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Promoting Humanism

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Titanium Wheels
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 8:20 am

Promoting Humanism

#1 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 23rd, 2007, 3:33 pm

Well, er... what is says in the title. OK, not too helpful so let's try a bit harder.

As a group of people here on the forum we have been having a very happy time posting and chatting in our new uncensored (so far) home and this has been great but perhaps the time is right to take on something a bit meatier. I suppose most people here are at least somewhat committed to the cause of Humanism as see its benefits over various faith-based possibilities. Now those faith-based groups, well some of them, promote their views in the street, house to house, poster campaigns and even Alpha Courses. This group, and I suppose HSS, don't really do anything to raise our heads over the parapet, so to speak, never mind promoting Humanism.

So, this thread is about how we might go about doing something, anything really, just to tell others about Humanism and its aims and objects. I am not the bright ideas person here, sadly, so it is going to up to the bright (whoops another name of Atheists) people here to come up with some ideas. I mean we could try letters or article to local papers especially if some religious nonsense is printed. the sadistic part of me says get a group of 6 or so people from here and all register for an Alpha Course and have fun! I don't think that will do though even if a pity!

OK, I am off to start to prepare my Chicken Biriyani for tonights dinner and I'll try to come up with some ideas whilst doing it. I''ll be back later with some more ideas.

Robert
Wheelchair-Rollin' Househusband

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Alan C.
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#2 Post by Alan C. » July 23rd, 2007, 3:44 pm

Titanium Wheels
I am off to start to prepare my Chicken Biryani for tonights dinner and I'll try to come up with some ideas whilst doing it. I''ll be back later with some more ideas.
That's uncanny, we had roast chicken yesterday, and I have been trying to decide on biryani or chicken soup and dumplings for the leftovers, I had just put the soup on when I came back and read this post.

It's usually the ranter that seems to share my thoughts. :puzzled:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Moonbeam
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#3 Post by Moonbeam » July 24th, 2007, 3:43 pm

Titanium Wheels wrote:This group, and I suppose HSS, don't really do anything to raise our heads over the parapet, so to speak, never mind promoting Humanism.
First of all, I would say that I don't really regard the people who post on this Board as 'a group' of anything more than people who post on this Board. We may have some things in common including, for many of us, a shared disappointment in the way the HSS has been going and what happened on the old forum. But I don't see myself as part of a group who, under the thinkhumanism.com banner (or not) are looking for ways to raise our collective head above the parapet.

I also don't think it is entirely fair to say that people on here and people who remain in the HSS don't really do anything to promote humanism. I know there are people who do plenty as individuals. All the HSS and BHA celebrants promote humanism through the ceremonies they provide, others are getting involved in school visiting or chaplaincy, others write dozens of letters to newspapers, others are very busy spreading the word on the internet.

I would like to see this forum develop into a support mechanism and a resource for people to do whatever they feel they can do. e.g. if someone as an individual wants to protest about something happening in their locality and wants ideas about what to do or say, they can come here for suggestions and maybe others can get involved in writing letters too. A small example that springs to mind is Alan C. telling us about the homophobic piece in a local freesheet. Not strictly about promoting humanism but I would see such activity as in keeping with a humanist world view, which sometimes has the beneficial side effect of promoting humanism.

I also like it when people publicise good causes such as petitions, charitable projects and campaigns like the Dying with Dignity thead and the one about DV victims and TV licences - Godsucks' posting his result was inspirational.

There was a thread in the private members forum at the other place asking for ideas about conducting a humanist assembly in a school.

Those are my initial thoughts anyway...and it's high time I got back to work.

Titanium Wheels
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#4 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 24th, 2007, 7:05 pm

Moonbeam,

I was not suggesting the people here area group as such, but I should think that we all, in our own ways would want to do something, perhaps independently, towards publicizing Humanism. I

mean is there anyone here who would want allow some of the nonsense talked on radio or TV by clergy get away without out comment? Especially the bishop who said the floods were a punishment from god. i hope not.
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Lifelinking
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#5 Post by Lifelinking » July 24th, 2007, 7:15 pm

I am working on a project, and a book. Progress is slow as I am trying to cram my research and writing in between working full time and being with my family. But it is a labour of love.
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Beki
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#6 Post by Beki » July 24th, 2007, 7:28 pm

Wheels - I would love to do something more 'active' and have toyed with the idea of setting up some kind of Humanist group here at the Uni to act as a balance to the number of 'faith' groups that there are. However between work, study and feeding my boy aka - "the bottomless pit", I don't know that I could commit to something as major as that.

There are quite a few speakers and things on in St. Andrews though - I distinctly remember someone saying something about a nutty Creationist who was here a year or so ago? If you hear of anything - I am more than happy to come along and help you 'question' the speakers!

