Barking Breakthrough!

East London Humanists have taken another step forward with a regular column in the Barking and Dagenham Post. Our first piece published  October ’17 asks why Humanism isn’t taught in every school in the Borough:

September witnessed a historic turning point. For the first time over half those questioned for the British Social Attitudes survey said they have no religious belief. So surely the time has come for Humanism to be on every school curriculum?

This is not about teaching a set of dogmas. Humanism simply articulates the views of the ethical non-religious. In fact many are Humanists without realising it or feeling any need to label themselves. Children who have decided they don’t believe in God should not be excluded or made to feel odd when it comes to assemblies and RE lessons. It is important all children learn it is possible to lead a good and fulfilling life without faith. It helps to counter other insidious non-religious outlooks, such as obsession with celebrity, money and designer labels, or apathy. And it teaches the importance of making the most of the one life we have, together with providing a moral compass based on reason and compassion.

Last but not least Humanism, with its emphasis on reason and evidence, helps to develop ‘critical thinking.’  This more than ever is an essential life skill, especially given how much dubious material can be accessed at the click of a mouse.

Many people have only the vaguest idea of what Humanism is about, apart from possibly experiencing a Humanist funeral. With the number of non-religious ever increasing it deserves to be better understood.

Paul Kaufman
Chair East London Humanists

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