You are hereWho do we think we are? Tuesday 6th June, 7 for 7.30pm

Who do we think we are? Tuesday 6th June, 7 for 7.30pm


By Ian - Posted on 20 January 2017

It is a while since we discussed exactly what we mean by ‘humanism’. Across the English-speaking world, the values which were established in the wake of WW2 as the international norm, through the UN Declaration of Human Rights – secularism, internationalism, the universality of rights, equality before the law, freedom of thought and speech – which were largely the work of British lawyers and academics, are under attack. On the US side, the commercial and technological hegemony established over the last 70 years is being deliberately dismantled by the Trump administration as trade isolationism, cancelled aid, science and environmental budgets, and retrogressive energy policies, hand world leadership on a plate to, particularly, China; in the UK, the same trends are taking us out of Europe and into an ill-defined wilderness. In addition we have an administration that through such devices as grammar and faith schools is more concerned to divide society than to unite it.
Angela Merkel’s recent reminder to her European partners that, having been abandoned by the English-speaking world, ‘We are on our own now,’ referred to more than just defence, trade, technology etc. She seems to be positioning continental Europe as the new standard bearer for liberal enlightenment values – in short, Humanism.
This then seems a good moment to review who we think we are and where our allegiances lie. Even our label is under threat of misappropriation, as Catholic and Anglican clerics, from the very top down, repeatedly assert that ‘the Church is the foundation and defender of humanist values.’
A broadcast in Radio 4’s Beyond Belief series discusses the place of humanism in education, in a discussion between philosopher Stephen Law, whom many will remember from our White Horse days; Marilyn Mason, a former BHA education officer; and Rev Nick Spencer, an Anglican claimant of the Humanist tag.
This will be our starting point!
We hope too to find time to discuss the BHA’s recent relaunch of itself under the title ‘Humanists UK’, and the replacement of the existing ‘Happy Human’ logo with a more freehand motif. What do we need to do to stay in the swim? If you’re out of it already, see the new look at https://humanism.org.uk/
As ever, 7.00 for 7.30 at the Club.

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