Mark Preedy speaks at the Creation Fest

Cornwall Humanists Member, Mark Preedy,
in discussion with Andy Bannister

Creation Fest

Mark Preedy debates with Andy Banister

Congratulations to Cornwall Humanist member Mark Preedy for his excellent, rational thoughts at Creation Fest on 9th August at Wadebridge Show Ground. Andy Bannister was putting a Christian view. He is  an experienced speaker, writer, teacher, and full-time Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity.  Justin Brierley chaired a discussion in the Showcase Cafe between a Humanist, Mark Preedy,  and a Christian, Andy Bannister. The discussion is to be broadcast at 14.30 on Saturday 12th August  in the programme “Unblievable” for Premier Christian Radio.

In the public question time Peter Edmead,  a member of Cornwall Humanists, asked Andy Bannister if he could supply one piece of evidence for his views. Dr Bannister told us that he could give five pieces of evidence for his Christian beliefs.   He spoke about cosmic fine tuning as evidence, and the life of Jesus, but the questioner was not convinced that any evidence in a scientific sense had been supplied.  There were seven known Humanists in the audience numbering hundreds.  The Humanists were approached afterwards by people trying to convince them of the truth of Christianity.

The discussion was recorded for broadcast on Premier Christian Radio programme “Unbelievable” which goes out at 14.30 on Saturday 12th August. You can listen online or to the podcast https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes

Meetings in the Sonder Cafe Truro

Informal Discussions

Some members of Cornwall Humanists meet on the second Sunday of each month at the Sonder Cafe, 6 Prince’s St, Truro TR1 2ES.

It is an informal meeting run by Cornwall Humanists for discussions.
If you are non religious but believe in an ethical lifestyle, and would like to find out more, do join us for coffee or a beer.
We usually meet from 11am to 12.30pm.

 

About the Sonder Cafe

In their own words – taken from the Sonder Cafe website:

“We are not the norm. We are a bar, a cafe, a restaurant, a takeaway, a coffee house, a meeting place and more!!”

Learning Together

Accord Coalition

We believe that pupils from all different backgrounds should be educated together in a shared environment, rather than separated according to the religious beliefs of their parents.

Humanists UK has long been involved in campaigning for an end to the laws that allow schools with a religious character to discriminate in their admissions and employment policies and to teach a biased RE curriculum. In September 2008 we became one of the founder members of the Accord Coalition – a wide coalition of organisations working for reform of state funded schools to make them more inclusive in matters of religion or belief. Accord brings together religious and non-religious supporters of change as well as teaching unions, human rights organisations and high profile individuals.     Read more

Religious Belief Survey

Catholic Research Forum Report

Based on findings in Britain in 2015

48.6% of adult Britons now claim to have no religion.
43.0% identify themselves as Christian.
8.4% identify themselves with a non-Christian religion.

You can read the full 20 page report here.

Humanist Pastoral Volunteer

The following is an article published in the March 2017 issue of the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s “One + All” magazine.

Humanist Pastoral Volunteer

Humanist Pastoral Volunteer

Volunteering at RCHT attracts people of all ages, coming from all sorts of backgrounds.  Most have inspiring stories to tell about why they have chosen to give their time to support patients, staff and visitors at our hospitals.  In this edition of “One + All” we take a look at some of these stories.

Why help? –  Why not?  says pastoral volunteer Peter

Peter Edmead  is a “Humanist Pastoral Volunteer” who divides his time between West Cornwall Hospital and the Royal Cornwall Hospital site at Treliske.  While his role with the voluntary services has had a relatively recent beginning, his interest in providing help and support to those in need has been a long held concern.

“I retired in 2013” explains Peter ‘Prior to that, I’d spent over twenty years working as a full time state teacher. Pastoral support is a major requirement in the teaching profession, especially in my roles of teacher, form tutor, special needs co-ordinator, and then Head  of Science. It was this experience, as well as my interest in Humanism, that provided me with the necessary background for my role as a Humanist volunteer.” 

Continue reading

End Collective Worship

The UK is the only country in the world to impose Christian worship in state-funded schools.
 The United Nations Organisation says it is wrong.  Write to your MP to change the  law.  

As you know, the BHA is committed to ensuring a fair education system in which all children are free to arrive at their own conclusions about life’s big questions. That means not only that schools should provide an inclusive, balanced, and objective education about different religions and non-religious worldviews, but also that children should be free from any requirement to participate in religious worship at school.

Collective worship   –  United Nations Report

In a section on Freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the UN reports states:

The Committee is concerned that pupils are required by law to take part in a daily religious worship which is “wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character” in publicly funded schools in England and Wales, and that children do not have the right to withdraw from such worship without parental permission before entering the sixth form. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, children do not have right to withdraw from collective worship without parental permission.

