“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.” –Humanist Manifesto III
In “Choose the Form Of the Destructor 10”, I came across Pray.com CEO Steve Gatena. A religion-specific social media company was interesting. It started up in 2016 so you may not have heard of it yet.
It is a work of pure evil. Specifically, the evil of humanism, the belief that humans are inherently good and/or perfectible. An evil that persists despite the philosophical impossibility of objective good existing without reference to a moral authority outside humanity. Notice that their Humanist Manifesto is itself on its third official iteration. That’s how secure and objective their beliefs are.
Let’s begin with an overview.
Pray.com offers social network for prayer, community-building
By Catholic News Service, 22 May 2019 (At odds with the URL’s 24 April 2018 date)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Convinced that faith communities would want to share prayer requests, announcements and service opportunities without going to multiple platforms and without being awash in advertising, a group of friends created an app just for that.
With $2 million in seed money, Pray.com was beta tested with 100 churches in 2016. Today, 6,000 faith communities and thousands of other groups use the app to host their members’ need for prayer and offers of support, as well as to recruit volunteers for local service projects and to collect donations, said two of the co-founders.
“Faith communities” is one sulfurous Hell of a red flag. We used to have denominations, movements, caliphates, cults and whatnot, but the United Nations has decided they’re all “faith communities”. Only the atheist cares that little about distinctions between religions.
The faith-social app Pray 2.0 is designed specifically not to “gamify” the experience of the parishes, mosques, synagogues, churches and temples that use it, Matthew Potter, one of the app’s co-founders, told Catholic News Service April 23.
“What big social media does is gamified to get more eyes on more ads,” he said. People become obsessed, consciously or not, with attracting followers and likes, which in turn gives the advertising a wider market.
The communities that set up one of the closed groups on Pray.com and the community members who join those groups pay nothing. Pray.com does not accept advertising but earns money by taking a small percentage of the donations it facilitates for the groups.
The atheist doesn’t give a damn about what we believe but he’ll respectfully not treat us like ad revenue while convincing us to use his product. I’d feel more comfortable doing business with a mercenary.
Instead of taking a “tithe” of donations, my choice of business model for an all-religions social media would be to monetize the inevitable flame wars. One dollar per twit! Tweet, I mean.
“When you think about Facebook and Instagram, you think about your social identity online, which is great. It’s brought everyone together with their social identity — friends and family,” Potter said. LinkedIn is a social media site for an individual’s professional or work identity.
“When you think about the three core things that make up human beings, it’s your friends and family, what you do and what you believe.”
He quoted Thomas Aquinas there.
Pray.com is designed for that third part, he said. “It is a place where people engage in prayer and prayer requests, create community, support one another and support their local community, which can be their church, their temple or mosque.”
Pray.com COMPLETELY fails at that third part by not even pretending to give a damn about what you believe. Christian? Muslim? Zoroastrian? Jedi? It’s all good, come use our online prayer service! It facilitates inter-faith interactions and support!
About those inter-faith interactions:
Potter and co-founder Michael Lynn were at the Vatican in late April where Pray.com was used as the community platform of choice for Humanity 2.0, a gathering of financiers, philanthropists, artists, tech experts, physicians, politicians and religious leaders who came together to discuss ways to work together to make a positive impact on the world.
Pray.com is the medium for the Orwellian-named Humanity 2.0 initiative, which is every bit as humanist as it sounds. In fact, in the following article I will insert excerpts from the Humanist Manifesto III in boldface to help you see through the smoke. My personal emphases will be in underline today.
Gatena himself is on the operations side of Pray.com so we’re departing him. He’s known mainly for creating a media company specializing in aerial film footage, which earned him recognition from the United Nations as an entrepreneur. I found no religious history for him, although here’s a quick link for the curious. He was a football player who was discharged from the Air Force Academy after a career-ending injury. Managed to bounce back.
‘Humanity 2.0’ answers pope’s call for entrepreneurs with a conscience
By Elise Harris, 11 May 2019
ROME – Pope Francis often has praised entrepreneurs for their creativity, zeal and commitment to the projects they launch, and he’s advocated for these personalities to employ their talents to tackle global problems such as poverty and inequality.
One intriguing example of answering that call is a new initiative with the unabashedly ambitious name, “Humanity 2.0: A Shared Horizon for Humanity.”
Speaking to financiers, philanthropists, artists, tech experts, physicians, politicians and religious leaders gathered at the Vatican’s Teutonic College for a May 10 forum to discuss the organization’s vision and concrete projects, Matthew Sanders, a Canadian tech entrepreneur and CEO of Humanity 2.0, stressed that “the challenges we face are not bigger than we are.”
