As we gather, let us remember that though we have differences, we are linked by our common humanity.
We embrace many traditions and represent many demographics. We are Christians, Jews and Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, humanists, atheists, rationalists and skeptics, the unaffiliated and the uncertain. We represent many races and nationalities, men and women, young and old, and all in between. We identify as libertarian, liberal, progressive, and conservative.
To be sure, we do not agree about everything and we often feel fiercely protective of what we believe. But there is one thing on which we can all agree and that is, the goal of making our community the best it can be. We unite here today with that noble aim and common purpose.
Our meetings should be characterised with a healthy dose of humility and doubt, being receptive to the ideas of others and having the willingness to change our beliefs given good reason, argument, and evidence.
Let us not have intellectual arrogance or emotional intransigence. Let us remember that our beliefs inform our actions and, translated into real-world impact, have the potential to help or harm others.
So, in the spirit of goodwill and common decency, may we always show respect to others, compassion for the needy, and integrity in our actions."
Dr Meredith Doig
President, Rationalist Society of Australia