Humanists are people who shape their lives in the here and now, because we believe it’s the only life we have. We make sense of the world through logic, reason, and evidence, and always seek to treat those around us with warmth, understanding, and respect.
At Northern Ireland Humanists, we work to bring non-religious people together to develop their own views and an understanding of the world around them. Together, our networks of activists are involved in a range of charitable services which help us to create lasting change for a better society, as well as creating spaces for like-minded people to come together and share ideas.
Building non-religious communities has always been one of our aims, but the way that we do this has changed over the last century. Today, humanist communities meet on various platforms – including both online and in person – and our local humanist activity occurs through various events, activities, and socials organised through our various sections and networks. These avenues provide opportunities for non-religious people to take an interest in our campaigns and services, and to get active on a local level with the many social and political issues that humanists care about, and we are always looking for people to set up more of them.
Our sections support specific communities like Defence Humanists for non-religious armed forces personnel and their families, LGBT Humanists, and apostates (those who need support having left a high control religion). These sections and programmes of Humanists UK offer a sense of community to their members, and a shared voice.
Our section Young Humanists represents and supports humanists aged 18-35 through social events around the UK, including gigs, comedy nights, brunches, board games nights, and networking events. Whether you’ve just left education, are working your way up the career ladder, or are raising a family (or all three!), Young Humanists is designed for you.
If you are in Higher Education, Humanist Students is our student section, bringing together non-religious and humanist students and societies across the country. Humanist Students leads our organisation on campuses and is headed up by a directly elected President, chosen by the student members of Humanists UK.
In service of the wider community, our trained celebrants are increasingly asked to devise and officiate at civic ceremonies like mayoral installations, remembrance days, and other occasions. The secular and inclusive nature of these services gives everyone the space to reflect in a meaningful way.
Today our most visible community service is the provision of humanist ceremonies for the non-religious – including funerals, weddings, and naming ceremonies. We have led the way in the last few decades, and today over a million people attend a humanist ceremony in the UK each year. In 2018, humanist weddings were legally recognised in Northern Ireland, and we conduct hundreds of marriages each year. All our ceremonies are meaningful and personalised to those who are involved in them.
In recent years, we have also developed models of non-religious pastoral support, especially in areas where religious people have the benefit of a chaplain, like prisons and hospitals.
Our education work is critical in making sure that young people have a strong and clear understanding of a morally fulfilling non-religious worldview, and how people who hold this worldview live their lives. From school visitors,, to our Massive Open Online Courses, we provide resources, educational material, and expertise to support teachers, parents, and pupils in better understanding humanism.
Another area of our work is dialogue, building links and promoting mutual understanding between non-religious people and members of religious communities.
We are always keen to develop our work to provide more of what people want. If you have an idea or a need, let us know.