The Committee recommends that the State party repeal legal provisions for compulsory attendance at collective worship in publicly funded schools and ensure that children can independently exercise the right to withdraw from religious worship at school.   June 2016

What is Humanism?

Talk in Plymouth by Andrew Copson

What is Humanism? (Plymouth Humanists)

When  Tuesday, January 24, 19:30 – 21:00

Where  The B-Bar, Barbican Theatre, Castle Street, Plymouth, Devon, UK, PL1 2NJ

Description   Come and join Plymouth Humanists to hear Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association, give an overview of Humanism: what it is, what it is not and its history. Andrew will also talk about the British Humanist Association, its aims and the work that it does.
Website: http://plymouth-humanists.org.uk/

Separation of Church and State

Is this what we are aiming for?

What has happened in Norway

New Year’s Day saw the separation of Church and State in Norway. The change in the Church’s status was in response to amendments to the Constitution made in 2012:

  • Original Article 2: “All inhabitants of the Realm shall have the right to free exercise of their religion. The Evangelical-Lutheran religion shall remain the official religion of the State. The inhabitants professing it are bound to bring up their children in the same.”
  • New Article 2: “Our values will remain our Christian and humanist heritage. This Consitution shall ensure democracy, a state based on the rule of law and human rights.”
  • Original Article 4: “The King shall at all times profess the Evangelical-Lutheran religion, and uphold and protect the same.”
  • Amended Article 4: “The King shall at all times profess the Evangelical-Lutheran religion.”
    • Original Article 16: “The King ordains all public church services and public worship, all meetings and assemblies dealing with religious matters, and ensures that public teachers of religion follow the norms prescribed for them.”
    • New Article 16: “All inhabitants of the Realm shall have the right to free exercise of their religion. The Norwegian Church, an Evangelical-Lutheran church, will remain the Norwegian National Church and will as such be supported by the State. Detailed provisions as to its system will be laid down by law. All religious and philosophical communities should be supported on equal terms.”

Read full item here.

Anti-intellectual Populism

 

The Rise of Anti-intellectual Populism

It didn’t start in America and it didn’t start with the election of Donald Trump. For months pundits have discussed the phenomenon of ‘post-truth politics’: politics deliberately based on simplification, appealing to the raw emotions of the electorate. Evidence, historical precedent, well-reasoned analyses: all count for nothing. In fact they are repudiated as being the preserve of elites.

This populism replacing reasoned politics is now global and a major threat to universal human rights, to secularism, to reason, and to humanist values.

In India, Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government disparages the open secular framework that has long held the most diverse nation in the world in some sort of social harmony. In Poland, the Government is preparing once again for an aggressive assault on the rights of women, justified entirely through appeals to Catholic dogma. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte indulges in sermon-like attacks on atheists, interwoven with rabble-rousing cries to bring back the death penalty. And in Russia, Putin, re-elected President in 2012, has used aggressive foreign policy to settle domestic political issues while imprisoning those who offend the church or criticise his regime. In Turkey, we see one of the greatest tragedies of our age: a country full of cosmopolitan potential transformed into a police state under Erdoğan, without democracy and without a free press or judiciary. In Hungary, the rule of law is rapidly becoming history. Elections in the next few months threaten the rise of far-right authoritarian parties in Austria, France, and the Netherlands.

When the world is so very far from what we want it to be, there is a temptation to retreat, to tend to one’s own garden and look to the private and the domestic. These are, after all, areas of our lives where we at least have some sort of control, and where we can have some positive effect.

This isn’t entirely the wrong instinct. Just as peace between nations starts with love between people and happiness in societies, our little choices can affect the bigger picture. So much of the BHA’s work is directed to the lives of individuals: our school volunteers encourage young people to open their minds and their sympathies, our pastoral carers give like-minded support to those in personal crises, and our celebrants guide families and couples through some of the highest and lowest points in their lives.

But public crises call for our public involvement, not just private actions. 

As humanists, we champion secularism because we believe everyone is treated better when governments and churches are kept apart. We champion human rights not simply because we believe in the equal dignity of every living person, but because we know that this is something all-too easily forgotten by humankind. And we steadfastly champion democracy and the rule of law, along with those civil values that ensure their smooth functioning.

In all that we do, these social values are our guides, along with reason, empathy, and kindness. The future is uncertain and ever-harder to predict. But we must enter it optimistically, rationally, and with a cool head on our shoulders. Our humanist way of thinking has given the world so much over the centuries and its resources are far from depleted. We are entering a dark chapter in the human story, but the light has burned brightly in darker times than this. Today we all have a responsibility to tend the flame.