(I actually looked at the CLAN thing, but they charged about £17 per day to go along and I draw the line at that!!) :)

Titanium Wheels
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#7 Post by Titanium Wheels » July 24th, 2007, 8:46 pm

hi! yes, time is always against us isn't it. |isn't there a student organization for something like Humanism? I would have thought there would be. I'll
check up.

As for speakers here, we had Plantinga trying to porve the existence of god as couple of years ago. Not knowing much philosophy and logic I didn't spot his weak poibnt but could now. They may be some more interesting ones to come.

As for Clan, £17 a day to encourage people to learn more about their faith? That sounds like profiteering to me!
Wheelchair-Rollin' Househusband

AntonyR
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#8 Post by AntonyR » July 25th, 2007, 2:09 pm

All - I have been working on a project for the last month or so to do exactly what this thread is asking - to promote Humanism. The details can be found in the link below. The leaflet is still a work in progress but is getting closer to a final version and this is being managed through the 60 or so UK Humanist groups and has the backing of the BHA.

http://humanism-timeforchange.blogspot.com

Kind regards

Richard

Diane
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#9 Post by Diane » July 25th, 2007, 2:59 pm

Congratulations on this very positie initiative, Richard. Having had a quick look at the previous versions, I'd say the latest one is just right. I like the 'non-religious approach to life' subheading and very much disagree with the comment saying
How about using the theme - Humanism's dangerous ideas. So dangerous the BBC hides them. So dangerous the church burns people holding them.
Promotional material doesn't have to be exciting or 'sexy' to have an impact - it just needs to resonate and sometimes making the message simple, clear and precise is enough.

I do hope you will find time to participate in other threads on this jolly forum.

AntonyR
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#10 Post by AntonyR » July 25th, 2007, 3:23 pm

Diane - thanks. I have just now updated the leaflet based on previous comments received to version 0.5 (it is generally getting updated once every couple of weeks). Unfortunately I have changed the subheading on the front that you liked, as I am trying to consolidate many different comments. It can easily be put back again if the majority prefer it. :)

Richard

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Alan C.
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#11 Post by Alan C. » July 25th, 2007, 4:37 pm

I've just been browsing "Humanism" on google, and came across this.
Humanism is death disguised as life. When you are a humanist, you think only of humans. You see the world as existing only for human consumption. It is more important to save every life than to produce better beings, in your view. You think any death is a tragedy.
I can't believe anybody could be so misinformed.

I think Richard's leaflets need to go out sooner rather than later.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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whitecraw
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#12 Post by whitecraw » July 25th, 2007, 9:22 pm

Hi Alan

I wouldn't worry about it. 'Humanism' covers a multitude of sins. The author of the piece you quote is probably talking about humanism as a form of speciesism. There also seems to be an element of transhumanism, in that s/he thinks our overriding concern with preserving human life puts the brake on the evolution of some higher life-form.

On promoting humanism, here's something I found way back. It's not what I'd call 'humanism', but each to his own.
"My country is the world and my religion is to do good."
—Thomas Paine

"There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet . . . . What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Humanism Defined
Humanism is a down-to-earth philosophical movement that represents a turn toward the satisfaction of human needs, both material and spiritual, and the fulfillment of human potential, here and now. Humanism therefore lacks much interest in the supernatural and theological, or in an afterlife.

This doesn't mean that Humanists are necessarily atheists. Though it may come as a shock to some, there are now, and have long been, many religious Humanists. (Christians and Humanists alike would do well to keep in mind that there was a time when Christian thinkers like St. Thomas Aquinas consciously incorporated the humanism of Aristotle into Christianity, and that eminent Humanist thinkers like Erasmus were Christians.) Religious and secular humanists hold in common the belief that nothing should be accepted on faith. Rather, there must always be good evidence for beliefs, religious or otherwise. This is the most fundamental tenet of rationalism. But nothing specific to Humanism precludes belief in God. Indeed, the controversy over the existence of God is far less relevant to values than ordinarily supposed.

The Core Beliefs of Humanism
Humanism has two core beliefs, with two important implications. The core beliefs are:

• People should learn to think for themselves, not just blindly accept what they are told by figures of authority. This is because authority figures too often have an agenda of their own, frequently the enhancement of their own wealth or power. And even when this is not the case, authorities are themselves often uninformed or confused.
• Values are based in the human person. In order to know whether a given course of conduct is meaningful or right, we can ask ourselves whether it promotes the maintenance or development of the normal capabilities of human beings, such as thinking, feeling, and physical health.

The two important implications are:

• People should try hard to get the facts before forming opinions or committing to values.
• People should base their values primarily upon the sacredness of life.

The idea that all people are much the same everywhere, and are equally entitled to justice and opportunity regardless of race or gender, owes much to Humanism.

