“At a time when the achievements of the enlightenment are questioned, ridiculed, misunderstood and traduced by those who would reverse the progress of mankind, it is essential to nail one’s colours to the mast as a humanist.” Stephen Fry
For a short introduction to one aspect of Humanism, watch Stephen’s video on How can I be Happy?
Our ethos can be summarised in three words – ‘Good without God.’ We comprise many diverse individuals in East London who have no religious faith but share a positive and ethical outlook on the world based on reason and humanity. We believe this is the one life we have and that it is important to do what we can to make the most of it for ourselves and others.
Some may labour under the misconception that our group spends its time knocking people who are religious. In fact we have no problem with people who want to practise their faith. What we do offer is the opportunity to meet with like-minded open-minded people and discuss in a free and rational way the moral, political and philosophical issues of our time without the baggage of superstition and ancient scriptures.
Of course our views do sometimes clash with those of religious groups. But our objection is to the privilege which religions enjoy and the unfair influence they can have on the lives of the rest of us.
One of our concerns is the proliferation of faith schools. We believe that these are highly divisive. In our multicultural society it is essential that children should grow up getting to know children from other backgrounds and that their parents should have the chance to mix with each other at the school gate etc.
We don’t think the religious should be able to dictate to the rest of us who is and is not allowed to marry just because of their own views on sexuality. We believe that, subject to safeguards, people should have the right to choose how to end their own life. We object to the automatic right of unelected Bishops and other clerics to sit in the House of Lords and vote on our laws. We also believe that freedom of religion and belief includes the unfettered right to leave a religion without being ostracised or stigmatised.
We trust in scientific method, evidence and reason in the quest to discover truths. We therefore believe in acting on the weight of evidence on issues such as climate change and bogus remedies like homeopathy.
As much as anything else our group is hugely enjoyable and richly rewarding. It is life affirming and liberating to share ideas and visions with people who celebrate the search for scientific truth and who believe in making the best of the world for everyone in the here and now, not some mythical hereafter. We also provide a supportive space for people who are questioning their inherited beliefs.
As one distinguished supporter, agony aunt Claire Rayner, said ‘I was a humanist for many years without knowing it before I found the Association. When I did it was like finding a sort of home.’
For more information about the East London Humanists group, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org