We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip main navigation

Life Stories: Introduction

Watch Alice Roberts introduce humanist ceremonies and the humanist approach to life
5.5
Humanists believe that this is the one life we have, we don’t get another one after it. So it’s essential that we make the most of this one life. We don’t go through life alone, other people are very important to us. It’s often the experiences that we share that bring meaning and structure to our lives. This week we’ll learn about what happens at humanist ceremonies and we’ll use that as a way to explore the humanist approach to life. We’ll look at how
36.1
humanists might mark three major milestones: Birth, marriage and death. So how do humanist ceremonies reflect the belief that we need to make the most of the one life we have? What happens at a humanist wedding? How are they made meaningful for the couple? And what’s the focus of a humanist funeral, given that humanists don’t believe that we have another life after this one? To help you explore some of these questions, we’ll meet humanist celebrants who are responsible for conducting naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals. We’ll find out what motivates them to do what they do, and through their stories we’ll learn how humanist ceremonies can give us an insight into the humanist approach to life more generally.
81.8
Hopefully by the end of the week you’ll have developed an understanding of what it might mean to a humanist to live a good life.
This week we’ll learn about the importance to humanists of being able to tell a story about our life. That story may not always be exciting, glamorous, or heroic, but it will be our story, and it is this story that provides our lives with a sense of meaning.
Through the work of celebrants, responsible for taking humanist ceremonies, we’ll discover how, for humanists, it is important that we are the authors of our own stories. We’ll hear how stories can help to bind families and communities and support us to build connections. And we’ll learn how humanists believe that, although we do not survive our deaths, our stories can live on after we are gone.
This article is from the free online

Humanist Lives, with Alice Roberts

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education