When James Croft spoke at Dorset Humanists in August, he said that the human needs which religion tries to meet don't simply vanish when someone becomes non-religious. They often go unmet. Those three needs, he suggested, are Belonging, Becoming, Beyond: A sense of belonging, the deep relationships with other people and a sense of your place within a community; becoming: the ability to learn and grow, aspiring to live more in line with our highest values; and a connection with something beyond ourselves. I felt a deep sense that all three of these dimensions were being met at the World Humanist Congress in Copenhagen. It was a joyous reunion, a celebration of our humanist values, a sense of belonging to a global family, and a connection, of course, with something much bigger than our individual lives. We hope you will be stimulated by our reports and pictures.
Our main theme this month is 'woke' or 'wokeism' – what it is and whether it is compatible with humanism. There is some timidity about tackling this subject in the humanist community at large, but here at HumSpeak Towers we think that it's too important to brush under the carpet. I hope you will agree that we have succeeded, as usual, in conducting the debate in a vigorous but respectful manner. But if not, you can let us know.
I was personally very sorry to learn of the death of Jim Herrick. He was an excellent writer on atheism and humanism and he spoke at Dorset Humanists in 2006 about how humanists deal with suffering. I think this was shortly after his partner died. I last met up with him at the World Humanist Congress in Oxford in 2014, when he gave me a signed copy of his book The Atheist Centre: Unbound by Cages (2012), which is a brief account of the pioneering Atheist Centre in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, which was founded by the Indian social reformer Goparaju Ramachandra Rao, known as Gora, and still run by his family.
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