The Origins of Humanism
Humanism originated in the West with the Greek philosopher Socrates, and in the East with the Chinese philosopher Kung Fu Tzu (Confucius) about 2,500 years ago. Socrates felt that in order to develop sound values people should learn how to think for themselves. Kung Fu Tzu believed that "A society ought to work for the benefit of all its members rather than be used merely as a pretext for the excesses of its rulers," and that "virtue means to love one another."

Humanism and Science
While sympathetic to the sciences, and indeed very supportive of them, many contemporary Humanists nevertheless reject the leveling reductionistic materialism that some of those in the scientific community advocate. This is because they believe instead in emergentism, the view that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts in the natural world generally, and especially in the case of the human mind. Indeed, we would go so far as to say that anyone who takes exception to emergentism is no genuine Humanist at all.

Summary: The Essence of Humanism
In summary, then: Humanism is an anti-authoritarian philosophy, that emphasises the importance of reason and the indispensability of both evidence and compassion for others in the formation of values. Contemporary humanistic morality judges acts primarily on the basis of their affect upon other human beings. Humanists believe that the purposes of life are found in the meeting of human needs —intellectual, emotional, and spiritual—and in the fulfillment of human capabilities, mental and physical.

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#13 Post by Maria Mac » July 26th, 2007, 11:36 am

Diane wrote:Congratulations on this very positie initiative, Richard. Having had a quick look at the previous versions, I'd say the latest one is just right. I like the 'non-religious approach to life' subheading and very much
I liked the subheading but think the new one - a positive alternative for the non-religious - is probably better.

I'm less enthused about the 'help others because you want to - not to achieve salvation' as it seems unnecessarily provocative.

AntonyR
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#14 Post by AntonyR » July 26th, 2007, 1:53 pm

Maria wrote:I'm less enthused about the 'help others because you want to - not to achieve salvation' as it seems unnecessarily provocative.
Maria - I agree - I do not like it either. I have been struggling to try and find a balanced humanist message on two sides of A5 and I put this in on the hope that the message is right but not how it is written.....this will definitely be changed.

I was hoping it would prompt people to offer alternatives that would be 200% better.

Richard

Rogerrp
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#15 Post by Rogerrp » July 31st, 2007, 3:02 pm

Beki wrote:Wheels - I would love to do something more 'active' and have toyed with the idea of setting up some kind of Humanist group here at the Uni to act as a balance to the number of 'faith' groups that there are. However between work, study and feeding my boy aka - "the bottomless pit", I don't know that I could commit to something as major as that.

There are quite a few speakers and things on in St. Andrews though - I distinctly remember someone saying something about a nutty Creationist who was here a year or so ago? If you hear of anything - I am more than happy to come along and help you 'question' the speakers!

(I actually looked at the CLAN thing, but they charged about £17 per day to go along and I draw the line at that!!) :)
Beki, Titanium,

Hi. My name is Roger Redondo and I am the president of the student Humanist Society at the University of Edinburgh. Check our site at http://humanist.eusa.ed.ac.uk.
We just started and we welcome constructive feedback. We meet every Wednesday and Thursday, even during the summer. If any of you is around the capital, please pay us a visit.
Beki, let me know if we can help you or support a Humanist group in St Andrews Uni in any way.

Hope to hear from anybody interested in student activist Humanism.

Cheers,

Roger
Student Humanist Society at the University of Edinburgh: http://humanist.eusa.ed.ac.uk

Compassionist
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I want to help

#16 Post by Compassionist » August 2nd, 2007, 5:13 pm

:)

AntonyR
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#17 Post by AntonyR » August 3rd, 2007, 9:30 am

Compassionist, thanks very much for your support. At this time I am still finalising numbers of volunteers to distribute leaflets, and then this will be being presented to the BHA in November, with leaflets being printed following that. The cost savings come from economies of scale, by getting a large number of leaflets printed.

I am collecting numbers of volunteers from each group and a contact point. I will PM you with my email address to you can provide me with your name/email so I can contact you directly as we progress.

Thanks again for your support.

Richard

Fred
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#18 Post by Fred » August 3rd, 2007, 9:42 am

I've just received my membership pack and was pleased to see a bookmark in there. I'm frequently lending and borrowing books and was thinking of using http://www.bookcrossing.com.

I've asked for more bookmarks to place in books i lend out and return.

It's a start
Fred

Maria Mac
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Re: I want to help

#19 Post by Maria Mac » August 3rd, 2007, 10:10 am

Compassionist wrote: Richard, I would like to distribute some leaflets in Dundee, Scotland. I will also try to get other members of the Dundee branch of the HSS to do the same. How do I get the leaflets?
The problem with distributing it in Scotland is that it doesn't mention the HSS. I think this will be an objection raised by the Dundee Group.

Compassionist
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Is it possible to modify the leaflet?

#20 Post by Compassionist » August 3rd, 2007, 11:28 am

Good point Maria. Is it possible to modify the leaflet so the HSS can be added to it? Thanks.

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