Hester Brown, SELHuG committee member and Humanist Celebrant, had a letter published in the Guardian on the 2nd April in response to an article by John Harris called How do Faithless people like me make sense of this past year of Covid?
You can read Hester’s contribution on the Guardian page here or read the text below:
John Harris highlights the eroded sense of community many of us feel, but part of the solution is to reject the binary of faith/non-faith. Religions did hoover up all the meaning in life – explanations of why it works, and practices for how to do it – but they are not homogeneous. They stretch across a fascinating landscape from monotheistic to “god-in-nature”, and from “ultimate redemption” to living a good life here and now. In that conversation, there have always been non-religious voices, sceptical about the supernatural, using reason and science to understand “why”, and human culture for “how”.
There is a rich philosophy available to everyone who lacks narrative and vocabulary to make sense of life and death: humanism. This is the broad non-religious tradition, stretching back to Aristotle and beyond, which also owns the ideas of love, compassion, truth, justice and hope, which also has ceremonies and builds communities. The difference is that it recognises itself as an ever-evolving conversation, always open to question and with no gatekeepers, no single light or way.
Human rights and interfaith movements are leading the way in recognising equality between religious and non-religious worldviews and celebrating our shared values. Imagine the benefit to our mental health and society if we could end religious divides and belong together.