19 February: Ludlow and Marches Humanists talk, on the big change in religion and belief in UK

jeremy rodell The big change in religion & belief – how a humanist might respond?  A talk by Jeremy Rodell, volunteer Dialogue Officer of Humanists UK.

Britain is currently going through what’s been called ‘the biggest change in the religious and cultural landscape of Britain for centuries, even millennia’. But what’s really going on? What are the facts? And what are the practical implications? Can the non-religious help make it work?

Tuesday 19th February 2019, 7.30pm, at The Friends Meeting House, St Mary’s Lane, Ludlow SY8 1DZ. All welcome.

For more information email the Secretary.

Please note this event is not organised by Shropshire Humanists and we are not responsible for the accuracy of these details.

21 March: Talk Yourself Better, by Ariane Sherine

Comedy writer and journalist Ariane Sherine created and organised the Atheist Bus Campaign, persuading Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association to support her – and buses with variations on the slogan “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life” ran in 13 countries across the globe.

As a result, Ariane received an Inbox full of hate mail from Christians, which eventually led to a major nervous breakdown and suicidal ideation. She ended her journalistic career, and didn’t write again for over three years. In this talk, she will tell the full story of how therapy and medication saved her life, prompting her to write her new book, Talk Yourself Better: A Confused Person’s Guide to Therapy, Counselling and Self-Help. Ariane will be signing copies of Talk Yourself Better after the talk.

Ariane also wrote the bestselling celebrity book The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas. She has written for BBC1’s My Family, Channel 4’s Countdown and BBC2’s Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, as well as for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, New Statesman, New Humanist and The Spectator. She lives in London with her seven-year-old daughter, Lily.

Professor Alice Roberts talks about Humanists UK

Hot potatoes 2019: humanists speak their minds (video)

Shropshire Humanist held their annual Hot Potato open mike evening on 17 January 2019, and it was a big success.

Our latest newsletter: 2 February 2019

Week6-4See our latest newsletter for:

Brunch meet-ups in Shrewsbury for members, contacts and their guests on 17 February and 24 March.

New Special Interest Groups for Shropshire Humanists members, in Anthropology, Philosophy and Mindfulness Meditation.

Shropshire Humanists attending the Humanists UK convention in Leicester, 21-23 June.

Words matter

This was one of the 5-minute presentations at the Hot Potatoes open mike session on 17 January 2019. By Nigel Matthews

I take it as an elemental truth of life that words matter.
The word tolerance for example, is widely used to reflect a world within which we wish to live. Tolerance does not welcome however. It allows, endures, indulges. Tolerance was and is a baby step to make pluralism possible, and pluralism, like every ism, holds an illusion of control. It does not ask us to care for a stranger. It does not even invite us to know each other, to be curious, to be open, to be moved or surprised by each other.
Here are some words I love, words that describe presence rather than means towards an end: nourishing, edifying, redemptive, courageous, generous, winsome, adventurous, curious, tender.
Peace is strangely divisive. Justice is somehow partisan. I’m unmoved when we celebrate diversity by putting it up on a pedestal and avoiding its messiness and its depth.
Of course, all words are just containers on some level, but that is really the point. The connection between words and meanings resembles the symbiosis between religion and spirituality. Words are crafted by human beings. They take on all our flaws and frailties. They diminish or embolden the truths they arose to carry. We drop and break them sometimes. We renew them again and again.
We are starved, and ready, for fresh language to approach each other.
Words matter.

Noel Conway’s report on the campaign for Assisted Dying

For the Hot Potatoes open mike session on 17 January, Noel Conway wrote an update on legal action concerning a change in the law on assisted dying. Noel is unable to attend in person, so the text was read by Simon Nightingale.

Dear colleagues,

Simon has asked me to bring you up-to-date with where we are regarding the assisted dying campaign.
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Where do we get our morals? By Simon Nightingale of Shropshire Humanists

On 15 January 2019, the main lecture theatre at the University Centre in Shrewsbury was full with standing room only to listen to a discussion between Simon Nightingale, Chairman of Shropshire Humanists and Peter Bellingham, Pastor of the Well in Shrewsbury. This is Simon’s presentation. Peter’s was posted yesterday.

I recognise some fellow humanists out there and there may be others among you who live without religion and who won’t be surprised by what I’m going say.

In some ways it’s more important for me to talk to those of you with religious faith about non-religious morality. You see – when I speak to religious groups or interfaith groups, the issue they’re always most interested in, what really puzzles them is where non-religious people get their moral values – without the benefit of a Bible or Koran or Torah, Like Dostoyevsky they assume “If God is dead, then everything is permitted”.

And then they ask “anyway even if you can work out some sort of moral values, why do you bother to follow them?” Which is a rather different question – a good question that also needs answering.

So this evening I’ll talk about where non-religious people, like humanists, get their morals. At the end if I have time or during the discussions, I’ll talk a bit about what motivates us to do what we’ve worked out is right and how we can encourage both others and ourselves to do the right thing.
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