The British Humanist Association (BHA) has launched a month long social media campaign to raise awareness of Humanism today.
At the centre of the ‘That’s Humanism!’ campaign are four short animated YouTube videos narrated by Stephen Fry. They each give a humanist response to a ‘big question’: ‘How do we know what’s true?’, ‘What should we think about death?’, ‘How can I be happy?’, and ‘What makes something right or wrong?’
In addition, a range of online adverts featuring humanists from George Eliot to Terry Pratchett, Ricky Gervais, Polly Toynbee, Charles Darwin, and others, will be released one a day over the coming month on Twitter and Facebook.
‘We were founded in 1896 and Britain has changed enormously in that time. In the 1890s, nearly 30% of the population attended a morning church service and over 13% an evening one, now less than 5% of the population attend on weekly basis. Then, a majority thought of themselves as part of the Church of England, now only 20% say they are, and almost 50% say they have no religion. Most people in the UK are not believing, practising, religious people – they think of themselves as non-religious.
‘Most non-religious people are happy and secure living ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. To them we are simply reaching out, letting them know that there is a word for what they believe and an organisation of people that shares their values.
‘For some others, our message is more serious. Many people without religious beliefs can lack confidence. Perhaps they have had a religious upbringing and, having moved away from it, are now not sure where to find meaning in this life and values to live by. Maybe they are still embedded in family or community surroundings which are inhospitable to their beliefs. Perhaps they have lived quite happily without really needing to think about these issues for many years but now new circumstances have brought these issues out: the need to think about the education of a new child, experience of bereavement, or just the coming of an introspective moment in the course of their own lives. To these people we are offering comfort, a way of thinking about life that will fit with their own non-religious approach, and the knowledge that their deepest beliefs, though perhaps unsystematic and implicit, are coherent and respectable. These beliefs have a name – humanist. They are the beliefs of millions of people in this country and worldwide, they have inspired some of the greatest men and woman for thousands of years.
‘We know from our experience that Humanism strikes a chord with many people when they hear of it – they suddenly realise that they have been humanists all their lives – and we hope that many thousands of new people will come to that realisation as a result of this new campaign.’
The campaign will run on the BHA’s main website at humanists.uk/thatshumanism as well as on the BHA Twitter account at twitter.com/BHAhumanists using the hashtag #humanist and the BHA’s Facebook page at facebook.com/humanism.