AUGUST 15, 2014 by Stephen McLaren
Humanism in Society

Humanism is the only non-religious life-stance which offers a written moral and ethical code. Titled the ‘IHEU Declaration’ (of 2002), which remains current in 2016 and beyond,  is elegantly presented on a single side of an A4 sheet, containing several decrees which engage with a rational approach to life across many key aspects of sustainable life and well-being. The decrees of its code are subject to regular scrutiny via the tri-annual International Humanist & Ethical Union congress, which requires its review and updating as appropriate to current/new experience/evidence. That is what sets it apart from faith based life-stances which are invariably steeped in pre-documented history of some 1500+ > 2000+ years.

There is a large gulf between a priority emphasis on provision of humanist ceremonies and the big picture that is humanism. The basis in 2005 for humanist accreditation to conduct legal marriage in Scotland was/is the philosophical imperatives of the IHEU Declaration’s ethical & moral code. Its offered central message of the Golden Rule predates organised religion via Greek and Chinese philosophy and stands as a global philosophical life view, both as an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) with representation on various United Nations committees and other international bodies, besides its formal presence via its ‘Humanism’ teaching module in the Scottish Qualifications Authority guidance, as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.

We are concerned that any prevailing policy perception of humanism in general that has no place in positive/negative/critical comment or persuasion to adopt any form of life view other than that of being non-religious, shows a complete lack of understanding as to what humanism and its paradigm is all about. That elementary mis-understanding seriously diminishes its global impact. ‘Live & let Live’ is not un-conditional !

‘Humanism in Scotland’ with its network of people, who either found meaning in its code, through its engagement in society or via its non-religious ceremonies and who are also keenly interested, both now and into the future, in everyday aspects of life and the issues which affect us all, are now encouraged to engage with campaigning or supporting activity in furtherance of the betterment of humankind and our planet.

The banner of ‘Humanism in Scotland’ does that as the basis for our representation in all aspects of society and life . . so let’s look at a few current hot topics in which humanism has something to say . .Undemocratic privilege > Poverty > Worklessness > Self indulgence > Obesity > Drug culture > Cavalier Banking > Tax Evasion > Undignified Dying > Population Growth > Global Warming > Curricular mythology > Sectarianism > Fracking > Money laundering > Gender inequality > FGM > Stifled autonomy . . .etc . . . etc . . . all of which concerns are embedded for action in the life- stance of world-wide humanism.

2015 Ron McLaren - (Chair - Humanism in Scotland)    

[email protected]

                         Humanism allows free thinking – a rational life view

        The footnote of the 2002 Declaration reads . . . . . 
Humanism . . . is a life stance aiming at the maximum possible fulfillment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living, offering an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our times.    Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.    Our primary task is to make human beings aware in the simplest terms of what Humanism can mean to them and what it commits them to.   By utilising free inquiry, the power of science and creative imagination for the furtherance of peace and in the service of compassion, we have confidence that we have the means to solve the problems that confront us all.    We call upon all who share this conviction to associate themselves with us in this endeavour.