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A Bright New World

A group called the Brights wants to refurbish the image of people who don't believe in God.

A growing group of atheists, humanists and freethinkers answers to
a new name, and it’s not “heathen.” They call
themselves the Brights, and their aim is to refurbish the image and
broaden the civic influence of those who don’t believe in

The brainchild of California educators Paul Geisert and Mynga
Futrell, the Brights’ Web site ( launched in 2003 and has since signed on tens of thousands of Brights from more
than 84 countries. Intellectual heavyweights including evolutionist
Richard Dawkins and philosopher Daniel Dennett have publicly lent their

What holds the Brights together? A naturalistic worldview that
rejects supernatural and mystical thinking. Syndicated advice columnist
Amy Alkon, who has slapped the sobriquet “Godless Harlot” on
her business card, puts it this way: “Our country is run by
[religious] fundamentalists in so many areas that it’s important to
come out of the closet.”

Some Brights also like the idea of promoting a morality not founded
on religious indoctrination. Others are just tired of labels that frame
their views in the negative—nonbeliever, atheist, godless.
“Were not anti anything,” says Geisert. “We’re
pro certain things,” like a firm separation of church and state.
It’s too soon to tell if the movement will really catch on, says
Futrell, adding in typically rationalist fashion, “We just have to
empirically wait and see what happens.”