Course content

Introducing humanism: non-religious approaches to life is a six-week course.

Week 1: Humanism and the human being
Week 2: Understanding reality
Week 3: Making life meaningful
Week 4: Being good
Week 5: Humanism in practice: a better world?
Week 6: What is humanism?

We will begin, this week, with an investigation into the humanist understanding of human beings. This should help you to ground the humanist responses to many of the questions covered later in the course. In Week 2, we will explore a humanist approach to knowledge about the world and the consequences for a humanist understanding of reality. We will follow this by tackling the question of how we should live, approaching it from three distinct but connected perspectives: ourselves, our relationships with others, and society and the planet as a whole (Weeks 3-5). Finally, in Week 6, we will draw together what we have learned throughout the course in an attempt to reflect upon what conclusions we can reach about what humanism is.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…

  • Investigate and explore humanist beliefs, values, and goals
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the humanist worldview
  • Apply what one has learned in discussion with others
  • Evaluate the humanist approach to life
  • Reflect upon one’s own approach and answers to life’s big questions

At the top of the page, by clicking ‘To Do’, you’ll be able to return to an overview of the course. By clicking ‘Progress’ you’ll be able to see the progress bar, which will show you how far through the course you are. Don’t forget to tick the ‘Mark as Complete’ button at the bottom of the page every time you complete a step.

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You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including: Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn. A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible. Find out more

Further reading

Keep an eye out for downloads and links to further reading at the bottom of each step. This material is not essential to complete the course but will provide a valuable opportunity to deepen your understanding of the course content.

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Social learning: discussions and comments

There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss the content with other learners. This shared reflection should provide an invaluable opportunity for you to share your understanding and reactions to the course material, read how others have interpreted it, and discuss the questions raised. Comments do not need to be long well-thought-out essays. Often short thoughts or questions can provoke interesting avenues of conversation.

Discussing the material can often be the best way to clarify your own thinking on a topic and will enable you to listen to and reflect upon alternative viewpoints. The big questions explored in the course are always likely to provoke argument and disagreement. It is fine to critique each other’s contributions, and learners should not see disagreement as a personal attack, but please try to disagree constructively and in a way that treats other learners with respect. Remember you are there to help each other. Please see the FutureLearn Code of Conduct for further information and note that any comments that you consider to involve unacceptable behaviour can be flagged for the FutureLearn moderators’ attention.

There will often be a question at the end of a step, which will provide a stimulus to provoke conversation on the content. Responses can be written in the comments at the bottom of the page. Other Discussion steps will provide more focused opportunities for discussion.

At the end of each week you will find a Summary step. This is a good place to ask any questions you still have about the week’s content and to help each other out. Hopefully many of the questions raised by learners in earlier steps will be addressed in later steps of the course. However, the summary step is a good space to discuss any outstanding questions.

You can find further information about how to sort and ‘like’ comments, how to follow other learners, and how best to take advantage of the social learning opportunities available here.

Why not share your first thoughts by answering the question below in the comments at the bottom of the page?

Question: What are you hoping to get out of the course?

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This article is from the free online course:

Introducing Humanism: Non-religious Approaches to Life

Humanists UK