Category Archives: Humanist

Silent, moderate majority – both religious and secular – must be silent no more

Tony BayfieldRabbi Tony Bayfield head of the Movement for Reform Judaism has written in a letter of support for charity Tolerance International UK that “the only salvation [from religious extemism] is for the silent majority, both religious and secular, to cease to be silent and for the moderates to demonstrate that moderation is not the same as acquiescence. ” Continue reading

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Humanism in Ghana

GhanaLeo Igwe was speaking at a Workshop on Humanism at the University of Cape Coast to explore the opportunities for the International Humanist Ethical Union to work with activists and universities in Ghana.

He began by referring to Ghana’s humanist heritage  – Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah was a humanist:

And he exemplified his humanism in his dogged fight against colonialism and imperialism, particularly in leading Ghana to become the first Sub Saharan African nation to gain independence in 1957.

Listen to what he has to say about humanism in Africa . “The African personality is itself defined by a cluster of humanist principles which underlie the traditional African society.”

Nkrumah said it loud and clear that “Fear created the gods, and fear preserves them, fear in bygone ages of wars, pestilence, earthquakes and nature gone berserk, fear of acts of God. Fear today of the equally blind forces of backwardness and rapacious capital . Continue reading

Creationism in the UK – do you want the good news or the bad news?

The good news as reported by Ekklesia is that in England “after a number of requests from teaching unions and civic bodies, including the Christian think-tank Ekklesia and the British Humanist Association, the UK Department of Children, Schools, and Families has issued guidance for teachers uncertain whether and how to discuss creationism – which is rejected by both scientists and theologians as lacking factual and theoretical value.

A statement on Teachernet, a government website, states that “Creationism and intelligent design are not part of the National Curriculum for science” and describes “intelligent design” as “a creationist belief” that “is sometimes erroneously advanced as scientific theory but has no underpinning scientific principles or explanations supporting it and it is not accepted by the international scientific community.”

Not only is it good news that creationism is being clearly put in its place but it is also a demonstation of how religious and non-religious bodies can work together on common causes. Archbishop of canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has also described creationism as “a category mistake” in religious thought.

The bad news is that in Northern Ireland the Department of Education has said the teaching of alternative theories was a matter for schools. Continue reading

Hold on, aren’t atheists suposed to be the ones everyone thinks aren’t good people?

Karen ArmstrongIn the Islamica interview with Karen Armstrong I mentioned yesterday, it is also put to her that “Too often it seems that religious people are not necessarily more compassionate, more tolerant, more peaceful or more spiritual than others. America, for example, is a very religious country, and at the same time it is the most unequal socially and economically. What does this say about the purpose of religion?”

She replies:

“The world religions all insist that the one, single test of any type of religiosity is that it must issue in practical compassion. They have nearly all developed a version of the Golden Rule: “Do not do to others what you would not have done to you.” Continue reading

Planet humanism

PlanetThe O Project is now pleased to be part of blog aggregator Planet Humanism. Planet Humanism is for blogs that have a generic humanist focus or element, regardless if they are atheistic or not.

If you’re interested in adding your blog to Planet Humanism, and if it has some kind of humanist element, you can email planethumanism@nullifidian.net.

Different beliefs are united but unheard in calling for fair and equal education

Simon BarrowEkklesia’s Simon Barrow writes in Comment is Free that Gordon Brown was right to use biblical language at the Labour Part conference against those employing religious rhetoric to oppose diversity and equality in family policy.

He goes on to argue thast “a similar pluralist case now needs to be made in relation to faith schools – where the government’s desire to ease its finance problems and promote social cohesion is misguidedly colluding with the wishes of some leaders of faith communities (not least the Anglican and Catholic churches) who are looking for a new role and new credibility in their battle against long-term decline and public indifference.

At the moment, the case against the selection, segregation, employment restrictions and discrimination wrapped up within the pro-faith schools agenda is being heard as an essentially “anti-religious” one. The exclusive tenor of some secular groups is not helping with this, given the sensitivities involved. Continue reading

Atheism services on the rise at US colleges

Divya Bahl reports for the Daily Free Press that at Harvard University and Tufts University, student clubs in the Secular Student Alliance, hold services for atheists.

Although Boston University has no alliance and its atheists do not congregate Boston Atheists Director Zach Bos says atheist congregations can use the same methods churches do to draw nonbelievers together: “[Use] the aesthetic pleasure of song, the humane hunger to address questions of ultimate meaning and just remove from it all those things that religion comprises for the sake of its own perpetuation,” he said.

Greg EpsteinThe services offered at Harvard range from weekly services, such as a the Humanist Passover Seder, to community-service congregations. “Some of our events lately have been sold out while others have been a smaller group of 15 to 20 people,” Humanist Chaplian Greg Epstein (pictured) said. “Some students might perceive it closely to a religious service and do not want to be a part of it. My main goal is to make this world which will never be perfect a better place.”