What's important to you? Why?
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06-08-2011, 07:03 PM
What's important to you? Why?
The institution where I used to work has invited me to give a talk about the things that are important to me—and why they are. I’ll speak for 40 – 45 minutes, followed by Q&A. The audience will be made up largely, although not exclusively, of young people in their late teens and beyond.

Being asked to take part in this 10-year-old ongoing series is a big deal to me. In the past I’ve attended many of these talks, never thinking I’d be invited to be one of the speakers. You don’t often get a chance to stand up in front of an audience and talk about what’s in your heart. It’s an honor, and I’m taking it very seriously.

Among the things I plan to talk about is my atheism: how it developed, why I’m in that camp, what it’s been like for me to live a life without faith in a deity or an afterlife, etc. Tone will be crucial. I don’t want to come off as preachy or proselytizing—not “This is the way it is, and if you’re intelligent you’ll believe what I believe” but rather “This is the way it seems to me. This has been my experience. If you can benefit from it in any way, I’m glad.”

But it can’t all be negative. The focus should be on what I do believe in, what does matter to me. And I find that harder to talk about.

What I’ve realized sounds like one huge cliché: the things that are important to me are Truth and Honesty, Beauty, and Love. I’ll provide plenty of examples and elaboration. But that’s what it comes down to.

What would you say if you were giving this talk? What matters to you? Why?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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06-08-2011, 07:17 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
My daughter and her health and happiness. A lot goes into those things, but essentially all I could ever ask for would be those. If there were a God that is what I would pray for every day.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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06-08-2011, 07:43 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
Kinda of a vague topic to allow a speaker to just wing it don't you think? I would have the say the most important thing to me is the ability to think. If this was taken from me in some sort of accident I would lose my will to live if I still had some ability to realize my thinking capacity was diminished.

Simply put, my power of thought.

"We Humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan
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06-08-2011, 10:06 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
I'd focus on truth, critical thinking, honesty, freedom... that sort of positive light on atheism. Whatever that means to you. Maybe with a little (tasteful) funny and something close to the heart too- making it relatable and encouraging. To me, those are the best speeches. Good luck!
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07-08-2011, 07:32 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
What's important to me? Freedom of speech. Freedom of thought. Freedom of information.

The internet.

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08-08-2011, 01:47 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
I'd like to give a speech on how we come a long way as humanity and that, no matter the popular believe, the world is not such a bad place and the future is looking bright. I'd give a lot of examples on how people are mis/over-informed, on how the brain can't cope with such information and how things like that should be put in perspective.

I'd give a message of hope based on reality!

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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22-08-2011, 07:54 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
Staying alive, healthy and reasonably free. Learning things. Trying to figure out how reality works.

I've had to live without the usual relationship experiences most men seem to have. Women view me as an ignorable beta male, and a number of them have told me they find me "cold." I wouldn't want a woman in my life any way if she viewed me as "Mr. He'll Have to Do" instead of the guy who rocks her world.
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22-08-2011, 08:08 PM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2011 08:13 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: What's important to you? Why?
Autonomy: being able and empowered to make my own informed decisions, to set my own course in life, to form convictions and ideals and to act on them.
Why is that important? Without autonomy, you never grow up. That may feel safe, but it's not. You will be judged, applauded or disapproved of, loved or hated, punished or rewarded for the things you do in life. It should be for your own free choices, not something you're told to do.

Integrity: knowing who i am; thinking, speaking, working, joking from a single point of view. Being able to look at my life as a straight line with the same core.
Why is that important? I'm not sure, but i'll think about it.

(Other, more normal things, too, like relationships and trees, but i don't have anything on those that you don't know already.)

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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25-09-2011, 05:44 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
What is important? That depends solely on the person speaking. All I can offer is what is truely valuable to me.

I value my friends and family. I value peace and prosperity. I value strength and compassion. But what I hold high above all else...I value justice. Justice in the sense that could only be befitting a "white knight". Protection of innocents and the destruction of those who would cause harm to those undeserving simply because of thier own depraved, sick and twisted desires.

If I was going to talk I would instill the idea of selflessness into these kids. Tell them to be kind and stand up for those who cannot stand on their own. Become a paragon of virtue.

That may seem over the top but speaking from personal experiance...the lady's love the "white knight" types.
Just saying.

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25-09-2011, 05:59 PM
RE: What's important to you? Why?
Truth and critical thinking are important. Adding in quotes like "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" and then allowing that to segue into your discussion of what these self-evident truths are. Some are universal truths, like the right to live. Some are not as obvious, like the right to chose what to believe. Discuss how you have pursued your own truth and knowledge and how this path towards education has shaped who you are, and then tell them who you are. Kind of poetic to add in quotes and to romanticize it a bit. Hopefully using this romantical approach to begin will keep you from being preachy and instead you can explain who you are. In saying that you have pursued knowledge that led you to these conclusions, hopefully you can avoid saying what is right and wrong. As I am sure you are well aware, right and wrong are highly subjective.

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