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
“All that is required to change our destiny is prudence and the will to act,” Sanders said, adding, “if history has taught us anything, it’s that humans rarely rise to the occasion unless they’re inspired by what ‘should be’, and this is why Humanity 2.0 is committed to articulating a common vision.”
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
One challenge which Humanity 2.0 is currently targeting is a global maternal health crisis, referred to by Morad Fareed, CEO of the Humanity 2.0 Lab, as one of modern society’s greatest concerns because “the nine months in the womb are the most important time in the universe for the human being.”
The first specific goal of the Humanity 2.0 project is more resources to women. How original! Maybe if they’d included a mathematician, they would have learned that birth rates go down as fertile women get empowered. Global unborn baby morality is at an all-time low… unless you include abortion. Only then do you have a crisis.
Sanders said the fact that humanity doesn’t yet have “an effective gold standard on how to optimize pregnancy to ensure the best outcomes for mother and child is astonishing,” asking, “How is it possible that the most important biological process for our species receives less funding and attention than male pattern baldness?”
Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humanity 2.0 would appear to be precisely the sort of moxie harnessed to a good cause Pope Francis has been trying to encourage, perhaps explaining its warm welcome within Vatican precincts.
In a message to the 4-day World Economic Forum held in Davos in January 2018, Pope Francis urged politicians and business leaders to build just and inclusive societies focused on promoting human values and the common good.
Business and enterprise can drive this goal, he said, saying the entrepreneurial world in particular “has enormous potential to effect substantial change by increasing the quality of productivity, creating new jobs, respecting labor laws, fighting against public and private corruption, and promoting social justice, together with the fair and equitable sharing of profits.”
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
[Talking points from Pope Francis omitted.]
Supported by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Humanity 2.0 is self-described as being a vehicle to facilitate opportunities for collaboration between the public, private and faith-based spheres placing a strong emphasis on business ethics and networking.
For the Christian, there is no distinction between our religion and our behavior. Church isn’t something we only do on Sundays. That’s why we call those pretenders Churchians.
I presume orthodox Jews, Muslims etc. hold similar positions. None of us “faithful” types use religion as a mere crutch for social justice and corporate wellness. If it happens then great but the purpose of religion is, by definition, to explore, experience and/or understand the supernatural.
Here’s an ethical question that I’ve used a couple times. A church wants to feed the hungry during a coming hard winter. They can afford to feed ten families. A representative from the government shows up and offers to subsidize their effort. They can afford to feed one hundred families but because it’s taxpayer money, they won’t be allowed to do it in Christ’s name. No altar calls, no religious services or iconography, nothing Christian.
What should the church do? Feed ten families in God’s name, or 100 families for the good of humanity? The former, because we do good in order to honor Christ. We do not honor Christ in order to do good, which is what these humanists are pushing for.
(Bonus points for “That’s a ruse to silence the Gospel because the government can spend the money directly”.)
Big-name sponsors include Cisco, Google, Dignity Health, Pledgecamp, Crown Sterling, Falkon Ventures and Burst iQ.
Pray.com not yet being a big-name sponsor, apparently, although it did give the Pope a $100k goodwill donation.
The focus of the organization’s work is to identify the most urgent “impediments” to human progress, triage them, using shared data and collaboration to remove them. Tackling modern global challenges “can feel a bit like whack-a-mole,” Sanders said, in the sense that as soon as one problem is knocked down, another seems to arise.
Big and small companies around the world collapse every day, Sanders said, due to “a lack of attentiveness and respect for ethical and philosophical processes and thinking,” which he called evidence that “our economies may be growing, but they’re not sufficiently evolving.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
“If we start by finding new ways to leverage aligned existing global platforms,” he said, “by bringing to bear new technologies, expertise and strategies, we stand a much better chance of making it as a species.”
We are the Borg. Your cultural and technological distinctiveness will be leveraged to service us. Resistance is futile. We are the Borg.
One of these platforms, he said, is the Catholic Church, calling it “the largest and most influential institution in human history.”
The impact of the Church on society and culture throughout history “is unparalleled,” he said, noting that the Church is not only the largest NGO in the world, but the pope is often recognized as “the single most influential soft power on earth.”
Humanist verbal masturbation at the idea of pozzing the RCC.
“We aren’t looking to align peoples’ belief systems or replace the important role religion plays in people’s lives, but to provide humanity a new way to collaborate in tackling human challenges that leverages every asset at our disposal,” Sanders said, voicing hope that organization can help to build “a true human progress accelerator.”
Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.
OH PISS OFF, Sanders! Usurping religion’s role in peoples’ lives is exactly what you’re doing. And Pray.com, less than three years out of beta, is your social media platform of choice. I close with a couple pics of Matthew Harvey Sanders: