The Humanist Association of Toronto provides a focus of activities and discussion for Humanists in the Toronto area. Please note: HAT events are open to the public, and views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of the Humanist Association of Toronto. For all public statements, educational events, media enquiries, please contact the webeditor, who will forward your enquiry to our Spokesperson.
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm
The Monthly Meeting the 2nd or 3rd Saturday at 1:30pm (TBD)
The Steering Committee meets 1st Wednesday, 7pm
The Book Group meets monthly.


THE PREVIOUS TOPIC,  (Funding for the Arts) is postponed.

HAT FORUM:  Sat. July 2, 11am - 1pm.
LOCATION:   OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, Room 10-204
TOPIC:   How is economic dependency affecting society
FACILITATOR:  Michael Rosenberg. 

HAT FORUM Sat July 2, 11am - 1pm, OISE "The Arts - funding priorities" [CHANGE OF TOPIC, SEE NEW POSTING]


HAT FORUM: Saturday July 2, 11am - 1pm, OISE 252 Bloor Street W. (ROOM TBD)
TOPIC: The Arts - Relevance, Funding priorities, public perceptions

The Arts contribute to society in many ways - but are often underfunded and undersupported, compared to sports facilities and other public amenities. The Dora Awards are being held on Monday night, so here is a discussion about the Arts in Canada.

How is the contribution of the arts to society valued?
How can we increase both public perception of the value of arts, and public funding?

HAT FORUM Satu June 25, OISE 11am - 1pm

HAT FORUM: Sat. June 25, OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, 11am - 1pm. Room 2-198
FACILITATOR: Cornelis van de Graaff
Topic: When do I (we) interfere?

As a person as well as a nation? when do we intervee, and when not?
What should stop us?
If we see a wrong, should we make an attempt to right it, even if this is not our area of responsibility, or we see some one do something really stupid with bad results for himself only?
How do we act when we see some one cheating, stealing or behaving in a bad manner.
Are we the keepers of each other's morality?
Should we stand up for what is right?

HAT BOOK GROUP: July 10, OISE , 11am - 12:30pm

HAT BOOK GROUP, Sunday July 10, OISE, 11am - 12:30pm
BOOK: Empire of illusion : the end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle, by Chris Hedges, 2009. Library: 41 hold, available at local bookstores.

In this provocative book, Hedges (Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; former Middle East bureau chief of The New York Times; now senior fellow, the Nation Institute) looks at what he deems the US's spiraling downfall and argues that the country's current moral and cultural collapse is caused by its ubiquitous embrace of illusion. Looking at the patently fake world of wrestling, the pornography industry, elite universities, positive psychology, and the profound 2009 financial crisis, Hedges argues that as a culture the US has been denied, or has perhaps passively given up, the linguistic intellectual tools to separate illusion from reality.

HAT Forum June 18, 11am - 1pm: Social Progress and Fiscal Responsibility

LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor Street W, Room 2-198
TOPIC: Social progress & Fiscal Responsibility

- how do we improve the human condition while being fiscally responsible?
- what are the consequences of the nations of the world continually going deeper into national debt? of municipalities? of individuals?
- does it really matter?
- How do we choose which competing needs receive the funding? Is it working?

Does religion belong at AA? Fight over ‘God’ splits Toronto AA groups

STAR: Does religion belong at AA? Fight over ‘God’ splits Toronto AA groups

AA uses 'fellowship' to help chronic drinkers quit the bottle. But there is little fellowship in a schism that splintered the Alcoholics Anonymous umbrella group in the GTA this week.

At issue is this question: Do alcoholics need God? On Tuesday, Toronto’s two secular AA groups, known as Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, were removed or 'delisted' from the roster of local meetings. They’ve disappeared from the Toronto AA website and will not be in the next printed edition of the Toronto directory.

The dispute started when Beyond Belief posted an adapted version of AA’s hallowed “Twelve Steps” on the Toronto website. They removed the word “God” from the steps, which are used as a kind of road map to help drinkers achieve sobriety.

'They took issue with a public display of secular AA,' says Joe C., who founded Beyond Belief, Toronto’s first agnostic AA group, 18 months ago. (In keeping with AA’s tradition of anonymity, members are identified by first names only.)

It proved popular enough that a second group started up last fall; it took its name from a chapter in the AA bible entitled Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly known as the Big Book. The group, We Agnostics, had only recently completed the paperwork to be part of AA before being booted out. 'What is unusual is that this didn’t happen in some backwater, but that it happened in a liberal, democratic, pluralistic place like Toronto,' says Joe.

The name of God appears four times in the Twelve Steps and echoes the period in which they were written — the 1930s. It invites those seeking sobriety to turn themselves over to God, who will remove their 'defects of character.' They go on to speak of God’s will for the recovering alcoholic.

'They (the altered Twelve Steps) are not our Twelve Steps,' says an AA member who was at Tuesday’s meeting of the coordinating body known as the Greater Toronto Area Intergroup. 'They’ve changed them to their own personal needs. They should never have been listed in the first place.' He says that in the early days of AA, meetings ended with the Lord’s Prayer. 'That has obviously stopped in all but hard-core groups. We welcome people with open arms. In our group we still say the Lord’s Prayer. One guy was uncomfortable with that. I told him to just step back when we pray. He does. He’s doing what he needs to do for him.'

The issue of AA’s use of God has come up frequently over the past 50 years. For the most part, the organization — which claims 113,000 groups around the world — permits other agencies to imitate its program, but not to call themselves Alcoholics Anonymous.
Other secular organizations, including Save our Selves (or Secular Organizations for Sobriety), offer addiction help similar to AA. But with some 100,000 members in 2005, SOS is far less popular than AA, which reports a membership of about two million. In Toronto alone, there are 500 AA meetings a week.

'This is not the first we’ve gone up against bigotry,' says Larry of We Agnostics. 'This has been an ongoing struggle in North America.'

HAT FORUM, Sat. June 11, 11am-1pm. OISE

DATE: Sat June 11, 11am - 1pm
LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, Room 2-198
TOPIC: Revenge and Forgiveness

What is the difference between Justice and Revenge?
Revenge is a powerful feeling that leads to action that can be very destructive.
How can we avoid letting this feeling lead our actions at the personal or group level?
Forgiveness doesn't come easily, and may depend on the offense received.
What do you think are the limits for forgiveness, if any?
Forgiveness is sometimes viewed as "turn the other cheek".
What is the difference between Justice and Revenge, in this regard, if any?

All are welcome

HAT Forum, sat. June 4, OISE Room 2-198

Saturday, June 4, 2011  OISE Room 2-198
TOPIC: Tim Hudak’s Chain Gang Idea: An exploration of humanists’ reactions on first meeting the idea.
1. What was your first reaction?
2. What is your reaction one week later?
Facilitator: Bill Kennedy

HAT FORUMS FOR JUNE: 1:00 am to 1:00 pm OISE ROOM 2-198

HAT FORUMS FOR JUNE: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm  OISE   ROOM 2-198   
(Topics to be announced)
HAT meetings are free and open to members and the public. Call (416) 966-1361 for location information. ___________________________________________________
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm.
The Monthly Meeting, is usually the second Saturday at 1:30pm; specifics should be found on this blog.
The Steering Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
The Book Group usually meets on the first Saturday afternoon of the month.