Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists. If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place. We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events. All are free and open to the public. Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more…we welcome you to join us!
Grand Traverse Humanists Main Meeting
Second Monday of each month, 7 p.m.
Traverse Area District Library main branch, 610 Woodmere Ave., TC
- Hungry Humanists: Georgina’s
Monday, January 26 2015
Hungry Humanists at Georgina’s
7 p.m….Georgina’s…236 E Front Street, Traverse City
Join us for dinner out at Georgina’s in their new location across from the State Theatre (the old Phil’s on Front). Georgina’s serves a delicious blend of Asian fusion and Latin cuisine.
- Book Discussion: Historical Jesus…Bart Ehrman books and videos
Sunday, January 25 2015
Book Discussion: Historical Jesus…Bart Ehrman books and videos
4 p.m….home of Gregg and Sue McDonald, 8836 Wheeler Oaks, Williamsburg
In his latest book, New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church.
The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first.
**Read any of Bart Ehrman’s books on historical Jesus, or watch one of his lectures on youtube**
- Hungry Humanists: North Peak Brewing Company
Monday, November 24 2014
Hungry Humanists dinner
7 p.m….North Peak Brewing Company
Join us for dinner and conversation… RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meeting at the History Center: “Devil in the Woods: The Demonization of Fire in Our Culture and Its Profound Effects”
Monday, November 10 2014
Meeting at the History Center: “Devil in the Woods: The Demonization of Fire in Our Culture and Its Profound Effects”
7 p.m….322 Sixth St., Traverse City
Fire is a force of creation, an element of the natural world with an important role to play in the planet’s ecosystems. Fire, once revered, is now generally feared. For the past century our cultural perspective on fire has been heavily influenced by religious and capitalist propaganda; our National Fire Policy resultantly became one of near complete fire exclusion. When the novel “Bambi was imported from Austria to the United States, it had no “forest fire” in the narrative. The fire scene in the cinematic version of the book, seared into the memory of three generations, was inserted by design. That same year, 1942, Smokey Bear was rescued from a forest fire and became the national spokesperson for fire “prevention.” The effects of the demonization of fire are profound on contemporary society, and we are just now fully understanding the price people and the planet will have to pay for a flawed perspective on the complexities of fire, people, and our environment.
Jed Jaworski has been a federal, state, and local wildland/urban interface fire fighter for 25 years and presently works with Michigan State University Extension’s “Firewise” program. His presentations offer a fascinating window into a topic most people have no awareness or understanding of, but leave the program fascinated by, proclaiming “I had no idea.” Produced especially for the Grand Traverse Humanists, one of the things his program sheds light on is the complexities of our relationship with our environment and how easily religion can be manipulated to influence public opinion and policy.
- Michigan Atheists Convention
Saturday, December 6 2014, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m…. Wyndham Garden in Ann Arbor
Robert Boston, Director of Communication, Americans United for Separation of Church & State & Author
Ellen Johnson, Executive Director, Enlighten The Vote, former President of American Atheists, Inc.
John Geisheker, Executive Director, General Counsel – Doctors Opposing Circumcision
Dan Barker, Co-President, Freedom From Religion Foundation and Muscian
Arlene-Marie, Director, Michigan Atheists
Jonny Brotherton, Chris Hanna, Christopher Tanner, Atheist Analysis
- Meeting at the History Center: Isiah Smith on Economic and Racial Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System
Monday, December 8 2014
Meeting at the History Center: Isiah Smith on Economic and Racial Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System
7 p.m….322 Sixth St., Traverse City
JUSTICE: THE ENDLESS PURSUIT
MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” recipient Bryan Stevenson writes in his compelling new book, Just Mercy that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. Too often it seems, however, that our criminal justice system has adopted the opposite view: Each one of us is worse than the best thing we’ve ever done. Thus, to be caught up in the American Justice system is to be treated as lacking in basic humanity. Therefore, whatever is done to any of us in the name of keeping the peace is OK, so long as it promises to keep us safe.
When we allow ourselves to not be deceived by what we read in the newspaper, or what politicians with an ideological mission tell us, we find that we have been misled by what passes for justice. From three-strike laws, to draconian drug laws, to corrupt judges, law enforcers, and Supreme Court Justices, we have allowed the thirst for revenge and retribution to supplant justice, mercy and fundamental fairness. How else to explain Justices Scalia and Thomas’ dissent in In re Davis stating that the Constitution does not forbid the execution of an innocent man? There is, however, room for hope, and optimism, and that hope and optimism can be found reflected in an activist Humanistic Manifesto that values action over words.
Isiah Smith, Jr. received undergraduate and graduate degrees in Psychology from the University of Miami. He has worked as a newspaper columnist, social worker and a psychotherapist. In his thirties he enrolled in the University of Miami’s Law School where he served as the Editor of the Law School Newspaper and a member of the International Law Journal. In 2013, he retired from a cabinet level Federal Agency where he served as a Deputy Assistant General Counsel for 20+ years. Since moving to Traverse City from the Washington, DC area he has devoted himself to writing and furthering his interest in the study an eclectic blend of legal history, Civil Rights and economic theory. Informed by his personal and professional experiences, his presentation provides a fascinating glimpse into the impact of history, economics and law on social justice.