You may feel that religion is increasingly irrelevant to life in the 21st century, a hangover from a time when people weren’t encouraged to think for themselves, and that we should assert positive human values free from superstition.
Enough is enough, you might think – and so do we.
You’re not alone; there are millions of others like you.
Alternatives to religion
More and more people are now saying they don’t identify with a religion.
More and more people aren’t going to church, temples or mosques saying prayers or doing any of the things religion tells them to.
But more and more people are finding alternative ways to express their beliefs and share what they think is important with others.
Some of those ways are explained here:
If you’re an atheist, it means you don’t believe in any god.
Many choose to describe themselves as atheists. Some people might even describe themselves as atheist even though they belong to a religion – maybe because their parents were religious, sometimes just because they enjoy the culture.
But calling yourself atheist doesn’t say what you do believe in, only what you don’t.
Find out more…
These websites all offer more guidance and reading-
Humanists believe that:
*.we can gain knowledge through scientific research and looking at the natural world – what is real, what we can see and touch
*.this one life is all we know we have
*.our morality (our sense of right and wrong) comes from our human nature and culture
*.what is right is what promotes human welfare and fulfilment
*.we can and should create meaning and purpose in life
Many people hear this list and say”well, I guess I’m a Humanist”. Maybe it’s you as well. Most Humanists don’t believe in God or belong to any religion, but call themselves Humanist because they share these values.
Humanism is older than all the religions.
There have been humanists since the beginning of recorded history, all over the world, though the word “Humanism” has only been used to describe our beliefs and values since the 19th century. These ideas have been recorded in Europe, from the 6th century BCE to about 6th century CE, in China from the 6th century BCE onwards, in India from the 6th century CE onwards, in the Arab world from the 12th century CE, and in the Western world from the 17th century CE to the present day.
People of religion usually inherit their beliefs from their families, depending on their culture. Humanists have always worked things out for themselves, and we’re still doing it now. For this reason, we’re sometimes called “freethinkers” because that’s what we do – we think freely, rather than believing.
The symbol of Humanism is the Happy Human, shown above, and this page was put together by a Humanist group.
Agnostics believe that it’s not possible to know for sure whether there is a god or not – there is always a bit of doubt when we talk about what we believe in, particularly when it comes to religion.
Agnostics may share many values with Humanists – such as the desire to keep inquiring and asking questions – but they allow for the possibility that some kind of god exists. It’s possible to believe in a god of some kind without being religious, and many people do.
Secularism is the idea that government and human activites, mainly political activities, should be kept separate from religion. You’re more likely to call yourself a secularist if that is important to you, even if you’re religious – and many religious people are also secularists. Secularists want:
*.a tolerant open society where no group (including religious groups) has unfair influence over others
*.mutual respect and equality for all people
*.no one view of the universe but lots of views
*.all people to be able to realise their potential.
What’s wrong with being religious?
For a start,religion can be divisive– Christians against Muslims, Catholics against Protestants, and so on. History is full of examples of people killing one another in the name of their religions.
When children go to faith schools, they may have very little contact with children from other faiths, as has happened in Northern Ireland, which leads to a lack of understanding, even hatred. If people didn’t try to impose their beliefs on others, it probably wouldn’t be a problem, but too many people do. We’re opposed to children being labelled with the faith of their parents. We think they should be allowed to grow up and make up their own minds. There’s no such thing as a Christian baby, or a Muslim baby, or an Atheist baby – babies are just babies.
JUST MAKE A SEARCH IN GOOGLE TO FIND HOW PEOPLE’S RAPIDLY LEAVING RELIGIONS & ACCEPTING “HUMANISM” HUMAN VALUES ABOVE ALL RELIGIONS.