Humanism Explained talk to Crawley InterFaith 26th January 2017


Andrew Edmondson gave a talk to Crawley InterFaith about Humanism. This is part of the BHA's dialogue initiative between religious and non-religious people.

Here is a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and accompanying notes. Please feel free to modify this presentation for further talks elsewhere.

After a few technical glitches we gathered around a tablet and worked through the presentation with intervening questions. This gave the talk a more friendly and relaxed feel.

Several questions were raised.

Q: What is the problem with Faith schools? They offer choice to parents who want their children brought up in their faith. They didn't harm my children. Etc.
A: It is impossible to offer parents choice, e.g. my village has a single church primary school. Parents can inculcate their beliefs outside of school. Two thirds of children leaving school are non-religious. Children vary in their sensibility to the religious indoctrination of faiths schools. The state should not be using taxpayer's money to promote religion.

Q: Hinduism and other religions share a great deal in common with Humanism. Why can't Humanism join forces with religion?
A: Humanism exists because religion exists. It is a positive non-religious alternative worldview. We share much in common with religion, although we arrive at these commonalities using reason and experience rather than from received wisdom. Events such as these are a way of coming together in an effort to promote a harmonious society. Part of this dialogue is to promote a secular society where the government is neutral regarding religion and belief, i.e. a level playing field where there is no religious privilege. Currently, certain religious organisations are opposed to secularism and so we cannot "join forces" until the issue of secluarism is agreed.

Q: Why does Humanism now concern itself with animals and the environment, when in the past it was not.
A: Humanism in the UK is represented by the British Humanist Association (BHA). Due to popular demand, the BHA included animal rights and the environment into its articles of association. This is consistent with the evolution of morality from sentient animals and the effect of the environment on the future happiness of people.



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