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The failure of the BHA.

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Paul Smith
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The failure of the BHA.

#1 Postby Paul Smith » January 19th, 2017, 9:58 pm

I've been a member of the BHA since I was in my 20s and will always be a committed humanist. However, I think that the BHA has failed its purpose.

The BHA is there to promote a humanist way of life, based on tolerance. Instead it spends its time attacking religious influence. So even though 52% of the population are non-religious, the BHA has only a few thousand members instead of perhaps the million that it should have.

Suppose people joined the Church of England, and all they heard was the clergy ranting on about how bad the Muslims are, or the Hindus or Jews. They would soon leave. But that is what we do. Humanist campaigns are nearly all about reducing religious influence. This is the job of the National Secular Society, not the BHA. The BHA should be simply saying to people that we have only one life, so we should try to enjoy it. We can achieve this much more easily if we get on with everyone and respect all people, (and that includes those who find that believing in their different gods makes them happier). The BHA should be promoting this philosophy, that a humanist way of life is the best there is, because it is - there is no afterlife, so we must concentrate on making this only life we have as pleasant as possible for ourselves and everyone else. As I mentioned, the majority of the population agree with this, and especially the young, but they take no interest at all in joining the BHA because it is an unpleasant anti-religious organisation.

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Alan H
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#2 Postby Alan H » January 19th, 2017, 10:13 pm

Hi Paul and :welcome:

Thank you for your rant.

If you want to enjoy life, join the Ramblers, go to your local, join Thrillseekers Anonymous or whatever floats your boat. If you want to ensure the voices of Humanists are heard above the cacophony of the religious and not drowned out, particularly when and where they want to take over the political and public spheres, join the BHA.

BTW, the BHA already do what you think they should be doing.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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jaywhat
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#3 Postby jaywhat » January 20th, 2017, 6:49 am

Yes Alan, I agree. and welcome to Paul.

Paul Smith
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#4 Postby Paul Smith » January 20th, 2017, 5:28 pm

I remember going to a BHA session in London several years ago, and noticed that all the BHA campaigns were exactly the same as those of the NSS. The few people I knew who were trustees of the BHA were also members of the NSS. Then I realised why the BHA was such an anti-religion organisation. It's run by the wolves of the NSS, not the sheep of the BHA.

Humanism is a way of life based on tolerance. Over half the population think in such humanist terms.

Humanism has nothing to do with opposing religion or religious privilege, which is the euphemism used to make opposing religion more palatable.

But that's what the BHA does, which is why millions of people treat it with disdain and don't bother with it.

An incredible failure of judgement and management.

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Alan H
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#5 Postby Alan H » January 20th, 2017, 6:12 pm

Paul Smith wrote:I remember going to a BHA session in London several years ago, and noticed that all the BHA campaigns were exactly the same as those of the NSS. The few people I knew who were trustees of the BHA were also members of the NSS. Then I realised why the BHA was such an anti-religion organisation. It's run by the wolves of the NSS, not the sheep of the BHA.
Rather than your fading memories of the impression you got at a BHA 'session' (whatever that was) several years ago, can you list the current BHA campaigns and their NSS equivalents?

Humanism is a way of life based on tolerance. Over half the population think in such humanist terms.
That could well be the case.

Humanism has nothing to do with opposing religion or religious privilege, which is the euphemism used to make opposing religion more palatable.
As I tried to explain, Humanists need a voice if they are to let others know about Humanism: how can they do that with the shrill religious ones? Anyway, what religious privileges do the BHA oppose, precisely?

But that's what the BHA does, which is why millions of people treat it with disdain and don't bother with it.
Millions treat the BHA with disdain? Do millions know of the BHA and about the BHA sufficiently for this disdain? They are a small organisation with limited funds (unlike many religions), but I would like to see some good evidence for your claim.

