A Shropshire Humanist in South Africa

by Simon Nightingale, Chair, Shropshire Humanists

I have recently returned from a two week holiday in Cape Town where I was visiting my son, Sam, who is also a neurologist and is currently doing research there on HIV in the brain.

While there, I met an interesting group of people who call themselves DINK (the Afrikaans word for THINK). They’re all sceptical freethinkers and would consider themselves atheist or at least agnostic. They were keen to hear about humanism and so I gave them a talk. They did a recording of it and you can see it on YouTube.

However, it is similar to the talk I gave given to the Shrewsbury U3A which is rather better recorded.

Interestingly only 17% of the population of South Africa say that they live without religion (in the UK it’s >50%; among young people >70%). Virtually everyone else in South Africa is Christian.

The very large black African community are Christian of one kind or another. The largest group are known as the Church of Zion and it seems they’ve incorporated Evangelist Christian beliefs with a kind of ancient tribal ancestor worship. Very few South Africans call themselves humanist and indeed the members of DINK knew very little about humanism. I encouraged them to consider humanism which is a worldview with positive beliefs and values, rather than just being a negative atheist.

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Where do we get our morals? (audio)

A discussion between a Christian and a Humanist in front of a packed house, organised by Shropshire Humanists, between Simon Nightingale (Chair of Shropshire Humanists) and Peter Bellingham (Pastor at The Well, Shrewsbury).

Ludlow and Marches Humanists on 19 March: “Losing My Arrogance, a tale in Three Hats”

Ludlow and Marches Humanists: ‘Losing my Arrogance, a tale in Three Hats’. A talk by Andy Boddington, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow North.

Tuesday 19 March 2019, 7.30pm, at The Friends Meeting House, St Mary’s Lane, Ludlow SY8 1DZ. All welcome. For more information email: rocheforts@tiscali.co.uk

Please note that  this is not arranged by Shropshire Humanists.

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.

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.

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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