Online course in Politics & the Modern World

Humanist Lives

What does it mean to lead a humanist life? Find out by meeting humanists from around the world and hearing their stories.

  • Duration 6 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $69 Find out more

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 secondsI'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 secondsWhat 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 secondsBy 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

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 9 Sep 2019

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.

Who will you learn with?

Luke Donnellan

Luke Donnellan

I'm Director of Understanding Humanism at Humanists UK

Teddy Prout

Teddy Prout

A former teacher and professional musician, I am now the Director of Community Services at Humanists UK. I have a keen interest in history, philosophy, and music.

Isabel Russo

Isabel Russo

Hello! I'm Head of Ceremonies at Humanists UK, responsible for our growing network of over 425 trained and accredited celebrants in England, Wales, NI and the Channel Islands.

Richy Thompson

Richy Thompson

Hi, I'm the Director of Public Affairs and Policy at Humanists UK. That means I oversee all our campaigns work, our lobbying in Westminster and elsewhere, our legal work, and our media work.

Bob Churchill

Bob Churchill

Director of Communications & Campaigns, Humanists International

Who developed the course?

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

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