Do humanists have rules to follow?
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Lesson Plans

Do humanists have rules to follow?

In this lesson students will evaluate whether some rules are more important than others and use moral dilemmas to explore whether rules always help. They will learn how humanists believe rules can often be helpful, but that we should also always think about the consequences of our behaviour when deciding how to act. They will go on to learn how many humanists follow the Golden Rule (treat others as you would like to be treated yourself), explore why humanists think this rule is so common because it evolved naturally alongside our capacity to reason and empathise, and investigate, though writing a letter, how humanists might respond to criticisms of the Golden Rule. Download


Do humanists have rules to follow?




Can students say where these rules have come from and order them according to how important they are? Download

Lying dilemma

Is lying always wrong? A dilemma to get students to explore whether we should take rules or consequences into account when we act. Download

The Golden Rule

A student handout on the Golden Rule, including examples from around the world and a map on which to locate them. Download

Golden Rule letter

Can students write a reply to a letter from a child who has used the golden rule inappropriately and see how using the Golden Rule means taking other people's tastes and preferences into account? Download

Humanist responses: rules

Can students fill in the speech bubbles with humanist responses to statements and questions about rules? Download

Ten non-commandments

Two examples of humanist guidance for living a good life to use as stimuli to inspire students to write their own. Download


What makes something right or wrong?

(Age 11+) A short animation about how humanists make decisions about how to act, and why they believe we should be proud that morality is a human invention. Watch

Humanist Perspectives


Why should we be good to others? How can I know the difference between right and wrong? Download

Ethics: The Golden Rule

What is the Golden Rule and where do humanists think it came from? Download

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