In the process of upgrading myself from Atheist to Radical Atheist (after that it’s Angry Atheist then Person-you-cross-the-street-to-avoid), I thought I’d check out some of the relevant organizations in the UK. There seems to be two main ones: British Humanist Association (“for the one life we have”) and the National Secular Society (“challenging religious privilege”).
Secular? Humanist? I’m not sure what those terms really mean. To save you a couple of clicks, here’s the definitions you’ll find in Wikipedia:
Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that upholds human reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism, pseudoscience and superstition.
And for Secularism:
Secularism is generally the assertion that certain practices or institutions should exist separately from religion or religious belief. […] In the extreme, it is an ideology that holds that religion has no place in public life.
I joined both the BHA and the NSS to figure out if either of them are worth supporting. My apologies to the organizers if any of this is harsh, but it’s the impression I’ve gained, rightly or wrongly…
The NSS is, in essence, a news feed. It organizes some events that look good, but I don’t actually see it doing anything as such. The newsletter I get though the post seems mostly self-congratulatory. I won’t be renewing a membership there.
The BHA looks like a political lobbying organization. I’m not sure I’m particularly fond of lobbying, but if that’s the game that needs to be played, so be it. They turn up to party conferences and talk to people, they give you the information you need if you want to take any action, they’re the ones who seem to be doing something. They can count on my continued support.
There’s also a Brighton and Hove Humanist Society, which I know nothing about.