
Registered online Virtual Local Circles to date: 4
Virtual Local Circle discussion posts to date: 3699
Registered Local Circles to date: 4 (Cardiff UK; Mayfield KY, USA;
Minneapolis MN, USA; Leiden, The Netherlands)
News articles to date: 3 (MN Independent, TC Daily Planet,
  RH Reality Check)
Membership tally to date: 403

*date: 3/24/10
                    Tenets

      Fundamental (hard to reasonably deny)
               Minimal (avoids dogma)
Compatible (accommodates religious or secular stance)
The Affirmation of The Circle of Reason

“We believe in the power of reasoning and logical minds, when
present in sufficient numbers, to reduce and someday eliminate all
ills on Earth caused by human irrationality -- to prevent war,
government corruption, environmental destruction, institutionalized
poverty and discrimination. Our purpose is to so change the world
within the next 50 generations -- by encouraging people to commit
to local congregations of faith in the ability of reasoning thought to
save our world and bring our next major step in moral evolution.
We welcome all who seek clarity of mind, regardless of present
beliefs or creed, to The Circle of Reason.”

January 1, 2000 C.E.
3 Tenets of Reason
   Reality's Acceptance

   Assumption's Denial

   Emotion's Mastery


3 Guides of Action
What is, is.
Reality denied causes wrong action; Reality accepted causes right action.

What is not, is not.
Incorrect assumptions, non-reality accepted as reality, cause wrong action;
Questioned assumptions cause right action.

What is or is not, is paramount.
Emotion unmastered by reason causes wrong action; Emotion's mastery by
reason causes right action.
The 3 Paths to Right Action
Accept what is, reject what is not, leave open* what may be.

Root out incorrect assumptions and their signpost -- contradictions.

Let reason, not emotion, be the final arbiter of your actions.

                                                           *Here resides faith.



The 3 Paths to Wrong Action
Reject what is, accept** what is not, reject *** or accept*** what may be.

Act based on unconsidered assumptions, and ignore their contradictions.

Let emotion rule, not simply inform, your actions.

                                                **Here resides superstition.
                                                ***Here resides dogmatism.
The Paragons of Reason and Unreason



The Paragon of Reason:

Objective, Open-minded, and Equable



The Paragon of Unreason:

Subjective, Close-minded, and Emotional
The Meditation of Reason


“In Reality's denial was I blind -- by Reality's Acceptance do I see.

In Assumption's acceptance was I bowed -- by Assumption's
Denial do I stand.

In Emotion's surrender did I stampede -- by Emotion's Mastery do I
stride.

By these three do I drink from the depths, tread beyond the
horizon, and reach for the zenith of the World.”
The Circle Thanksgiving
A Pluralistic Thanksgiving

“Let us bow our heads in prayer or contemplation.

We give thanks for the gift of the Mind, through which our purpose
shall be envisioned.

We give thanks for the gift of the Will, through which our purpose
shall be manifest.

We give thanks for the gift of the Heart, through which our purpose
shall be ennobled.

And we give thanks for the gift of the Universe, through which our
purpose shall be magnified.

So say we all.”
Virtual Local Circles of Reason
Online: Beliefnet Circle of Reason (BCOR), Facebook Circle of
Reason (FCOR), The Circle of Reason Round Table (CORRT) &
Scienceforums.net Circle of Reason (SFCOR)
To seek out new logical life, and new rational civilizations -- to clearly
go where no one has gone before;

To find, recruit, converse with and encourage -- from all walks of life,
all biologies, all beliefs, all societies -- those who are your own
kinsmen and kinswomen - the reasoning kind;

To discuss the role of reason, or its absence, in our "modern" society;

To help humankind at long last attain philosophical maturity;

You're looking for The Circle of Reason's public webforums -- Gather
in, speak out, listen up, get down.
Clarity Circles
A tradition of communal clear thinking

Online or real-world gatherings whose
members help one of their group through an
important life choice by simply -- and only --
asking questions, to help their colleagues
perceive the realities, assumptions, and
emotions that underlie their dilemma.

Historically, the first clarity circles were
founded by the Quakers, where they continue
today.
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“The Circle of Reason does not seek to convert its members from their faiths, but encourages
its members to reasonably guide their faiths. Local Circles are thus encouraged to be founded
in and sponsored by (or between) neighborhood churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and
           atheist groups, while welcoming members of every belief and creed…”
Local Circles of Reason
Local Circles of Reason

A shared haven of true
ecumenism for a saner
world.

