The 21st Century Network is a London-based group “for those who believe that we need to develop a new form of humanism that includes people of all religions and none but who embrace humanistic values as the basis of their actions. These are values of global compassion, personal self-discovery, shared development, planetary concern and a love of community.”
The group was established by Francis Sealey who has been involved with politics and local communities since his teens and his formative years. He says “there is a desperate need to redefine humanism in the 21st century. Humanism grew up out of the 18th Century Enlightenment and pitted secularism against religion. The secular and humanist world was considered rational and the religious one both superstitious and irrational. However today both the secularist and the religious person can be irrational in the blind faith they hold. The religious fundamentalist wants to impose a blind faith on all and the fundamental secularist imposes an economic global doctrine or asserts the primacy of science in all things.
As time has moved on many people of faith have taken on a rational and humanistic perspective and applied this to the world whilst keeping their faith private. And many secularists have realised that these people of faith are their natural allies in the battle against fundamentalists whether religious or secular. It is this realignment of humanist forces that is needed in the 21st century world.
Also many traditional humanists, like their religious opponents, assert that somehow humans are superior to all other forms of life and matter in our universe and in doing so, they have thus taken on an arrogance that is slowly destroying our planet. Somehow humanism also needs to be redefined so that it places humanity somehow in harmony with the cosmos we live in rather than separating it as something distinct. It is this humility of humanism that needs to be asserted rather than its dominance.”