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Humanist Lives, with Alice Roberts

What does it mean to lead a humanist life? Meet and hear stories from humanists around the world. Presented by Alice Roberts.

8,055 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Explore what it means to live as a humanist

Today an increasing number of people around the world describe themselves as humanist. They believe that this is the only life we have, that the world is a natural place with no supernatural side, and that we have the freedom to shape our own lives.

On this course you’ll meet individual humanists from around the world. From their stories, you’ll learn what motivates them, and how they express their humanism. You’ll learn about the questions, choices, challenges, and joys found in a humanist approach to life and have the opportunity to reflect on and evaluate it.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds I’m Alice Roberts. I’m a humanist and I’m President of Humanists UK. I’m also a biologist and anthropologist, and I’ve always been fascinated by human beings. Where do we come from? How did we get here? And what does it mean to be human? Humanists believes that the world is a natural place with no supernatural side. We believe human beings should have the freedom to shape our own lives in the here and now because we believe this is the only life we have. And we believe we have the responsibility to support others to live happy and flourishing lives as well. Well, that might tell us what humanists share but it still leaves many questions open.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds What do you humanists do with their lives? How do we find happiness and fulfillment? And in what ways do we try to support others? This course is your opportunity to meet many different people who describe themselves as humanists. You’ll learn about the questions, choices, challenges, and joys found in a humanist approach to life. We’ll share our experiences and our stories, and you’ll find out what it is that makes us tick. You’ll meet artists, scientists, and politicians, as well as humanist campaigners, celebrants, and pastoral carers. You’ll meet humanists from across the globe, learning what it means to be one of the millions of humanists living around the world today.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds By investigating how different people live out their humanism, you’ll find out about the diverse ways in which humanism can be expressed and about the beliefs and values that unite us. Join us then for an opportunity to meet the people living humanist lives.

What topics will you cover?

  • Humanist ceremonies and the humanist approach to life
  • Humanist campaigning: freedom, human rights, and secularism
  • Humanists around the world: challenges and goals
  • The humanist approach to difficult transitions and suffering
  • Sources of depth, wonder, and meaning in a humanist life
  • Humanists and human progress

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Investigate and explore different humanist approaches to life
  • Identify where there is diversity between humanists and where there are shared beliefs, values, and goals
  • Evaluate the choices and actions of different individual humanists in discussion with others
  • Summarise what it means to live a humanist life
  • Reflect upon one's own approach to life

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone with an interest in how different people choose to live out their lives and for those who wants to develop an understanding of what it means to be a humanist in the 21st century.

It is ideal for teachers and other educators wanting to support their subject knowledge about humanism, and young adults looking to prepare themselves for a degree in the humanities.

If you are interested in life’s big questions, you might also be interested in our other online course Introducing Humanism, in which you’ll have the opportunity to engage in a deeper exploration of the humanist approach to questions around knowledge, ethics, and happiness.

Who will you learn with?

Simon Nightingale is a humanist celebrant, nonreligious pastoral carer and a school speaker for Humanists UK. He is a recently retired consultant neurologist.

Who developed the course?

Humanists UK

A UK charity advancing free thinking and promoting humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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