Category Archives: Humanism

God vs. Superman

I came across this passage today from my interview with one of my humanist, atheist and agnostic oral-history respondents, Julia Stuart from Dundee:

“What I wonder about now is how children, really me, how can you believe this indoctrination god thing, and yet at the same time, one of uncles was a great Marvel Comics fan, and I loved all that. The Superman, the heroes, loved it all. But how do we decide that the god thing is ‘real’, but we know that Superman ain’t? So I wondered how you decided that as a child – why you kept on believing in the dogma but you knew that Superman was play?”

I found this very striking – on two levels.

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Why do Humanists join Humanist organisations?

What attracts people to become members of humanist organisations? I have interviewed 80 humanists and atheists in Scotland, England, France, Estonia, Canada and the United States. Not all I interviewed were members of humanist organisations; some were members of atheist and secularist organisations only, not an organisation with ‘humanist’ in the title, and a small number (four) were past members of humanist organisations. Even then, a proportion of those people still responded positively to the term ‘humanist’.

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Can you believe it? Prof Jane Mair on The state of legal definition of religion and belief.

Glasgow Humanist Studies Hub

Research Seminars 2014-15

These research seminars bring together prominent academics in a variety of disciplines and stakeholders from the humanist, secularist, church and religious studies sectors, and from central and local government, public agencies and others. They focus on practical, conceptual, legal or theoretical issues facing the development of modern societies in regard to the changing nature of life stances, religion and secular society. The Seminars are open to all free of charge.

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Problems for the non-believer? Defining religion and non-religion

Various legal definitions of belief have emerged recently from parliaments and at least one law court in the UK. Each causes problems, especially for many of those with no religious belief. These definitions have been undertaken in good faith (a surprise use of the term, perhaps). The wish is to extend and better protect the legal rights and openings of those who hold religious and non-religious positions. This is completely commendable as an aim. But, problems may lurk beneath.

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Selling Humanism

I have recently joined a small group developing teaching materials on Humanism for Religious and Moral Education (RME) teachers in Scottish schools. I had my first meeting with the group of fellow Humanists from the Humanist Society of Scotland (HSS) last Sunday as we discussed how to go about this. An immediate sensation is that we are, of course, re-inventing a wheel that has been developed over many decades by Humanist around the world. But perhaps we have something distinctive to “sell”.

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Is being “spiritual” to be “non secular”?

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Yoga at English Bay, Vancouver, 2009

A recent judgement (December 2013) [http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2013_0030_Judgment.pdf] by the British Supreme Court raises an interesting point about the epistemology of the secular. Whilst the judgement of their Lordships was undoubtedly right, since it ended one form of religious discrimination, the terms of their ruling exposed a shortfall in understanding contemporary no religionism.

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Pat Duffy Hutcheon: A Humanist Life

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Pat Duffy Hutcheon was born in 1926 in rural Alberta. She became a sociologist of education, writing a major textbook in the field, and in her later years emerged as a well-known Humanist author, including The Road to Reason: Landmarks in the History of Humanist Thought (2001) and Leaving the Cave: Evolutionary Naturalism in the Sociol Scientific Thought (1996). She published an autobiography, The Lonely Trail: The Life Journey of a Freethinker (2009). She was named Humanist of the Year 2000 by the Humanist Association of Canada. She died on 4 February 2010 three months after this interview.  patduffyhutcheon.com

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