Secularism and society

It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses we must plant more trees.

Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot), novelist (1819 – 1880)

What is the humanist vision for a better world? What kind of society do humanists strive for? What is secularism and why is it important to humanists? Find out what humanists work for and what lies behind their motivations.

What kind of world do humanists want?
Suitable for: 11-14, 14-16, 16-18


What kind of world do you want?

(Age 11+) Humanists describe their goals for society. Watch

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. Watch

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. Watch

What is secularism and why is it important?
Suitable for: 11-14, 14-16, 16-18


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. Watch

The case for secularism

Andrew Copson describes the arguments for secularism and explains that you don’t have to be a humanist to be a secularist. Watch

The state of secularism

Andrew Copson reveals some of the dangers secularism faces around the globe today. Watch

Other Resources

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

Humanism in Africa

In this film Leo Igwe speaks about being an African humanist and holding a belief in the power and potential of human beings.

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.

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

The Harm Principle

The Harm PrincipleA BBC animation on John Stuart Mill and the limits of our freedom

Veil of Ignorance

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

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. More information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.


Contact Us

Humanists UK
39 Moreland Street
London EC1V 8BB

Understanding Humanism

© Humanists UK 2021. Registered Charity No. 28598 | Privacy

Illustrations by Hyebin Lee