Humanism...

Melvil

Guest
...Just wondered if any on this forum are Humanist or know owt about it?

It sounds like quite an interesting approach to life...
 

zimzum42

Legendary Member
Kenneth Kaunda was a humanist, and i still think he was one of the most genuine post independence African presidents of the lot.

What complaints people had of him were forgotten when Chiluba succeeded him and proved to be a right muppet.......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Kaunda
 

Pete

Guest
Yes. Although not active in BHA.

About Humanist funerals. Almost every funeral I have attended in the past 20 years - including that of my mother, who directed as such in her Will - has been in accordance with Humanist practice. It is usual to have (secular) music played before and after (and, at a cremation, during the sending-off of the coffin). Eulogies and personal remembrances are read out by one or two friends or relatives: on one occasion I volunteered to read a poem touching on the life and interests of the deceased. Also there is often a pause half way through the proceedings, at which attendees who are of a religious persuasion, are invited to make a silent prayer if such be their wish.

Humanists normally request that religious emblems such as crosses are removed from the chapel before the ceremony. Crematoriums etc. are usually very accommodating in this respect.

I have always found such occasions, conducted in this way, to be a great comfort to the bereaved. This has not, on the other hand, been my experience with religious funerals.
 

domtyler

Über Member
I have been on the BHA mailing list for quite a few years and have been to a few humanist weddings. Personally I don't see the point in holding ceremonies but if that is what floats your boat then this is probably what you are looking for if you are not religiously inclined.
 

Fnaar

Smutmaster General
Location
Thumberland
Went to a humanist funeral last year, a friend who got murdered (!!) (edit: hearing Jimi Hendrix in the crematorium was ace!)
There was a humanist "minister" chappy who was good, but it felt a bit like 'copying' a religious one. I want one for me when I pop off (not that I'll be there of course), and I'd like (if they're up for it) a short speech from me bro', and my closest mate, then a massive party with lots of really good positive vibe-type music. Oh, and I want to be either cremated and scattered in rural Ireland (where me folks came from), or buried in a cardboard coffin somewhere nice.
 

Pete

Guest
domtyler said:
Personally I don't see the point in holding ceremonies....
For a wedding, you probably have a point. Indeed I can't really regard my own wedding - conducted in a Register Office with the only officiator the Registrar - as a ceremony as such, we merely went through the legal procedure. But it was still a sense of occasion as such.

For funerals, I would tend to differ. Perhaps one needs a ceremony to focus people's emotions at that time. Certainly in my mother's case we did arrange an 'official' BHA officiator (who was a personal friend, so she was the obvious choice). Nearly 100 people turned up, although far fewer came on to the house afterwards (It was fortunate that I reserved the larger of the chapels which the crematorium had to offer!). It would have been a poor show and churlish to consign my mother's remains to their rest without some sort of event to offer to all those who took the trouble to show up.

But having said that, it is a very informal proceeding. There are no rules, other than what is dictated by common sense of decorum.
 

Pete

Guest
Fnaar said:
I want one for me when I pop off ...etc. etc.
Good positive thinking Fnaar. Will be a great help to your nearest and dearest when you do finally 'pop off'. Have you made a Will? That is the right place to set down your wishes. It's also the first thing undertakers ask the relatives.
 

ajevans

New Member
Location
Birmingham
I class myself as a Secular Humanist, and I'm sort of a BHA member (need to setup a DD to pay my membership).

In a nutshell I believe that belief in a deity is irrelevant, it is how you live your life that is important ie you have one life, enjoy it, don't be a nob to others and if you can help people along the way then job's a good 'un.
 

Flying_Monkey

Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere
Dayvo said:
I'm a kind of Humanist/Buddhist, but very VERY amateur!
And with LOTS to learn. :blush:
I would say the same... but who isn't any more than an amateur in these things?

I am slightly uncomfortable with attaching an '-ism' to 'human' though, partly because I regard all living things as being important, but also because institutionalising anything as a preklude to it being subject to control etc.
 

marinyork

Resting in suspended Animation
Location
Logopolis
I am in broad sympathy with Secular humanism. I think Jonathan Miller in his series Atheism: A rough history of disbelief (which is available on-line touched on many of the issues).
 

Fnaar

Smutmaster General
Location
Thumberland
Flying_Monkey said:
I would say the same... but who isn't any more than an amateur in these things?

I am slightly uncomfortable with attaching an '-ism' to 'human' though, partly because I regard all living things as being important, but also because institutionalising anything as a preklude to it being subject to control etc.
Genuine question: I understand how Buddhism shares many 'concerns' with humanism (if you'll pardon the -isms for a mo'); if one calls oneself a buddhist, how closely does one follow the teachings, and at what point (if one follows them in an interpretative way) does it become a philosophy of being a nice person?
 

buddha

Veteran
Fnaar said:
Genuine question: I understand how Buddhism shares many 'concerns' with humanism (if you'll pardon the -isms for a mo'); if one calls oneself a buddhist, how closely does one follow the teachings, and at what point (if one follows them in an interpretative way) does it become a philosophy of being a nice person?
As with most 'religions' Buddhism has many sects/schools. So, "how closely does one follow the teachings" depends on that and (obviously) local culture. Especially so in Asian countries.

However, as I understand/interpret it, to be a Buddhist doesn't mean you have to rigorously undertake various (or any) precepts. Such as eating meat for example. Or believe in various 'Buddhist' concepts like rebirth.

And neither IMHO do you have do formally belong to a particular sect of Buddhism. My interpretation is that "Buddhism" is more of an understanding or way-of-life than a religion with rules. In a manner of speaking we are all Buddhists.

As for "at what point (if one follows them in an interpretative way) does it become a philosophy of being a nice person?".
I'm not sure that Buddhism is primarily about being a "nice person". As I see it, it's more to do with the aspects of suffering and understanding what suffering (and life-death in general etc etc is all about). Being a nice person is a consequence of that. But of course, you don't have to call yourself a Buddhist to be nice;)

Does that make any sense?
 
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