An incredible failure of judgement and management.
If you are so passionate about it, have you thought of trying to change their focus? Or are you content to just come here - a place that has nothing to do with the BHA - and rant about what you see as its failings?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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coffee
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#6 Postby coffee » January 20th, 2017, 7:57 pm

Hi Paul,

Now that I have researched my own philosophy (below), I don't need the BHA failures in my life anymore

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4428&start=280

Stark
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#7 Postby Stark » January 21st, 2017, 9:38 am

I’m pretty sure the BHA do a lot of work promoting Humanism. They’re supporting celebrants and those providing pastoral care, getting knowledge of Humanism into schools by training speakers and providing resources (vast amounts of work are going into the Understanding Humanism web site). They’re now also going to work with Faith to Faithless supporting those who want to leave religion and adopt a Humanist lifestyle. But the rights of the non-religious do need sticking up for, and the BHA seem far more effective at this than the NSS.

Paul Smith
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#8 Postby Paul Smith » January 21st, 2017, 5:30 pm

Here are the BHA campaigns

https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/

They should all be junked.

There should be only one campaign - explaining to people why humanism is the best life stance of all.

I do this when I give talks to schools. I explain that we only live once. This means that we want our lives to be as enjoyable and successful as possible, because we don't get a second chance. It means getting the skills that the schools have to offer, living healthily, being tolerant to people whose views are very different from your own, the vital importance of good parenting (which is not taught in schools) because our children are our real afterlife - we live on through them. This is also what the teachers want us to say, and is why you get asked back again.

I do not talk about why religion is nonsense, which it is, but doing so just offends, or why we should get rid of the bishops in the House of Lords, or why faith schools should be abolished, or why religious education should not be taught in schools. This is not what the teachers want to hear, and is why you don't get asked back again.

It's a numbers game. We are tiny because we 'sell' the wrong product. People don't want to 'buy' anti-religious stuff, so our influence with the Government is much diminished. The religions don't trash each other. They know it's counter-productive. But so many of the BHA campaigns are about reducing religious influence, and the British public do not want to be part of it.

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Alan H
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#9 Postby Alan H » January 21st, 2017, 6:35 pm

Paul Smith wrote:Here are the BHA campaigns

https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/

They should all be junked.

There should be only one campaign - explaining to people why humanism is the best life stance of all.

I do this when I give talks to schools. I explain that we only live once. This means that we want our lives to be as enjoyable and successful as possible, because we don't get a second chance. It means getting the skills that the schools have to offer, living healthily, being tolerant to people whose views are very different from your own, the vital importance of good parenting (which is not taught in schools) because our children are our real afterlife - we live on through them. This is also what the teachers want us to say, and is why you get asked back again.

I do not talk about why religion is nonsense, which it is, but doing so just offends, or why we should get rid of the bishops in the House of Lords, or why faith schools should be abolished, or why religious education should not be taught in schools. This is not what the teachers want to hear, and is why you don't get asked back again.

It's a numbers game. We are tiny because we 'sell' the wrong product. People don't want to 'buy' anti-religious stuff, so our influence with the Government is much diminished. The religions don't trash each other. They know it's counter-productive. But so many of the BHA campaigns are about reducing religious influence, and the British public do not want to be part of it.
Can you answer the questions I asked about the claims you made?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Nick
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#10 Postby Nick » January 21st, 2017, 11:59 pm

Paul Smith wrote:I've been a member of the BHA since I was in my 20s and will always be a committed humanist. However, I think that the BHA has failed its purpose.
Hi, Paul, and welcome to the forum! :D You say you have been a humanist snce your 20's. Might I ask how old you are now....?

The BHA is there to promote a humanist way of life, based on tolerance. Instead it spends its time attacking religious influence. So even though 52% of the population are non-religious, the BHA has only a few thousand members instead of perhaps the million that it should have.


Hmmm... Interesting perspective, but that's not how it appears to me. If we lived in an overwhelmingly humanist society, would I belong to an association like the BHA? Proably not- why would I? I don't need to join with other people for me to lead a humanist life (as I see humanism, anyway) It is only because there are many other people who are promoting falsehood, and worse, that I believe I should support an association resisting such pressures.

