With the Humanists

Spent part of this evening with a group of Humanists – arming myself with Cpt 12 of Michael Ramsey’s ‘Christian Priest Today’ in which he quotes Psalm 37 ‘Fret not thyself about the ungodly’.  But of course no fretting required.  They wouldn’t have invited me unless they were a pretty inclusive lot – or maybe they just think I am harmless.   I did my best to disarm them by suggesting that my enemies were not humanists but fundamentalists of all kinds and the indifferent shrug of secularism – and I attempted to shoot all my own foxes before they got to them.  I found it an interesting meeting.  If it leaves me with questions, it is about the apparent willingness of humanists to rely on assumptions about a set of universal human values.  Which suggests, firstly, that you can work out what those might be.  And then one ponders what humanists would do with that group of people who simply tell you where you can put your universal human values – and whether there are limits to tolerance and inclusiveness.  It was also interesting to look at what is I suppose the mixture of strands of belief in many of us.  I believe in human progress –  we celebrate the anniversary of the ending of slavery.  But we seem to make so little headway with the difficult problems – world hunger, wars, relationships – indeed, original sin lurks ..

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