Life stories: Summary

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This week

This week, we met humanist celebrants and, through their stories about birth, marriage, and death, we’ve been given an introduction to the humanist approach to life. We’ve heard about the value humanists place on the stories that connect us, help structure our lives, and reveal who we are.

Let’s summarise what we have learned:

  1. Rituals are not just for the religious. They can help bring a sense of narrative to our lives and can bring people and communities together. Humanists believe that rituals should be authentic and meaningful to the people involved.
  2. Humanist naming ceremonies reflect the humanist belief that this is the one life we have and we should therefore make the most of it. Humanists believe we should be free to choose our own path in life, that we should be the authors of our own story.
  3. Humanist namings allow family and friends the opportunity to reflect on our changing roles as we travel through life and on the responsibilities we have towards other people.
  4. Humanist weddings reflect the humanist belief that we should be able to mark the important moments in our lives in ways that are personal and meaningful to us rather than being bound by tradition.
  5. Humanist weddings express the understanding that our only source of support is the other people in our lives.
  6. The focus of a humanist funeral is on the story of a person’s life and the honest recognition that that life has ended.
  7. Through opportunities to reveal the memories we hold of the person who has died, a humanist funeral draws attention to the way the impact of our life can survive our death.
  8. The humanist approach to life draws attention to the value of freedom, a sense of responsibility, and the importance of connections.

This summary step is a good space to ask any questions you still have in the comments area and to take the opportunity to help out your fellow learners with their queries.

Next week

Next week we will turn our attention to humanist campaigners. We will hear about where they feel the injustices in society lie, particularly those restrictions that deny us the personal autonomy to be the authors of our own story. We’ll learn about what motivates these humanists and about the work they are doing to guarantee what they believe are the necessary freedoms for us all to live full and flourishing lives.

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This video is from the free online course:

Humanist Lives

Humanists UK