Hope springs eternal

A humanist perspective on the virus crisis. Humanism = Atheism +. Opinion piece Barking & Dagenham Post 25.3.20 & Spiritual Life column Ilford Recorder 26.3.20.

Hope is hugely important for everyone at this difficult time.

Many will find hope in their religious faith. Not humanists. For us belief in a kind omniscient creator makes no sense. Coronavirus is simply a natural disaster. Like earthquakes the random victims include good men, women and children. But our outlook on life is positive.

The virus highlights our common humanity. We feel for all those terrified, suffering and bereaved worldwide. Not that we are ‘all in this together.’ As usual the better-off have better options. Remember those who rely on foodbanks or are trapped in refugee camps or shantytowns. We all benefit from the toil of those such as cleaners, NHS and shop staff.

Greedy stockpiling shows the worst side of human nature. The best side includes compassion, reason and cooperation, qualities which have enabled our physically weak species to thrive. Just like viruses, with their ability to mutate and adapt, we are the product of evolution.

Human ingenuity and science are solely responsible for success in tackling disease. The absence of prayer or faith in the PM’s daily briefing is striking. It is refreshing that science and evidence are at the heart of strategy after years of ‘so-called experts’ being derided.

We live in hope that the best qualities of humans will prevail. As we savour quiet skies and the sounds of spring we reflect on how a kinder, fairer, greener and safer world might be created in the wake of this disaster.

Paul Kaufman
Chair East London Humanists

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