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Los Angeles, California, United States

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Somewhere around April 20, 2011 I saw a TED speaker video that featured Liz Coleman, who re-invented the Liberal Arts education at Bennington College in the mid 1990's.  I ran across my notes from her TED talk today and was really impressed with what she was able to accomplish and how pertinent it is today.  In reviewing my notes, one statement that she made really resonated with me, "We leave education and values to the fundamentalists who use this to their own benefit to create the absolutes of a theocracy."

"Values"is the word that I want to discuss today.  Ms. Bennington's statement begs the question, "How does one define their values without using or referencing their faith?  And collectively, "How does as society define our values without referencing a single religion?"  I know it can be done, but what is the process?

I know discussion of religious values and social mores is absolutely necessary in defining a societies values, but it has to be an informed discussion, with accurate, non-biased information.  Cliches and catch phrases won't work.  Right wing-religious-hate mongering-political , pseudo journalist- talking heads won't work, and neither will radical atheist religion haters who seek to insult and defame all people of faith.  We all live and have a right to live and believe as we please in this society, so how do we keep the conversation civil with so many distracting and divisive voices out there?

Today, in 2011, in these United States, it is almost impossible to have that conversation.  I say "almost" because I still hold out hope that that conversation can and will take place.  It is needed now more than at any other time in our nations history.  Hopefully we will have this conversation before the next election.  Before things go too far in the wrong direction and it becomes too difficult to find our way back to center... and sanity.

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