Andrew Copson - What is Humanism

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association and President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) spoke to us in January.  Andrew is an enormously effective advocate for Humanist, regularly appearing in the media, and his talk was as entertaining and informative as you’d expect.

He framed his talk as a Venn Diagram of belief, with Humanism at the intersection of five circles. The first is a naturalistic, scientific and non-supernatural view of reality; the second that we are the product of our physical existence, with no supernatural entities involved, and this is the only life we know that we have. Then comes a system of morality that doesn’t come from outside, from supposed gods or mythical law givers, but instead is something that’s always been within us and is improving with time.  The fourth circle is a belief that the rightness/wrongness of an action comes from how it effects those around us, and, finally, the fifth circle is Humanists’ belief that the meaning of life, should we need one, can be found in the connections that we make and what we choose to do with our lives – in the life well lived.

After some questions, Andrew then went on to talk about the work of the BHA in defending the rights of the non-religious, providing services such as ceremonies and pastoral care, and involvement in broader social justice campaigns such as Ending Climate Chaos and the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

We put a lot of effort into publicising the talk to introduce local people to Humanism, and packed out the B-Bar with a capacity crowd of around 45. A collection was held for Faith to Faithless, who spoke to us in October, and £120 was raised.


(Image: Lloyd Hunt)

(Image: Lloyd Hunt)