Founding of Local Circles
is beginning within cities
and, more locally, within
neighborhood houses of
worship and/or secular
groups; and as virtual,
online Local Circles.
Local Circle Activities (all voluntary; *current)
Charitable Activities (see Website Links)
*Weeknight or Weekend Meetings (no conflict with religious services)
*Clarity Circles and Circle Coaches
Sermons/Lectures
*Discussions
Ecumenical Music
Potlucks
Reasoning Fellowship
Ceremonies (marriage, commitment, amicable divorce, eulogium)
Vocational & Hobby Groups
Networking Groups
Socrates or Science Cafes
*Study and Book Groups
“Wikilators” (International Circle Program)
“StrikeForce” (International Circle Program)
“Reason Monitors” (International Circle Program)
Bad hominem Campaign (International Circle Program)
Day Care, Literacy and Adult Education
*Internet to Neighborhood Local Circle Formation
Circle Programs




                            StrikeForce

Most bad events in the world are the consequences of our own
actions magnified by 6.6 billion others acting in the same way. To
remind us we all need to go "on strike" to avoid doing the things that,
when done en masse, harm society and our planet, we are
sponsoring the Circle StrikeForces, including DrugStrike, BingeStrike
and its "242" (Two Drinks for Two Decades) celebration, GangStrike,
CliqueStrike, ForceStrike, AbuseStrike, SlurStrike, CheatStrike,
LieStrike, TrashStrike, PetrolStrike and WarStrike.
Circle Programs




                          Reason Monitor

Much of what passes for public discourse is filled with denials of
reality, questionable assumptions (false realities), and ad hominem
emotive attacks. Reason Monitors will flag such errors, to help keep
the ship of state on an even keel. As part of this effort, The Circle will
be publishing an online periodical, The Reason Monitor, wherein
volunteer editors will highlight illogical reasoning and the use of
invective in public commentary.
Circle Programs




                         Bad Hominem

Our campaign asks the public to question its long-cherished
assumption that emotive, ad hominem attacks are moral; The Circle of
Reason asserts that, because such argumentation seeks to persuade
only by evoking emotionality, it is indeed not moral and should be
frowned upon in civil society. So the next time you see an insult
masked as an argument, stand up and speak its true name --
immorality.
Circle Programs




                             Wikilator

Volunteer internet translators for the Circle’s Parable of The Week and
Parables Archive, to permit other-language mirror websites.
Church-Sponsored Local Circles
Host churchgoers who believe in reason in worldly society

Host neighborhood members of different religious & secular beliefs

A “charitable” activity, to encourage reason -- no proselytizing

Demonstrate how religion can coexist, and harmonize, with reason
Church-Sponsored Local Circles

Benefit to Church Members:

Learn about other religious & secular perspectives

Learn how to believe without aggression, by faith & not falsehoods

Find common ground between religious- & reason- based morality

Benefit to Non-Church Members:

Learn about neighborhood church’s religious perspectives and faith

Learn how to believe (or disbelieve) without aggression, by faith

Find common ground between religious- & reason- based morality
Circle Membership


Membership through Circle Main Website or
Virtual Local Circles (Online Communities):

Provide Name, E-mail address & City, State and
Country of Residence -- used for networking & local
circle organizing.

Membership in Regional Local Circles:

No membership fee -- rich or poor, all are welcome;
No creed based exclusion.
Membership is Open

We welcome all who seek clarity of mind, regardless of
current beliefs or creed.

Exclusion from, or discrimination against any person in, the
Circle because of religious or non-religious belief, race,
ethnicity, country of origin, economic status, profession,
gender (or trans-, multi- or non- gendered) status, sexual
orientation, marital status, disability, or political orientation is
prohibited.

Total inclusiveness that is sensitive to strongly-held beliefs,
but that promulgates the effort to adhere to, develop and
celebrate reason-validated assumptions and actions in
personal life and worldly society, is the only requirement of
local circles to remain registered as a Circle of Reason.
Membership is Religious + Nonreligious
Local Circles commit to welcome and recruit members of differing religious or non-
religious beliefs, accomplished by these guidelines:

Proselytizing by, or of, Circle attendees to accept unproven assumptions (e.g., faith-
based religious or atheistic beliefs) isn’t permitted by Circle officials or Circle
literature. Tolerance of another's right to refrain from adopting beliefs is the shared
foundation stone of religion, atheism and agnosticism -- that each possesses the
right, whether innate or God-given, to free will and unimpeded, reasoned choice.

