A New Online Course on Humanism
Scientist, writer, and broadcaster Alice Roberts has today launched a new, ‘massive open online course’ (MOOC) on humanism introducing participants to humanists from around the world to hear their stories and explore their beliefs and values.
The course features contributions from well-known scientists, artists, and politicians, as well as humanist campaigners, celebrants, and pastoral carers, including journalist Polly Toynbee, scientist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili, rock musician Frank Turner, novelist Natalie Haynes, and writer and academic Steven Pinker.
See more on Humanists UK website
Find more information and register for the course at:
Humanist Marriages – Lower Divorce Rate
Couples married in a humanist ceremony are almost four times less likely to divorce compared with all other types of marriages, according to new official statistics on marriage and divorce data in Scotland released on 10th March. The data comes as a new poll, showing clear majority support and growing demand for legal recognition of humanist marriages in England and Wales.
Divorce rates in Scotland
The new official statistics on Scottish divorces were obtained by Humanists UK through a freedom of information request. The data covers all divorces in 2017-18 split into civil, humanist, Church of Scotland, Catholic, and other type of religious marriages. By comparing these figures to existing statistics on number of marriages, it’s possible to calculate the divorce rate for each group.
This information adds weight to the call by Humanists to have their marriage ceremonies given the same legal recognition in Wales and in England, as they have in Scotland.
Read the full facts on the Humanists UK website
Information about Bereavement Support
A member of Cornwall Humanists has kindly offered some advice, following her own bereavement.
She found that ‘Grief Beyond Belief’ is a very helpful online community for atheists who are bereaved to share their experiences and support one another. Many of the members are in USA but also all over the world. The American members seem to suffer most from people repeatedly telling them their loved dead family members are in heaven etc.
The most helpful books she read were Joyce Carol Oates ‘A widow’s story’ and Joan Didion, ‘The year of magical thinking’.
The Cruse meetings are helpful once a month as everyone there knows how difficult the experience is. There are also one to one sessions, normally 4, and these are also worthwhile.
Painting above by Mary Fletcher
You can see more of Mary’s Grief Drawings as a
(This is a large file – 76MB, and runs for over 6 minutes.)
Bishops in the House of Lords
The presence of the Church of England in the House of Lords entrenches a privileged position for one particular branch of one particular religion.
Only 16% of the population profess affiliation to the Church of England according to the 2013 British Social Attitudes survey, (and only 1.4% being in Church on any given Sunday according to the church’s own attendance figures.)
Did you know that if two members of the House of Lords wish to speak, the Bishop is given the right to speak first?
Cornwall Humanists work towards a fairer society at local and national level.
director of Public Affairs and Policy for “Humanists UK”
Richy Thompson came to give a talk to Cornwall Humanists at their monthly meeting on 18th September.
Richy described six areas of “Humanists UK” activity, to a well-attended meeting.
- Government Contacts – Speaking with central government in London, through contacts with civil servants and MPs. The all-party Humanist group of 100 MPs, led by Crispin Blunt, is very important.
- Research – publicising relevant research and undertaking new research when necessary.
- Campaigns – Encouraging members and supporters to advance campaigns for change, by writing to MPs, writing letters to newspapers, and organising protests.
- Media – Promoting the inclusion of a Humanist perspective in newspapers, television, and other public media.
- Legal – Challenging illegal practices, and supporting individuals who are going to court to fight injustice, such as the refusal of assisted dying.
- Advice – Helping people who are suffering from unfair discrimination in a faith school, or who are struggling with the imposition of Collective Worship.
What can we do in Cornwall?
Richy gave examples of what we could do locally, to advance Humanism.
We could attend the constituency surgery of our local MP to learn about their standpoint, and ask for their support in advancing Humanist ideals.
We can try to influence local decision making through our membership of SACRE, the body advising Cornwall Council on Religious Education.
We can make sure that our views are publicised in local newspapers, and heard on local radio and television.
Religion and Worldviews
(The Observer 9th September 2018)
The subject should be renamed Religion and Worldviews to equip young people with respect and empathy for different faiths and viewpoints, says the Commission on Religious Education in a report published on Sunday.
Content “must reflect the complex, diverse and plural nature of worldviews”, drawing from “a range of religious, philosophical, spiritual and other approaches to life, including different traditions within Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, non-religious worldviews and concepts including humanism, secularism, atheism and agnosticism”.
The report was welcomed by the head teachers’ union, the Church of England and Humanists UK.
Read full report
The photograph above shows a group of friends of Peter and Barbara Edmead at their home near Nancegollan. The friends met on 26th August to wish Peter and Barbara well as they move to a smaller home near Weymouth. Peter has been a very active member of Cornwall Humanists and has worked regularly as a hospital volunteer. He visits people who are in hospital, to talk with them, adding to the religious pastoral service, for the growing number of people who do not hold a religious belief.
We hope that you both enjoy your new home, and do keep in touch!
Above you can see the stall run by Cornwall Humanists at the Cornwall Pride 2018 event.
It was held at Killacourt, Newquay, a grassy area above Towan Beach, on Saturday 25th August. The weather was perfect with sunshine and a gentle breeze, showing off the rainbow costumes to best advantage.
Carrie and Peter ran the stall and had many people coming up close to try to recognise the photographs of well known supporters of Humanist ideas. There were free lapel badges with messages, and the “Good without God” badges were all taken.
Peter and Carrie chatted with many people as they came along and were happy to hear the positive views of Humanism expressed by most visitors to our stall.
The atmosphere was friendly and joyous, with some amazing combinations of rainbow clothing on display.
Well worth attending with our stall next year.
Richy Thompson, Director of Public Affairs and Policy for Humanists UK will come to speak to the Cornwall Humanists Group on Tuesday 18th September.
The talk will be in the Fal Building of Truro College, starting at 7.30pm – everyone welcome!
Richy Thompson is Humanists UK’s Campaigns Manager and works on issues from across Humanists UK’s public policy remit. From May 2011 to February 2015 he was the Faith Schools and Education Campaigns Officer, and before that he was the President of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies. Richy is a member of the advisory group of the Sex Education Forum, on the steering groups of Voice for Choice, the Accord Coalition for inclusive education and the Fair Admissions Campaign, and a representative of Humanists UK at the Religious Education Council for England and Wales.
Read more about Richy Thompson
Report in the Economist – March 2018
A study of religious attitudes and practice among Europe’s young adults, published a few days ago, found that faith was shrinking almost to vanishing point in several countries, although there was huge variation across the continent. Europe’s secularisation, reflecting a break-up of traditional communities and more materialist attitudes, is familiar to sociologists. But its impact is highlighted in recent numbers.
Among people aged 16 to 29, the Czech Republic showed the lowest level of piety, with 91% of that age group saying they had no religion. Similarly high levels of indifference to religion were found in Estonia (80%), Sweden (75%) and the Netherlands (72%). Majorities of young adults in Britain (70%) and France (64%) were equally untouched by organised faith.
Read the whole article