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What the Mid West Humanists sent to the press and radio on 08 January 2013

As planned I sent the following to 13 local newspapers and 4 local radio stations by email on 08 01 2013, and later by post. I sent this information document to those on the email and phone lists on 20 12 2012, and again on 07 01 2013.

—————————————————————–

Mid West Humanists

(People without religion)

General Information about the Mid West Humanists

The Mid West Humanists are a group of people (from Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary) with no religion, or leaning that way (since 2008).

The Mid West Humanists meet monthly in Limerick, at present in the Absolute Hotel, 3rd Wednesday of the month at 20:00

The Mid West Humanists seek social and political changes, that society and the state should – (1) be secular; (2) treat equally people who have religion and people who have no religion; (3) be more open to people who have no religion.

How to contact the Mid West Humanists

Peter O’Hara is contact person for the media on Humanism, Secular society, or any connected matters.

Website                midwesthumanists.com

The contact person can speak (and obtain further people to speak) both on people’s personal experience of humanism and the change from religion, and also on government and non-government structures that create difficulty for or are unfair to people who have no religion (and the changes needed).

Meetings

The meeting is there for people who have no religion, or are leaning that way, and there is no rule about what a person thinks or believes to attend.

People value being able to meet other people who do not have religion, and to exchange views and feelings. They can talk about how they came not to have religion, and the difficulties in that change, and continuing difficulties within a society that has many features that are biased towards religion.

Some of the time the meeting has an agenda, about changes needed in society, or may have a person come from outside the group to give a talk.

Changes needed in society (as the Mid West Humanists see it)

CONSTITUTION – The Constitution of Ireland has several elements biased towards religion, even after the part of Article 44 that recognised some particular religions was removed by referendum in 1972. These are – religious oaths for president, judges, and the Council of State; God as source of power in the Preamble and in Article 6; blasphemy being an offence; and while discrimination between people of different religions is prohibited under personal and educational rights, the state is allowed to discriminate between those with religion and those without religion. All these elements should be changed.

EDUCATION – In order to stop people seeing society as divided into groups, which lets people of one group see people in another group as in some way bad – and sometimes this leads to serious civil strife (occasionally to war) – all children (primary and secondary) should be educated in secular schools, where the mixture of children in the school is the same as the mixture of people in that district – not in schools divided by religion as they are now.
In recent times, in most districts, children who have no religion have no choice but to attend a school that is connected with or is biased towards religion, and such children’s rights to an education free of religion have been denied.

SECULAR SOCIETY – As well as state organisations, some organisations not connected to government also automatically treat employees, people who use their services, or the public, as if they have a religion – religion intrudes into organisations when there is no need. Do hospitals need to know your religion? Sales and service organisations should not assume that people have religion, but should allow that a person may or may not have a religion.

Appendix

Humanism

Humanism is the idea that humans can think, plan, and do all the things that humans need for a good life. The good life that humanists have in mind is a life with other people, so it means being and doing good for other people as well as for themselves.

Particularly humanists know that humans can develop, evaluate, and decide moral rules for themselves. This means that there is no need for an authority figure or a god to give moral rules to humans.

Humanists therefore decide whether any particular moral rule is good or bad based on the consequences of adopting each particular rule. Humanists do not see sense, when they need a new rule for a novel situation, in deriving the new rule from a table of commandments that a god or a religious leader created several thousand years in the past.

Humanists think it right to use human reason to decide about factual matters as well as about moral matters. Humanists therefore generally believe in science and reason, and do not adopt beliefs for which there is no evidence. So, as there is no evidence for a person’s mind or spirit lasting beyond death, humanists do not believe in an afterlife. Consequently humanists direct their efforts to making this life better. Humanists are positive about life and about humans, and do not see humans as flawed or suffering from original sin. Humanists believe that such negative ideas that some people teach to children cause distress and psychologically harm people, sometimes for all of their lives.

Humanists believe in the community of people and set high value on people supporting each other. While humanists do not see people as bad, they do not see people as free of faults, and they benefit from each other for improving their ideas, both in science and in morals. Each other person may see mistakes that a person may not be able to see for himself or herself. Humanists therefore value other people’s expression of opinions, and are open to others’ views and to reconsidering their own ideas. Humanists reconsider their views based on the amount of reason or evidence in favour or against the idea.

To enable the maximum benefit from people learning from the opinions and criticism of other people, humanist think that an open, democratic society is the best form of society, with no limits on the expression of ideas. This includes no protection for any ideas from public criticism.

As humanists value life (there is no evidence of any life after death) they believe in living life fully, both doing the most for other people and richly enjoying the varieties of experience available in life. Humanists, though each person varies in their taste, value all positive activities, including science and the expansion of knowledge, art, literature, music, and other creative and pleasurable activities.

End of Press Information

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One Response

  1. The ‘open society’ is our ideal, but the present state of affairs is very different. We do not seek to restrict anyone’s right to believe in religion, but we do not see why religion should have powerful privileges written into the law and customs of the land. There is much religious privilege and official discrimination on grounds of religion or belief in the UK in such areas as the legal enforcement of religious education and worship in schools, the bias in favour of religious organisations in marriage law, or in the law on charity, the Government’s promotion of a bigger role for ‘faith communities’ in providing public services or the overwhelming bias in favour of religion on the BBC. There is an assumption of a ‘default Christianity’ in public life, and an established church. And (even worse) 100 years after Gilbert and Sullivan mocked the idea that ‘Nature always does contrive / that every boy or girl born alive / is either a little liberal or a little conservative’, too many people still label children as little Christians or little Muslims long before they are of an age to understand such matters.

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