A Personal Look at Secularism vs Religion & Spirituality

What does it mean to be Secular?

Secularism is a very positive and active worldview, defined by a coherent code of values shared by various religious traditions but claiming no monopoly on them. They view morality and wisdom as the legacy of all humans.  The secular ethical code enshrines the values of truth, compassion, equality, freedom, courage, and responsibility as it forms the foundation of modern science and democratic institutions. Although the code is ideal to aspire to societies and institutions often fall short as it is not easy to live up to an ideal.

The most important secular commitment is to truth based on observation and evidence rather than mere faith which supports beliefs (not to be confused with truth).  Secularists do not sanctify any group, person or book as if it alone has custody of the truth.  This commitment to truth underlies the modern science which has enabled mankind to crack the atom, decipher the genome, track evolution of life and understand the history of humanity itself.

The other chief commitment of secular people is to compassion. They carefully weigh the feelings of all concerned parties, examine a wide range of observations and possibilities and search for a middle path that will cause as little harm as possible.  A commitment to equality also plays a part in eliminating any confusion between uniqueness and superiority and simultaneously acknowledges their duties toward humanity as a whole.

Secular people also cherish responsibility and don’t believe in any higher power (intervening deity) that takes care of the world, punishing and rewarding at will.  As we need not credit any divine protector for our successes, we need to take full responsibilities for our failings. Instead of praying for miracles, we need the courage to ask what we can do to help and the freedom to carry that out.

There is no expectation that religious people should deny God or abandon their traditions. Rather secular education teaches children to distinguish truth from belief, to develop compassion for all suffering beings, to appreciate the wisdom and experiences of all earth’s denizens, to think freely without fearing the unknown, and to take responsibility for their actions and for the world as a whole.

Edited from: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari, Penguin Random House Publishing, 2018, pages 207-213.

My Secular Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

1.     We admit that we had little of no control over our consumption of alcohol and as a result our lives have become unmanageable  

 2.     Realized that we could restore ourselves to sanity if action was taken to maintain sobriety.

 3.     Made a decision to be proactive in the care of our lives, living by choice rather than fate or affliction.

 4.     Make a searching and fearless personal inventory of our transgressions and omissions.

 5.     Admit to ourselves and to another person the exact nature of our wrongs.

 6.     Were entirely ready to deal with any defects of character and cease inappropriate activities.

 7.     Set about to accept responsibility for our lives and humbly change our manner of living to a higher moral code or ethics.

 8.     Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

 9.     Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

 10.   Continued to be mindful of our actions and when we were in the wrong promptly admitted it.

 11.   Sought through personal mindfulness to improve our level of consciousness through continued sobriety and personal growth.

 12.   Having had an awakening & personal growth as the result of these steps, we offer to carry this message to other suffering alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

 

My Secular Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous

 1.     Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon working as a unity.

2.     For our group purpose, decisions will be made democratically with a focus on the highest and best use of time and resources. 

3.     The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

4.     Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

5.     Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

6.     An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7.     Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8.     Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9.     A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10.   Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11.   Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.

12.   Anonymity is the foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

If you want a large banner slideshow on Page Collections, you can place a Gallery Block at the very top of the Page, before all other blocks.

  • Gallery Block must be set to slideshow mode

  • As with Page Banner, putting bolded text or links in the description for each gallery slide will create Headlines and Buttons

 

Blog Featured Slideshow

Created a slideshow of Featured Posts in Blog List view by featuring individual posts. Your five most recent Featured Posts will automatically be placed into a slideshow at the top of the Blog List.

 

Blog Item Banner

In a blog post’s Item View, the post’s thumbnail will automatically be placed into a banner at the top of the page, along with the post’s title and your chosen meta info.

 

Simple Image Banner

Don’t want a fancy header with words and buttons? Just upload a thumbnail in Page, Blog List, Events, Product List, or Album, and it will be displayed in a thin strip along the top of the page.

 

No Banner Area

If you don’t want to use the banner at all, simply don’t upload a thumbnail, and it will not display.

 


Sidebar

Bedford features sidebars that appears in several situations:

  • Folder Navigation, on the left of any Page inside a Folder

  • Category Navigation, on on the left any Product List with categories

  • Blog Sidebar, on the right side of Blog pages

You can choose to show the title of the Folder or Product collection. If you don’t want to show the sidebars, you can choose to hide them entirely with a Style Editor option.


Index

Bedford’s Index allows you to stack multiple Pages on top of each other. Each Index Page will feature all the banner options available to other Pages in the site, including the Page Banner, Page Banner Slideshow, and Simple Image Banner options.


The Index also features a Fixed Navigation, which will appear after you scroll past the first Page in the Index. This navigation is only available while browsing an Index in Bedford.

 

Style Editor Options


Site Header

Header Background Color – Change the background color of the header bar at the top of the page.

Site Title Font + Color – If no logo image is uploaded, set the typeface, font properties, and color of the Site Title.

Transparent Header – If a banner image of any sort is uploaded on a particular page, the header background will become transparent. Pages without banner images will keep the Header Background Color, as will folder dropdowns.

Logo Container Width – Set the width of the logo container, effectively changing the size of the logo. If the logo container is smaller than the size of the uploaded logo image, the logo image will shrink, but if the logo container is larger, the logo will not become larger than the uploaded image. The nav will take up the rest of the space to the right of the logo container.

Site Title Container Width – Set the width of the site title container. This effectively allows control over the wrapping of the site title.


