Understanding Humanism

Society

What kind of a world do humanist want and what goals do they have for society?

Humanists believe that human beings alone are responsible for making the world a better place. Many campaign for equality, human rights, and secularism. Many celebrate the progress humanity has made, but recognise the work that is still to be done.

5+

Overviews
Age 5+
Society

Presentations
Age 5+
Society

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Activities
Age 5+
Special places

What types of buildings might humanists value?

Humanist goals

The Starfish Thrower

External Resources
Age 5+
The Starfish Story

Written by humanist Loren Eiseley, this video illustrates the humanist view that we can all contribute to building a better world.

The Starfish Story and Make a Difference Day

In this video humanist Maxine Beech tells the Starfish Story and describes how humanists believe we can each make a difference to the world around us.

7+

Overviews
Age 7+
Society

Presentations
Age 7+
Society

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Information
Age 7+
Humanist motivations and goals

What are humanist goals for society?

Individual humanists answer the question

Imagine, by John Lennon

Humanists in action

What work do humanists do towards building what they believe would be a better society?

Activities
Age 7+
Human solidarity

The Manchester United experiment

An experiment that revealed how we act towards those we feel are part our our group and those we don’t

The Starfish Thrower

External Resources
Age 7+
The Starfish Story

Written by humanist Loren Eiseley, this video illustrates the humanist view that we can all contribute to building a better world.

The Starfish Story and Make a Difference Day

In this video humanist Maxine Beech tells the Starfish Story and describes how humanists believe we can each make a difference to the world around us.

I have the right to be a child

A short film of the picture book exploring children’s rights.

Assessments
Age 7+
Society: multiple choice questions

Society: fill in the blanks

11+

Overviews
Age 11+
Society

Presentations
Age 11+
Society

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Information
Age 11+
A fair society: a humanist perspective

What are humanist goals for society?

Individual humanists answer the question

Secularism

Pale Blue Dot

Astronomer Carl Sagan’s humanist perspective on our predicament and our responsibility

Humanists in action

What work do humanists do towards building what they believe would be a better society?

Human progress: a humanist perspective

Humanism and charity

Are there any humanist charities? What causes do humanists support?

Activities
Age 11+
The veil of ignorance

What kind of world would you create?

Is this secularism?

Human progress activity

Have human beings made positive progress?

Films
Age 11+
What kind of world do you want?

Humanists describe their goals for society

What is secularism?

‘Secularism’ is a highly misunderstood term, often misused in the media. In this video Chief Executive of Humanists UK, Andrew Copson, explains the meaning of secularism and the aims of a secular state.

The case for secularism

Andrew Copson, Chief Exec of Humanists UK, describes the arguments in favour of secularism and explains that you don’t have to be a humanist to be a secularist.

The state of secularism

Andrew Copson, Chief Exec of Humanists UK, reveals some of the dangers secularism faces around the globe today.

Humanism and education

Physics teacher and author Alom Shaha talks about the importance of education from a humanist perspective.

External Resources
Age 11+
Pale Blue Dot

In this short film astronomer Carl Sagan provides a humanist perspective on our position and our responsibility. An image of the photograph and a transcript from Sagan’s speech can also be found here.

Veil of Ignorance

Veil of IgnoranceA BBC animation about John Rawls’ thought experiment. This way of approaching questions about what kind of society we should build is supported by many humanists.

Assessments
Age 11+
Society: multiple choice questions

Society: fill in the blanks

Society: humanist responses

How might a humanist respond?

14+

Information
Age 14+
A fair society: a humanist perspective

What are humanist goals for society?

Individual humanists answer the question

Secularism

Pale Blue Dot

Astronomer Carl Sagan’s humanist perspective on our predicament and our responsibility

Humanists in action

What work do humanists do towards building what they believe would be a better society?

Human progress: a humanist perspective

Humanism and charity

Are there any humanist charities? What causes do humanists support?

The two fights

What do humanists mean by the ‘little fight’ and the ‘great fight’ and where do they devote their time and resources?

Activities
Age 14+
The veil of ignorance

What kind of world would you create?

Is this secularism?

Human progress activity

Have human beings made positive progress?

Films
Age 14+
Every human being

Stephen Fry describes the commitment that humanists make towards human rights and our responsibilities to each other.

Humanism and charity work

Director of Policy and Advocacy at The British Red Cross Naomi Phillips talks about the humanist motivation for charity work.

Humanist campaigns

Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson talks about humanist campaigns work.

Campaigning for Humanists UK

The Director of Public Affairs and Policy at Humanists UK talks about their campaigns, including equality and human rights, secularism, ethical issues, and education.

What motivates humanist campaigners?

Watch Humanists UK’s Andrew Copson describe his and other humanists’ motivations

What kind of world do you want?

Humanists describe their goals for society

Building a better world

Chief Executive of Humanists UK Andrew Copson explains what lies behind the humanist motivation to improve our quality of life and introduces some of the desired features of a humanist society.

