ChichesterHumanists

Chichester Humanists is a local branch of West Sussex Humanists and represents the interests of the non-religious residents in and around Chichester.

Each month we discuss issues concerning religion and belief, ethics, equality, human rights and science, including current events.

We liase with Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council on matters concerning equality of religion and belief, and monitor Council activities, including proposals for new "faith" schools.

We are keen to campaign on behalf of non-religious residents who feel disadvantaged because of their beliefs, e.g. access to a community school, discrimination at work or through the delivery of local services.

We organise events and displays, invite prominent speakers, and give talks to local organisations, including schools and colleges.

We meet once a month in Chichester Inn, 38 West Street, West Sussex, PO19 1RP (tel: ChichesterInn01243 783185)

Click on the photo for their website.

Meetings are from 7.30pm on the third Monday of the month (third Tuesday when there is a bank holiday). Instead of membership subscriptions, there is a £2 entrance charge for each meeting (£3 for visitors).

If you would like to meet some local freethinkers and have a chat, please come along and join us at the next meeting. Look out for the poster above.

For more details, email Andrew.

NOTE:
Being freethinkers there are many things secular humanists will not agree on, but there are some matters on which we do take a firm and unanimous stand. We do not condone prejudice of any sort. Nor do we hate religious people. Such views are entirely contrary to any humanist philosophy and we reserve the right to exclude any person promoting them.

Click on the poster for a larger version to display in your area.

Andrew Copson talk at Chichester March 2016

ExploringHumanismAndrewCopsonMarch2016debate

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association (BHA), gave an entertaining and inspirational talk on Humanism to regular members of Chichester Humanists and many visitors.

Before joining the BHA staff 11 years ago, Andrew studied Ancient and Modern History. He used this knowledge to help explode some of the myths surrounding Humanism: that it is a recent Western phenomenon reliant on religion for its context.

Andrew went on to describe the chief attributes of a Humanist.

Humanists:

  1. accept naturalism and use scientific method to gain knowledge
  2. accept this one life is all we know we have
  3. accept morality arises out of human nature and culture
  4. believe what is right is what promotes human welfare and fulfillment
  5. believe we can/should create meaning and purpose in life
A series of questions and answers followed.
Q: Isn't Humanism just like a religion? Can a religious person be a Humanist?
A: No. All religions are founded on a belief in an unseen world that influences/created the real world. Humanists rely only on knowledge of the real world (see bullet 1 above). Followers of religion might agree with points 2 to 5 above but none will agree with the first part of point 1.
Q: In view of events such as the Holocaust, do you think that evil exists in the world?
A: No. Although humans are capable of despiccable acts of cruelty, they do so as a consequence of their past experiences and nature. As the psychologist Milgram showed, groups of people can be manipulated into harming others without good reason. Humanists do not believe in supernatural forces such as evil and prefer to explain our behaviour in terms of observable phenomena. Through applying Humanist principles, there will be less suffering in the world.
Q: Could we live forever sometime in the future?
A: I would not want to live forever. Life might become unbearably boring. Our expectation of death gives us an imperative to live each day as fully as we can. In contrast, religions place greater importance on an imagined eternal life of bliss (or torment) in the hereafter.
Q: Are there any renegades in the BHA?
A: Not to my knowledge. Because Humanists are independent thinkers, they inevitably differ in their views to a certain extent. However, their conclusions are usually far more consistent than in the general population. The important thing to bear in mind is the unifying Humanist mindset: one of reason and open inquiry based on all of the available evidence. In contrast, differences in religious beliefs have led to great divisions, such as during the protestant reformation.
Q: What is the relationship between the BHA and the National Secular Society (NSS)?
A: The NSS has one aim: separation of Church and State. This is also one of the main aims of the BHA. But the BHA is involved in many other areas. Also, the BHA has an extensive network of local groups who meet socially and for other activities such as talks.

There was insufficient time to consider much of the outstanding work of the BHA in such a short talk but Andrew touched upon some of the activities within the their 21 campaign areas: an end to the blasphemy laws, equal marriage, an extensive library of educational material, the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group of more than 100 MPs, changes to the educational system, a 120 year history of providing Humanist ceremonies (baby namings, weddings, funderals) etc. Andrew encouraed those present to join the BHA or make a financial contribution to support the advancement of Humanism in the UK.
You can find out more about Humanism by visiting www.humanism.org.uk
For more information about what is going on locally, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1408283946101981/ (just ask to join this public group for Chichester)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/horshamhumanists/ (just ask to join this public group for Horsham)
http://www.horshamhumanists.net/
 

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