I thought I’d write a piece on humanism because it seems to have a lot of confusion surrounding it. Some view it as a religion or cult, others see it as an organised anti-religious sect of militant atheists. The confusion arises because the term “humanist” can be used to describe a variety of philosophical approaches both contemporary and historical.
I am a Secular Humanist, which effectively means that I am an atheist with beliefs about the ability of people to improve their lives and the lives of others (including other species) by behaving in a rational and socially responsible way. Humanists subscribe to the ‘Golden Rule‘ (don’t do things to others that you wouldn’t like to have done to yourself) as a simple moral guideline and rather than relying on the supernatural as the source of moral principles, humanists rely on rational consideration and those human values that have arisen as part of the evolution of human social behaviour. In short, humanism is explicitly being good without god. Continue reading →
In 2008 Melissa and I were living in London and planning to get married. We are both atheist and neither of us wanted a religious ceremony, but we did want to share the experience with our family and friends. We wanted to get married in Ireland (where Melissa is from), but the residency requirements for the marriage license made it impossible for us to do the legal bit there. In the end we decided to get a quick legal marriage in Lewisham registry office, witnessed by just our parents, followed by a celebratory wedding ceremony in Ireland some months later.
Freed from making the legal oaths part of our ceremony and not wanting to use a priest, Continue reading →
The concept of ethics and morality being equated with a god is not unfamiliar and it actually ties in very well with some thoughts on the origin of gods, rather than the origin of ethics and morality. I consider gods to be just one of a number of cultural constructs used to reinforce behavioural guidelines and rules that are a requirement of any structured society. Continue reading →