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Editor’s Welcome

Our main theme this month is “community”. This term is often applied to minority groups, such as “the LGBTQ+ community” or “the Muslim community”. We may also have a sense of belonging to “the humanist community”. But this glib phrase can conceal the fact that humanism has always tended to push in the opposite direction. Humanists believe in the autonomy of the self, personal authenticity, self-actualisation and so forth. Belonging to a community of any sort inevitably puts constraints on such individualistic pursuits. But taken to extremes, our desire for unencumbered freedom can result in loneliness, isolation, loss of social capital, and epidemics of mental ill-health.

Anthony Lewis has written compellingly this month about loneliness and how an absence of connection can have a profoundly negative impact on our mental health and feelings of wellbeing. In her article on community volunteering, Maggie Hall writes “It’s good to know that by volunteering I’m reducing my arthritis pain, warding off dementia, learning a lot about others and increasing my general well-being.” Simon Whipple describes how Christian churches have supported his sons in numerous ways and he asks whether humanist groups can become “secular parishes”. In a similar vein, I write about humanist groups and the importance of building humanist communities. Aaron takes the global view and asks whether humanity can put its differences aside to become one planetary community.

Our guest writers include John Collins whose journey from Pentecostal Christianity is the basis for his compelling life story. I'm also delighted to welcome back our humanist friend from Canada, Dr Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, and his co-writer Edan Tasca, who offer a penetrating analysis of the phenomenon of Wokism which they describe as a secular religion. Following on from our democracy theme last month, Karl Singarvelan Raha offers a critique of India’s BJP, and Simon Bowden presents some humanist views on trade unions.

As usual, Humanistically Speaking is packed with thought-provoking articles and we hope you will share them on social media. You’re also free to republish them in your own humanist newsletters and elsewhere, as long as you credit the author and provide a link to Humanistically Speaking. For more details, refer to our Creative Commons licence by following the links at the bottom of this and every other page.

We’ll be taking a well-earned break in July but we will be back on 1st August. If you’d like to contribute an article or news report, do get in touch.

Humanistically Speaking is a volunteer-produced, passion-fuelled, grassroots humanist magazine and we'd love to reach as many people around the world as possible. Thank you for your encouragement and support.

David Warden

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