That fo me is the key issue. Take assisted suicide, for example. There are arguments for and against, but for me, to believe that I am following the instruction of some sort of divine being, for whose existence there is no evidence, let alone any divine guideline, is loopy, and sometimes dangerous. The same god calls different people to do exactly opposite things. Crazy. That is why, as a humanist, I feel the need to speak out.

Suppose people joined the Church of England, and all they heard was the clergy ranting on about how bad the Muslims are, or the Hindus or Jews. They would soon leave.
Hmmm... again, not really. The Nazis ranted against Jews, but were very popular. Trump rants against Mexicans, and has just been elected POTUS.
But that is what we do. Humanist campaigns are nearly all about reducing religious influence
.We also promote humanist hatch, match and despatch ceremonies, as well as science and reason.
This is the job of the National Secular Society, not the BHA.
Certainly there is an overlap, but for me, a secular state is not enough. I feel the need to challenge the falsehood of religion too, even where it is not part of the state, but with a positive alternative, which ISTM, the NSS lacks.

The BHA should be simply saying to people that we have only one life, so we should try to enjoy it.
If that's how you want to present humanism, that' fine with me.

We can achieve this much more easily if we get on with everyone and respect all people, (and that includes those who find that believing in their different gods makes them happier).
Hmmm... We must be tolerant, but I cannot respect nonsense, even when politeness or friendship my curb my reaction.

The BHA should be promoting this philosophy, that a humanist way of life is the best there is, because it is - there is no afterlife, so we must concentrate on making this only life we have as pleasant as possible for ourselves and everyone else. As I mentioned, the majority of the population agree with this, and especially the young, but they take no interest at all in joining the BHA because it is an unpleasant anti-religious organisation.


Most people have better things to do than to join the BHA, lke drink beer, play football and watch Coronation Street. Most, even if they are humanist, are quite content just to live their lives in their own quiet way. That doesn't mean there is necessarily anything wrong with the BHA. Look at politics, as a parallel. Membership of parties is only a few hundred thousand, but voters vote in their millions. And what is the epoint of the BHA? To boost the humnist perspective in society, not to amass a large membership.

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Nick
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#11 Postby Nick » January 22nd, 2017, 12:13 am

Paul Smith wrote:
It's a numbers game. We are tiny because we 'sell' the wrong product. People don't want to 'buy' anti-religious stuff, so our influence with the Government is much diminished. The religions don't trash each other. They know it's counter-productive. But so many of the BHA campaigns are about reducing religious influence, and the British public do not want to be part of it.


We, as humanists, rather than as the BHA, are doing rather well, actually. The numbers professing a religious faith in the UK is collapsing. And humanist ideas are becoming more nd more mainstream.

The reason that religions don't trash each other (well, some do, but I undertand your point...) is because they all rely on "faith", rather than reason. ISTM that they know they cannot win using reason, because there is none, but if they all unite on the idea that faith is enough, they by banding together, each is safer than otherwise. We, s humanists have no need to defnd "faith". When we come to something we don't know, we say so, not invent answers.

The British public have other priorities than reducing religious influence, but more and more, it is happening. Example? From Clause 28 to gay marriage. Pretty good. Keep it up, BHA.

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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#12 Postby Paul Smith » January 22nd, 2017, 6:44 pm

The failure of the BHA can be seen when you hear on television: " We welcome Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and people of no faith."

People of no faith.... Not Humanists.

This is because people in the street don't know what humanism is. (Just ask them.) And that's because the BHA don't understand marketing. Marketing is explaining in simple terms why you need something. But the sad dimwits in the BHA explain humanism like this: "Humanism is for people who seek to live ethical lives on the basis of reason and humanity. Now go into your town centre next Saturday and ask people what that means. Unless they have a degree in philosophy, they won't have a clue. Now look at the literature given out by the Jehovah's Witnesses. It's written to be understood by people who have a reading age of 11, just like the Daily Mirror and the Sun. The Jehovah's Witnesses know it's a numbers game. The incredibly intellectual philosophers who write stuff for the BHA are so thick, they've never heard of marketing. So people like us are described in negative terms (people of NO faith), and not in positive ones, as Humanists.

Paul Smith
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#13 Postby Paul Smith » January 22nd, 2017, 7:08 pm

The answer is simple. We change what we call ourselves.

