Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsCongratulations, you've completed Week 1. I hope you've enjoyed the week and it's made you keen to learn more. Over this week we met humanist celebrants and learned about how humanist ceremonies can help us to understand the humanist approach to life more generally. We learned that ritual is not just for the religious, and we discovered how, for humanists, the special moments in our lives are not necessarily bound by tradition but marked in ways that are personal and meaningful to us. From humanist naming celebrants we learned about the importance to humanists that we each have the freedom to choose what we believe and how we should live. And have the opportunity to embrace our talents and inclinations.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 secondsWe learned about the importance humanists place on the need to be the authors of our own stories. From humanist wedding celebrants, we learned about the importance to humanists of having the freedom to write their own vows and to choose where and how they want to celebrate. We also learned about the importance that humanists place upon our connections and relationships with other people given our belief that the source of support in our lives comes from other humans, not from some external force.

Skip to 1 minute and 14 secondsAnd from humanist funeral celebrants, we learned about the humanist focus on the life that has been lived and the belief that the only way anything of us lives on is in the thoughts and memories of those still living and through the lasting contributions we make to the world. Through the rest of this course those themes of freedom, responsibility and connections will return as we encounter many more humanists and learn about how they choose to live their lives. I look forward to seeing you next week. Thank you for taking part.

Life stories: Summary

Well done! You’ve completed Week 1 of the course. Thank you for taking part.

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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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Humanist Lives

Humanists UK