London group develops humanism to include the religious

Hands holding the number '2000'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.

Natural Allies
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.

Gaining Perspective
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.”

You can see them on the Meet Up website or read their blog


2 responses to “London group develops humanism to include the religious

  1. This sounds like a worthy goal. But will they work/communicate with existing humanist organizations (such as the BHA) whose values are probably not so naive and “traditional”-humanist as a superficial observer might expect.

    I.e., how many humanists are really stuck in the mindsets which the 21st Century Project claims to be reforming?

  2. Hi Bob, I made it to this group’s 2nd meeting, and will email Francis to ask him to reply.
    I suspect the plan is very much to work with the likes of BHA (who I admire and am a member of, plus of several local groups affiliated to it).
    I’d like to see the humanism movement become more active: I can appreciate the puritanical strain that wants to remain focussed on traditional ground, and I also worry about humanism losing its way – which some people (not including myself) think has happened to the Green movement. However, for me, the fact that there is so much work to be done, and so much untapped potential to apply to it, that the 21st Century thing and the O Project thing are very appealing.
    I’ll mail Francis now.

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