We start to call ourselves 'One Life Humanists'.

Because 11 year olds will understand that straight away.

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Alan H
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#14 Postby Alan H » January 22nd, 2017, 7:20 pm

Paul Smith wrote:The failure of the BHA can be seen when you hear on television: " We welcome Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and people of no faith."

People of no faith.... Not Humanists.
Not sure where on earth you heard that, but why do you think those words are used?

This is because people in the street don't know what humanism is. (Just ask them.) And that's because the BHA don't understand marketing. Marketing is explaining in simple terms why you need something. But the sad dimwits in the BHA explain humanism like this: "Humanism is for people who seek to live ethical lives on the basis of reason and humanity. Now go into your town centre next Saturday and ask people what that means. Unless they have a degree in philosophy, they won't have a clue. Now look at the literature given out by the Jehovah's Witnesses. It's written to be understood by people who have a reading age of 11, just like the Daily Mirror and the Sun. The Jehovah's Witnesses know it's a numbers game. The incredibly intellectual philosophers who write stuff for the BHA are so thick, they've never heard of marketing. So people like us are described in negative terms (people of NO faith), and not in positive ones, as Humanists.
Perhaps we might be able to understand where you're coming from if you could answer the questions I asked you previously, but which you have not yet answered? And again, why are you ranting here? We don't mind rants, but it might be interesting to know your reasoning for doing it here.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Stark
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#15 Postby Stark » January 22nd, 2017, 7:24 pm

Probably worth adding that 'people of no faith' aren't all Humanists, so the former is a more inclusive term that covers all varieties of people who don't subscribe to organised religion

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Alan H
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#16 Postby Alan H » January 22nd, 2017, 7:40 pm

Stark wrote:Probably worth adding that 'people of no faith' aren't all Humanists, so the former is a more inclusive term that covers all varieties of people who don't subscribe to organised religion
Indeed.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Nick
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#17 Postby Nick » January 23rd, 2017, 12:24 am

Paul Smith wrote:The failure of the BHA can be seen when you hear on television: " We welcome Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and people of no faith."

People of no faith.... Not Humanists.


Yu think that's a failure, Paul? If I hear any such guff as that on telly, I either turn it off, or know I will very soon be yelling at the set. Any such introduction is just a sop to the gullible, an acceptence of the brain-washing of children and a preference for a warm fuzzy feeling rather than any reference to reality.

I regard it as a failure to welcome people with reference to thir choice of fairy tale!

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coffee
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#18 Postby coffee » January 23rd, 2017, 5:41 am

I can't be bother with the BHA anymore, I am not going to renew my membership

Paul Smith
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#19 Postby Paul Smith » January 23rd, 2017, 7:08 pm

I pay my membership, but only because of the services the BHA offers for births, marriages and funerals.

It's significant that if you type BHA into Google, the British Horseracing Authority comes first. A staggering 52% of the population are non-religious, yet the horse BHA, which is of interest to less than 1%, gets more views than us.

The BHA should hang its head in shame - or rather the trustees. It amounts to a massive business failure. People join an organisation if they get a benefit from it. Who wants to join an organisation which says, "We will really improve your life by getting rid of the bishops in the House of Lords! We will really improve your life by reducing the privileges of the clergy! We will really improve your life by stopping creationism being taught in the very few schools that teach it! No wonder more people look up the horse BHA.

The BHA needs to junk all its present campaigns, leave them to the NSS who do a better job of them, and have a complete change of strategy to show people that humanism, which is a way of life, is the best way of life there is.

Stark
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Re: The failure of the BHA.

#20 Postby Stark » January 23rd, 2017, 7:31 pm

The British Horse-racing Authority comes up first? It's almost as if the rankings reflect where the money is. :D I appreciate how frustrated you are Paul, but for many, those reasons you give are precisely why they pay their membership of the BHA. Having heard several of its staff speaking (and I'm hearing Andrew Copson again tomorrow) they are enormously effective voices against religious privilege and in promotion of Humanism (the latter being the subject of tomorrow's talk)


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