Site Navigation

Nav Link Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of the navigation links.

Nav Link (Active) – Set the color of the navigation links on hover.

Enable Nav Button – Turn the last link in the navigation into a button (does not apply to folders).

Nav Button Style – Select between solid, outline, and raised buttons.

Nav Button Corner Style – Select between squared corners, rounded corners, or a "pill" shaped button.

Nav Button Color – Set the background color of the button (outline and text color if "outline" button style is selected).

Nav Button Font + Text Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of the navigation button.


Banner Section

Banner Overlay Color – Set a color to be overlaid over images on banners.

Banner Heading Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of the headings in banners.

Banner Text Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of the body text in banners.

Banner Button Style – Select between solid, outline, and raised buttons.

Banner Button Corner Style – Select between squared corners, rounded corners, or a "pill" shaped button.

Banner Button Color – Set the background color of the button (outline and text color if "outline" button style is selected).

Banner Button Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and colors of the banner button.


Main Content

Page Background – Set the background of the main content area.

Page Text Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of body text.

Page Link Color – Set the color of body links.

Page Meta Color – Set the color of meta text (blog authors, post dates, etc.)

Control the typeface, font properties, and colors of the Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3.

Quote Font + Color – Set the typeface, fonts properties, and color of Quote Blocks.


Sidebar

Hide Page Sidebar – Don't display the left-hand folder navigation on pages in a folder.

Hide Products Sidebar – Don't display the left-hand category navigation in product list view.

Hide Sidebar Title – Don't display title in the sidebar.

Sub Nav Title Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of the titles in Page Folder Nav and Products Category Nav.

Sub Nav Link Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of the links in subnavs.


Prefooter

Pre Footer Background – Set the background color of the pre-footer area directly above the footer.

Pre Footer Text Color – Set the color of the text in the Pre-Footer.


Footer

Footer Background – Set the background color of the footer area at the very bottom of the page.

Footer Text Color – Set the color of the text in the footer.

Footer Nav Font + Color – Set the typeface, font properties, and color of the footer navigation links.

Footer Nav Link (Active) – Set the color of the footer navigation links on hover.

Center Navigation / Info – Choose between left- and center-aligned footer navigation and site info.

Hide Site Info – Hide the site info in the footer.


Blog

Meta Priority – Select whether date or category of a post appear above its title in blog list view.

Hide Entry Author – Don't display the byline of a blog post. Useful for blogs with a single author.

Hide List Entry Footer – Don't display the footer (Comment + Like + Share) in blog list view.


Gallery Styles

Gallery Navigation – Determines the type of gallery image navigation is provided on the page.

Gallery Info Overlay – Select the type of display used for image title and caption.

Gallery Aspect Ratio – Controls the aspect ratio (width:height) for the gallery active slide.

Gallery Arrow Style – Determines the style of the arrows used to cycle through the slides.

Gallery Transitions – select the transition styles used to animate between slides being viewed.

Gallery Show Arrows – choose to use arrows for cycling through slides.

Gallery Auto Crop – choose to auto crop slide images to the selected ratio.

Gallery Autoplay – choose to cycle gallery images automatically without user interaction.

Gallery Loop – Enable a gallery to cycle through to the first slide after the last slide.

Gallery Autoplay Speed –Specify the speed at which the gallery pauses on the active slide.

Gallery Thumbnail Size – Control the height of thumbnail images when used for gallery navigation.

Gallery Arrow Background – Specify the color that is used for the shape of gallery arrows.

Gallery Arrow Color – Specify the color that is used for the arrow itself.

Gallery Circle Color – Specify the color that is used for the circle shape gallery arrows.

Gallery Info Background – Specify the color used in the background of the image title and caption. 


Event Styles

Event Time Format – Toggle between 24 hour or AM/PM for event times.

Event Icons – Enable icons on the address and event time display.

Event Thumbnails – Show an image thumbnail in list view.

Event Thumbnail Size – Control the size (ratio width:height) of the event thumbnail image.

Event Date Label – Enable date overlay on top of event thumbnail.

Event Date Label Time – Include the time of the event with the date overlay.

Event Excerpts – Show optional excerpt text of events on the list view when present.

Event List Date – Show the full event date (day, month, year) of the event on the list view.

Event List Time – Show the time range (start time-end time) of the event on the list view.

Event List Address – Show the event location address when present.

Event iCal/gCal Links – Show links to add events to Apple or Google calendars.

Event Like and Share Buttons – Show Squarespace simple like and share buttons on events.

Event List Compact View – Enable a simple stacked view of events in the list view.

Event Calendar Compact View – Enable a simpler calendar view optimized for smaller areas


Product Styles

Product Background Color – sets the color behind the product image.

Product Overlay Color – sets the color of the overlay when product list titles are set to 'overlay.'

Products Per Row – determines the number of products shown per line on the product list.

Product List Titles – controls the position of the product title on the product list.

Product List Alignment – sets the text alignment of the product title on the product list.

Product Item Size – select an image ratio for the product photo on the product list.

Product Image Auto Crop – determines whether product images fill the image area or fit within.

Product Gallery Size – select an image ratio for the product gallery on the product item page.

Product Gallery Auto Crop – determines whether product images fill the gallery area or fit within.

Show Product Price – shows the price on the product list page when enabled.

Show Product Item Nav – shows the 'back to shop' link on the product item page.

 

A very special thanks to Jared Chambers for providing the beautiful photography featured in this template.