The plural society
The religion and belief landscape in modern Britain, and in many countries in the West, is more complex and diverse than ever before. (We will explore this ever-changing picture in more detail next week.)
This unprecedented situation brings many potential challenges: a lack of social cohesion, uninformed generalisations about ‘The Other’, racial prejudice masked as faith-based prejudice, declining institutions defending their privileges, and conflicting values. So how can humanists respond?
Typically, humanists will approach this state of affairs in three main ways:
- They will argue for the type of secular state in which the human right to freedom of thought and expression is guaranteed, where there is no religious privilege, and where everyone is treated equally regardless of religion or belief.
- They will work for high quality education about religions and beliefs – including humanism – so that young people are equipped for life in a plural society.
- They will engage in and promote dialogue with people with different approaches to life to build mutual understanding, identify common ground, and, where it makes sense, engage in shared action.
We will explore each of these over the next few steps.