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.

HAT MONTHLY MEETING, Sat March 9, 1:30pm - 3pm, Shawn Newton, 'Religious Humanism'

HAT Monthly Meeting
DATE:  Sat March 9, 2013,  1:30pm-3pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street West,  Room TBA
TOPIC:  Religious Humanism
SPEAKER: Shawn Newton, First Unitarian Church, Toronto
Shawn says:
 "My talk will focus on what it means, for me, to be a religious humanist. I also plan to speak a bit about Alain de Botton's notion of "religion for atheists.

The Reverend Shawn Newton became the 23rd minister of First Unitarian in September 2007, arriving in Toronto with his spouse, Bob, after living for many years in Boston.  He began his undergraduate studies in the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College, eventually completed a bachelor degree in religious studies at Harvard's Extension School, and later received a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School.
In the course of his preparation for ministry, Shawn served five different congregations, including the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas; Arlington Street Church in Boston, where he was administrator; the Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill, Massachusetts, as a student minister; the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, Ohio, as the Killam Fellow; and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley, as Assistant Minister. Shawn's clinical pastoral education was undertaken at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Shawn loves to travel, to take in theatre and classical music, and to explore the fascinating array of neighbourhoods in Toronto.

HAT FORUM, Feb 23, 11.00am - 1pm, "Gun Control"

DATE: Feb 23, 2013, 11.00am-1pm
LOCATION:  OISE, 252 Bloor Street West,
TOPIC:  Gun Control
SPEAKER: Cecilia Rayo

What do you think motivates a person to own a gun or rifle? Are these reasons valid and sufficient from the point of view of the collective?

Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe. Switzerland does not have a standing army, instead opting for a people's militia for its national defense. The vast majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo military training, including weapons training. The personal weapons of the militia are kept at home as part of the military obligations; Switzerland thus has one of highest militia gun ownership rates in the world.

In recent times a minority of political opposition has expressed a desire for tighter gun regulations. A referendum in February 2011 rejected stricter gun control.

Why do you think that even though a large percentage of the population in Switzerland has a weapon at home, the death by firearm is significantly lower than in USA?

NRA leaders have expressed their view that most mass murders occur because of the lack of policy about treatment and supervision of mentally ill people. Do you agree with this statement or not? Why?

Did you know that 100 times more children die in a swimming pool than by a firearm? What do you think about banning swimming pools?

HAT FORUM: Sat Feb 16, 11am - 1pm "Alienation"

HAT WEEKLY FORUM DATE:  Sat. Feb 16, 2013, 11am - 1pm.
LOCATION:  OISE:  252 Bloor Street W, Room 2-198
TOPIC:  Alienation

Alienation is an estrangement or distancing of people either from themselves, from other people, from an experiential sense of reality and/or perhaps most importantly - from a feeling of “meaning”.  (And there seems to be a great deal of overlap between these as well.)
 Psychological - “While social isolation is typically experienced as a form of personal stress its sources are deeply embedded in the social organization of the modern world.  Much of our daily interactions are with those who are strangers to us and with whom we lack any ongoing social relationships.” 

What makes us feel alien and how does that feel?  
In what kinds of everyday circumstances might we be likely to experience a feeling of alienation?  
Can we somehow avoid those circumstances/feelings?
Do we alienate ourselves from others in some ways? How? 
Do we alienate ourselves from our own selves?
How can we be more authentically ourselves?
Is there a social cost to psychological authenticity? 

Modern choice exhaustion now permeates every area of our lives resulting in personal responsibility for consequences we can’t even reasonably fathom.  What effect might this type of alienation have on our experience of reality?  On our sense of appreciation? On our sense of responsibility? Does a culture of apathy figure in here somewhere?  

The opinions expressed in their forum are those of the participants, and not necessarily  of HAT

Why Exploring Life's Key Questions Feb Mar 2013, Knox

Why Exploring Life's Key Questions Feb Mar 2013
Dr. Gail McCabe, the HAT spokesperson, will be speaking at this panel tomorrow.

Why?  Exploring Life's Key Questions

When: Wednesday Feb 6, 13, 27 and Mar 6 5:30 to 7:00pm
Where:Room 3 of Knox College (56 St.George Street)
Details:All events are free and a pizza dinner is included

Wed Feb 6. What is the meaning of life?
Wed Feb 13 Why is murder wrong? To whom are we responsible?
Wed Feb 27 Does science have limits?
Wed Mar 6 Why do bad things happen to good people?

(Atheist)Dr. Larry Moran, (Buddhist) Marco Mascarin, (Christian) Dr. Kirk Durston, Dr. Alex Philp, Dr. Scot Masso, Dr. Andy Bannister, (Humanist) Dr. Gail McCabe, (Jewish) Rabbi Aaron Katchen, (Muslim) Dr. Shabir Ally, (Sikh) Santbir Singh and Other

Sponsored by: U of T Multi-Faith Centre, Secular Alliance at U of T, Muslim Students Association at Uof T,  and Power to Change at U of T

For more information please email 

HAT FORUM, Sat Feb 9, 11am OISE. "The Hero"

HAT FORUM Sat Feb 9, 11am- 1pm
LOCATION: OISE, 252 Bloor Street West
TOPIC: The Hero
 FACILITATOR:Mandy St Germaine.

Definition of a hero (Wikipedia)
“hero (male) and heroine (female) refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice for some greater good of all humanity.”

In his book The Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell, describes the typical adventure of the archetypal character known as The Hero, the chosen person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe or civilization. The journey of the hero follows a common path including; the existence in the ordinary world, the call to adventure, refusing the challenge, finding a mentor, ordeal, death and rebirth and finally returning home as the hero with strengthened physical and mental abilities.
In modern times we are surrounded by examples of people who risk their own well being to save others. In some cases these heroic acts are spontaneous and in the moment while others come about because people knowingly place themselves in dangerous situations for the greater good of society. George Brown College student, Dwight Orchard, jumped onto the subway tracks as the train was entering the St. Clair West station, to save the life of a stranger . He did this as other passengers stood by watching in fear.

Newtown school administration faced certain danger by confronting the gunman to save their students.

Canada has been shaped throughout history by the heroic acts of our veterans who choose to face certain danger for the sake of their country and fellow citizens.

When interviewed after their heroic acts most people say they didn’t do anything special and prefer not to be called heroes, they believe they did what anybody would do in the same situation.

1.Do you believe that we each have the capacity to be a hero or are heroes a special breed of us just waiting to be called into action? Which characteristics do you think embody a hero? Under what conditions would you be moved to act heroically?
2 Popular wisdom says that we should each have a hero whose character and good works we admire and aspire to, eg. Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Terry Fox, Christine Sullivan, Raoul Wallenberg, Ann Harvey
Do you have a hero , who is that, and why do you believe they are a hero? How do these people/characters impact your life?
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.