Is this the best time to live?

Steven Pinker, a psychologist and author, talks about how life on Earth has been getting better for humankind.

How have we made progress?

Steven Pinker, a psychologist and author, speaks about how science, reason and humanism have been drivers of progress.

How much work is still to be done?

Andrew Copson describes the current state of play when it comes to achieving humanist ideals in the world.

What is secularism?

‘Secularism’ is a highly misunderstood term, often misused in the media. In this video Chief Executive of Humanists UK, Andrew Copson, explains the meaning of secularism and the aims of a secular state.

The case for secularism

Andrew Copson, Chief Exec of Humanists UK, describes the arguments in favour of secularism and explains that you don’t have to be a humanist to be a secularist.

The state of secularism

Andrew Copson, Chief Exec of Humanists UK, reveals some of the dangers secularism faces around the globe today.

A warning: humanism under threat

Ian Dunt, editor of politics.co.uk, speaks about how humanist values are under threat under the current political climate.

Humanism and education

Physics teacher and author Alom Shaha talks about the importance of education from a humanist perspective.

External Resources
Age 14+
Pale Blue Dot

In this short film astronomer Carl Sagan provides a humanist perspective on our position and our responsibility. An image of the photograph and a transcript from Sagan’s speech can also be found here.

The Harm Principle

The Harm PrincipleA BBC animation on John Stuart Mill and whether the state should be allowed to restrict our freedom

Veil of Ignorance

Veil of IgnoranceA BBC animation about John Rawls’ thought experiment. This way of approaching questions about what kind of society we should build is supported by many humanists.

Ten Things to Know about Secularism

Film: Andrew Copson describes what he thinks are the top ten things important things people should understand about secularism

Is the world getting better or worse?

Film: In this TED talk humanist Steven Pinker provides an optimistic look at human progress and potential. From 15:10 you will find a 3 minute summary of a humanist’s eye view of the human story.

16+

Films
Age 16+
Every human being

Stephen Fry describes the commitment that humanists make towards human rights and our responsibilities to each other.

Humanism and charity work

Director of Policy and Advocacy at The British Red Cross Naomi Phillips talks about the humanist motivation for charity work.

Humanist campaigns

Humanists UK’s Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson talks about humanist campaigns work.

Campaigning for Humanists UK

The Director of Public Affairs and Policy at Humanists UK talks about their campaigns, including equality and human rights, secularism, ethical issues, and education.

What motivates humanist campaigners?

Watch Humanists UK’s Andrew Copson describe his and other humanists’ motivations

What kind of world do you want?

Humanists describe their goals for society

Building a better world

Chief Executive of Humanists UK Andrew Copson explains what lies behind the humanist motivation to improve our quality of life and introduces some of the desired features of a humanist society.

Is this the best time to live?

Steven Pinker, a psychologist and author, talks about how life on Earth has been getting better for humankind.

How have we made progress?

Steven Pinker, a psychologist and author, speaks about how science, reason and humanism have been drivers of progress.

How much work is still to be done?

Andrew Copson describes the current state of play when it comes to achieving humanist ideals in the world.

What is secularism?

‘Secularism’ is a highly misunderstood term, often misused in the media. In this video Chief Executive of Humanists UK, Andrew Copson, explains the meaning of secularism and the aims of a secular state.

The case for secularism

Andrew Copson, Chief Exec of Humanists UK, describes the arguments in favour of secularism and explains that you don’t have to be a humanist to be a secularist.

The state of secularism

Andrew Copson, Chief Exec of Humanists UK, reveals some of the dangers secularism faces around the globe today.

A warning: humanism under threat

Ian Dunt, editor of politics.co.uk, speaks about how humanist values are under threat under the current political climate.

Humanism and education

Physics teacher and author Alom Shaha talks about the importance of education from a humanist perspective.

Other Resources
Age 16+
The case for secularism

In this article humanist philosopher Richard Norman presents the arguments in favour of secularism and describes the various areas of debate.

External Resources
Age 16+
Pale Blue Dot

In this short film astronomer Carl Sagan provides a humanist perspective on our position and our responsibility. An image of the photograph and a transcript from Sagan’s speech can also be found here.

The Harm Principle

The Harm PrincipleA BBC animation on John Stuart Mill and whether the state should be allowed to restrict our freedom

Veil of Ignorance

Veil of IgnoranceA BBC animation about John Rawls’ thought experiment. This way of approaching questions about what kind of society we should build is supported by many humanists.

Ten Things to Know about Secularism

Film: Andrew Copson describes what he thinks are the top ten things important things people should understand about secularism

Is the world getting better or worse?

Film: In this TED talk humanist Steven Pinker provides an optimistic look at human progress and potential. From 15:10 you will find a 3 minute summary of a humanist’s eye view of the human story.

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Understanding Humanism

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