Proselytizing by, or of, Circle attendees to deny unproven assumptions should be
limited to non-confrontationally encouraging the questioning of only those
assumptions reviewable within current strongly held belief systems. Attendees will
differ in their starting assumptions, and must question them at their own pace.
Moreover, questioning assumptions that underlie lifestyles reasonably defensible
without such assumptions should be avoided as incidental and thus confrontational
(e.g., because a tolerant religious lifestyle is defensible without unproven
assumptions via either "Pascal's Wager" or apotheism, while a tolerant non-religious
lifestyle is defensible without unproven assumptions via "Occam's Razor,”
questioning the belief of tolerant religious or atheist persons who adhere to
rationally-defensible ethical codes should be avoided.)
 Secular Bible Study Meetup: Endorsed by
           The Circle of Reason
“Secular Bible Study casts wide net” -- Star-Tribune, 2/20/09
• The Secular Bible Study program aims to "foster and nurture
relationships between folks who would otherwise avoid each
other."
• "Secular Bible Study hopes to attract a variety of people --
Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, Christians and even Jews and
Muslims.”
• “Organizers have drawn up a set of ground rules designed to
keep participants from proselytizing, but that doesn't mean
that they want to discourage disagreement.”
• “We've discerned that people have lost or lack the skills to
engage in constructive and respectful dialogue in the context
of profound disagreement.”
• "An emphasis will be placed on dialogue among the group of
small groups."
              Local Circles of Reason (2010)
Circle of Reason-Mayfield High School (KY, USA): Lee Scarbrough, Circle
                                Advisor

 Circle of Reason-Cardiff (United Kingdom): Favio Becker, Circle Advisor

 Circle of Reason-Minneapolis (MN, USA): Frank Burton, Circle Advisor

Cirkel van Rede-Leiden (The Netherlands), Maarten Pieter van den Driest,
                            Circle Advisor

Circle-Endorsed Transbelief Reasoning Fellowships

          *Secular Bible Study Meetup (Minneapolis, MN, USA)

  *Believers and Nonbelievers in Dialogue (BAND) (Portland, ME, USA)
Tips for Local Circle Founding
Websites: Recruit Circle, Meetup, Facebook, Beliefnet, STARFLEET,
and Atlasphere members and leaders.

Newspaper: Photoshop ads for local circle organizational meetings.

Public Access TV: Photoshop TV bulletins and iMovie video
commercials for local circle organizational meetings.

Churches: PowerPoint show & replayed TV commercials to organize
open local circles hosted by churches or other religious sponsors as
well as humanist, atheist or Objectivist groups.

Direct Recruitment: E-mail local Objectivist-Ayn Rand/Star Trek/
Atheist/Humanist/Ecumenical religious/Interfaith leaders found in
Meetup, Facebook, MySpace, STARFLEET, Atlasphere and other online
humanist, atheist and religious and/or interfaith dot-orgs.

Scale Up: Recruit leaders in all above meetings and groups to expand
recruitment and local circles by similarly visiting and organizing.
Circle Finances
No tithing

No passing the plate

No membership dues

Volunteerism

Future income from
author’s donation of
100% of book royalties

501(c)(3) tax-exempt
religious & charitable
non-profit corporation
         Local and International Circle Leadership
I. Nominated by Board Majority & Elected by Membership Majority:
Local Circle of Reason Board of Directors (non-profit);
The Circle of Reason, Inc. International Board of Directors (non-profit.)

II. Appointees of Local or International Boards of Directors:
Executive Director
Communications Director
Treasurer
Secretary
Taskforces
Local Circle Discussion Moderators
Local Circle Advisors (Local Boards Appoint, International Board Reviews)
The Reason Monitor, Editorial Staff (International Board Approval)
Virtual Local Circles, Administrators (International Board Approval)

III. Irrevocable Charter of Principles

IV. Decadal or Petitioned “Principles Adherence” Review by Philosophy
Department Faculty of Accredited Public Universities in Countries with
Constitutional Separation of Church and State
The Circle of Reason
Administrative Units
& Checks and Balances
                                                 R
M: Members-at-Large (LC formation; no
LB or IB election or veto privileges; 1%
R petition privilege)
LC: Local Circles (LB election and
majority IB veto privilege; 1% R petition
privilege)                                       M
LB: Local Circle Boards (IB election
and majority LC veto privilege; 1% R             LC
petition privilege)
IB: International Circle Board (LC
registration and majority LB veto
privilege; 1% R petition privilege)
R: Philosophy Faculty Principles-           IB        LB
Adherence Review Group (decadal
and/or petitioned majority veto privilege
against any LC, LB or IB unit or action
adjudged by R as not adhering to the
Irrevocable Charter of Principles)
The Circle of Reason-International HQ
606 East Minnehaha Parkway, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417 USA
Website: www.circleofreason.org; Email: burton@circleofreason.org




Executive Director, The Circle of Reason, Inc.
Dr. Frank H. Burton, Minneapolis, MN, USA



Administrator, Beliefnet Circle of Reason
Dr. Frank H. Burton, Minneapolis, MN, USA
     Visit COR at

www.circleofreason.org

								
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