About Us

Grand Rapids Area Freethinkers is a group organized to provide a place for those who support a secular society to meet, share ideas, build friendships, explore common interests and get support from each other. We have a main monthly meeting where we typically explore a topic of interest by watching a video or just having an open discussion. A weekly meeting is used for an open conversation and friendship without any particular agenda. A women’s group meets twice monthly for the same purpose. You can see a list of all our various meetings, locations and schedules at our Meetup.com website.

GRAF became an official chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) in the spring of 2013. FFRF is the largest atheist/secular organization in the country with more than 21,000 members as of the fall of 2014. They have been growing at a rapid pace for the past few years as a result of their aggressive campaign to challenge state/church separation issues. They have a staff of more than 4 attorneys and a large number of legal interns. They have hundreds of violations brought to their attention each year. They typically write detailed letters to the parties involved informing them of the nature of the violation, the legal precedents that have been established and the willingness of the FFRF to pursue court action if the violation continues. The financial support of GRAF members and similar organizations for FFRF is crucial to their continued success in defending the Constitution and the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights for the benefit of everyone.

Our membership includes men and women, couples, older folks, younger folks (college age and even high school) with all sorts of different backgrounds. Many were raised in one religion or another, but have set it aside. For some the abandonment of religion never occurred since they were raised in a family without religious convictions. Some left their parent’s religion at an early age while others remained involved until much later in their life. All of them enjoy meeting and interacting with a community of others who share their basic view of religion as constraining and incompatible with thinking for yourself.

Our regular meetings are mostly focused on education and ideas at this point. The more social gatherings (Women’s Group, Weekly Meeting ) are more a matter of getting to know each other personally. Of course a lot of that getting to know each other takes place in talking about ideas, experiences, etc. Just sharing personal stories is a common part of those meetings as well. Over time we added other get togethers like family friendly BBQ’s and pot luck dinners to extend the sense of participation in a community that we want to be an outcome of forming the group in the first place.

This blog has multiple authors all of whom are active members of the Grand Rapids Area Freethinkers group. They represent the diversity of the group itself including men, women, younger people and older people. Most, but not all, have maintained a secular view of life for many years. Some, but not all, have been active in the secular community and maintain membership in large, national organizations like the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Blog postings will often reflect the differences in perspective that come from different levels of involvement, experience and special interests. Entering into a dialog with others is important and is the major reason we all have joined the Grand Rapids Atheists and Freethinkers.

If you have questions or want to know more about our group, email Ken at ksynergy@msn.com.

2 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Hi Ken,
    I was wondering how to post things to the blog? I remember you said you were hoping more contributors would develop, so I was telling the other members of the book club that I thought it would be great if they could share more of what they refer to at the meetings, so the rest of us could do more reading. Then I saw an ironic item in the news and wanted to post it in the “truth is stranger than fiction” department. See here: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/york-man-crushed-giant-crucifix-leg-amputated-191700439.html

    Is this an appropriate place? How do we participate other than replying to existing topics?

    Thanks for the help, I’m pretty new to this stuff!
    Bethann Perendy

    • What you need is to have “author” status. This requires wishing, hoping and begging for me to change your status from just a “subscriber” to an author. Then you can login using the same information you use when making a reply and you can access the administration system where posts are created.

      Creating a post involves using an editor that works like a word processor. Creating links and embedding videos requires learning a little bit, but I can help you with that. I will change your status to “author” and you can create a post as soon as you want to.

      I forgot that the book group was last night. I ended up having things to do that would have made it difficult for me to show up, but I have read Sagan’s book and would have enjoyed talking about it.

      Maybe next month.

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