Review: ethical discussions

In April we enjoyed the annual tradition of our ‘ethical/philosophical discussion’ at our monthly meeting. Instead of an external speaker, the meeting was thrown open to discussions about a range of ethical issues and questions; ideas which people brought along to the meeting and were written down and drawn out of a hat.

Interestingly, many of the actual questions were dealt with quite quickly but often the issues that were raised in the process of answering where subject to lots more discussion, impossible to summarise here! To give a flavour of the evening, some of the questions or topics were:

A couple of political questions. Is it ethical for parties to renege on some promises to gain greater long term influence? Should one vote for the party, the party leader or the local candidate?
A couple of questions about vegetarianism and what choices individuals and restaurants can/should make.
Should all Humanists be feminists?
Can you be a pagan atheist?
Should Humanists share a platform with religious people on issues like abortion if they agree?
Should you go along with religious observance (e.g. bowing head at prayers) when with those people?

The evening was interesting and enjoyable. It was commented that, as Humanists, it is good that we can discuss some of these topics in a frank and open but respectful way. The importance of using reason and compassion to reach personal decisions was emphasised by many attendees.