Simon Nightingale on BBC Radio 3, 2 April: listen

Simon Nightingale did a short talk on distributive justice, referring to John Rawls, in Shropshire Radio’s Sunday morning “Faith and Ethics” program.

To hear it go to and listen on the time line from 1.18.15 to 1.23.50.

He then talked about the recent problems of the neurology service at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital until 1.27.00


Dr Simon Nightingale on BBC Radio Shropshire – Humanist views on forgiveness

Simon_NightingaleDr Simon Nightingale was on BBC Radio Shropshire on Sunday morning (20th November) delivering a ‘Pause for Thought’ on humanist views on forgiveness.

You can listen by visiting  and scrolling on the timeline between 1.19.30 and 1.26.30. The recording will be available for 1 month.

As Simon mentioned on the show, he will be giving a public talk on Humanism at the Engaging Issues Forum in Church Stretton on 29th November. For more information, please visit our blog post on the talk.

Simon Nightingale on radio: identity, labelling, prejudice and discrimination – and humanism

Simon_NightingaleSimon Nightingale was on BBC Radio Shropshire on Sunday morning talking about identity, labelling, prejudice and discrimination – and humanism.

If you would like to hear it (available for 7 days) go to and listen on the time line from 1:16:50 to 1:22:00.


Simon Nightingale on radio: Wisdom and tolerance

Simon_NightingaleSimon Nightingale talks about wisdom and tolerance, and how it can be learned from adversity, from 1h:21 to 1h:27 on the timeline. Available until the following Sunday.

Meeting report: Simon Nightingale’s Introduction to Humanism

Simon_NightingaleA talk by Simon Nightingale at the Shropshire Humanist Group Meeting, March 17th.

The first meeting in our new venue, the University Centre in Shrewsbury’s quayside, was full with standing room only for Simon Nightingale’s talk “An Introduction to Humanism”.

After defining what we mean by life stance and religion, Simon showed with statistics that that living without religion was now common, particularly in younger people, and becoming more common. He explained with examples our core humanist beliefs. Firstly, naturalism, which is the philosophical concept that only natural laws and forces are at work in the work, rather than supernatural forces. So it follows that humanists deny that is a hidden transcendental realm of existence with gods, ghosts, spirits etc or, of course, an afterlife. Secondly he discussed, with entertaining examples, our core humanist belief that moral capacity is intrinsic to human nature.

Simon went on to talk about the core humanist value of reason, explaining that discovered truth (using rational thought and the scientific method) always trumps revealed truth (obtained from a holy book or by divine revelation). He briefly reviewed our social attitudes, including our commitment to human rights (both nationally and internationally) and our provision of humanist ceremonies and humanist pastoral work (i.e. secular chaplains). He explained our wish for “state secularism”, so that all beliefs and religions are on a level playing field, but he emphasised that we were not against religion per se and indeed we strongly support religious freedom and oppose religious discrimination.

He ended with an account of how humanists also have “spiritual feelings”, for example in response to great art, the majesty of nature or profound emotions, but that we believe these originate in our minds, our brains, rather than coming from some divine influence. Simon ended with an explanation of how humanists consider the question “What is the meaning of life?” As with spirituality, he showed that meaning and value are human constructs and so can be understood by anyone, rather than needing a priest or holy book.

We had invited many people with religious faith, for example from the field of Religious Education and Interfaith Forums, so Simon was keen to disabuse them of the commonly held myths about humanism and others living without religion. These myths include that we are few in number, that we are against religion, that we have no morality or sense of spirituality or that our lives are without meaning and value. However the talk was mainly for those who live without religion and we were very pleased in the large number of attendees who asked to be kept on our mailing list or were keen to attend our planned Humanism Course later this year.

In our next meeting on 21st April, we shall be discussing some of the issues arising from Simon’s talk.

Simon Nightingale interview on BBC Radio Shropshire, 4 March

Simon_NightingaleSimon says he didn’t have a chance to say all that he would
have liked to say.
To hear it go to:-
and listen on the time line between 2.13.00 and 2.23.00.

17 March meeting: An Introduction to Humanism by Simon Nightingale

BHA logoThursday 17th March at 7.30 pm at University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ.

Humanists believe one can lead a good life and be a good person without religion.  The British Humanist Association with the “happy humanist” logo is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity.

Dr Nightingale, a retired consultant neurologist from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, has been working for humanism for some years, conducting humanist funerals and weddings. He is the humanist representative on the Shrewsbury SACRE – the Local Authority committee that oversees Religious Education and Collective Worship in our Shropshire state schools and is the humanist representative on the Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals Chaplaincy Committee and a member of Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum. Currently he is chair of the Shropshire Humanist Group.

Dr Nightingale says: “I am grateful for the opportunity to explain the basis of humanism and, in particular, to address some of the myths, for example that humanists are anti-religious; not at all, we are non-religious which is very different and indeed we support the rights of those with faith to live as they wish and we collaborate with other religions and interfaith groups, such as The Jubilee Debt Campaign to promote values we share with most moderate religions. Or that living without religion leaves a moral vacuum, or that we are moral relativists and believe that “anything goes”; on the contrary we have strong moral beliefs based on normative ethics and our innate moral instincts. Or that humanists are devoid of any spiritual sense and that their lives are without meaning – I will also show that is far from true”.

The talk is for anyone interested in humanism, whether or not they call themselves a humanist.  For example, those who believe that it is possible to lead a good life and be a good person without religion may find areas of common interest. Those with religious faith who are interested in learning more about a rapidly growing, influential non-religious world view are most welcome.  Teachers involved with Religious Education may find the talk helpful and informative.

In our Aprl meeting on Thursday 21 April we shall follow this up with a discussion.

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