'Humanism' Care to define it?
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19-02-2014, 10:27 PM
'Humanism' Care to define it?
Hey guys,

My fiancé and I plan to marry in the next few years. I want my friend Callum to perform the service and was curious about the law. Specifically, is there a way in the UK he can get certified, qualified or ordained to perform secular weddings. I now know that it can be done in Scotland but not England, Ireland and Wales. We are going to perform the legal part in a registry office and then go to Italy with a small party and have a secular service. We will already be legally married so that's cool, my friend can perform a service over there to mark the occasion. The guests will stay a few days, my partner and I will stay there for a few weeks so all of that is sorted.

The real reason for this post is because I had contacted the Durham Humanists Society via e mail for information about secular wedding practice in England. I had also enquired in the e mail about the Humanist movement in the North East. The lady got back to me promptly with the wedding info and a calendar of activities for their society, as I had expressed an interest. It seems cool and I am fairly certain I will pop along to an event at some point. The thing is, I understand humanism takes atheist values and seems to have a political agenda, looking at their activities list and whilst I have been aware of 'humanism' for a long time, I don't know anyone personally who defines themselves as such, is my understanding that a humanist is a politically minded atheist, or am I missing something? Does anyone on here define themselves as humanist? If yes or no for that matter, why?

Obviously I will be doing my own research about this prior to going but I would love to hear from our esteemed forum members on the matter!

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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19-02-2014, 11:06 PM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
(19-02-2014 10:27 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Hey guys,

My fiancé and I plan to marry in the next few years. I want my friend Callum to perform the service and was curious about the law. Specifically, is there a way in the UK he can get certified, qualified or ordained to perform secular weddings. I now know that it can be done in Scotland but not England, Ireland and Wales. We are going to perform the legal part in a registry office and then go to Italy with a small party and have a secular service. We will already be legally married so that's cool, my friend can perform a service over there to mark the occasion. The guests will stay a few days, my partner and I will stay there for a few weeks so all of that is sorted.

The real reason for this post is because I had contacted the Durham Humanists Society via e mail for information about secular wedding practice in England. I had also enquired in the e mail about the Humanist movement in the North East. The lady got back to me promptly with the wedding info and a calendar of activities for their society, as I had expressed an interest. It seems cool and I am fairly certain I will pop along to an event at some point. The thing is, I understand humanism takes atheist values and seems to have a political agenda, looking at their activities list and whilst I have been aware of 'humanism' for a long time, I don't know anyone personally who defines themselves as such, is my understanding that a humanist is a politically minded atheist, or am I missing something? Does anyone on here define themselves as humanist? If yes or no for that matter, why?

Obviously I will be doing my own research about this prior to going but I would love to hear from our esteemed forum members on the matter!

Surely there are marriage celebrants in the UK. We have them here and they provide the secular ritual of marriage.

Humanism is not necessarily atheistic, there are religious humanists. The first people to be described as "humanist" were actually Roman Catholics. A politically minded atheist can be a humanist but that is not what humanism is generally considered to be about.

At its broadest, when something is described as humanist or humanistic it is anthropocentric, but in a positive sense of that word. Anthropocentrism is generally considered to be something bad but humanism suggests otherwise. Again, in broad terms, humanism tends to emphasize human dignity above other things. The term humanism is most often prefixed with an adjective rather than used alone, e.g. secular humanism, which is an atheistic form of humanism and probably what you are after.

See here.
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19-02-2014, 11:41 PM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
(19-02-2014 10:27 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  ... I want my friend Callum to perform the service and was curious about the law. Specifically, is there a way in the UK he can get certified, qualified or ordained to perform secular weddings ...
Isn't marriage accomplished by obtaining the license from the government? If whomever is conducting the ceremony is the one granting governmental approval and thus the license, I doubt there's any kind of religious qualification that has to be met. Sea captains have the authority to pronounce a marriage, for example.

But I think to get married all that's necessary is procuring the license down at city hall. Any ceremony is optional, and once the license is obtained whomever conducts the ceremony needs no government sanction of any kind.

Or am I wrong? I haven't traversed that path yet myself so haven't studied the map.
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20-02-2014, 12:53 PM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
(19-02-2014 11:41 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(19-02-2014 10:27 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  ... I want my friend Callum to perform the service and was curious about the law. Specifically, is there a way in the UK he can get certified, qualified or ordained to perform secular weddings ...
Isn't marriage accomplished by obtaining the license from the government? If whomever is conducting the ceremony is the one granting governmental approval and thus the license, I doubt there's any kind of religious qualification that has to be met. Sea captains have the authority to pronounce a marriage, for example.

But I think to get married all that's necessary is procuring the license down at city hall. Any ceremony is optional, and once the license is obtained whomever conducts the ceremony needs no government sanction of any kind.

Or am I wrong? I haven't traversed that path yet myself so haven't studied the map.

You *can* get humanists to 'officiate' at wedding ceremonies in UK - just look up Humanism UK. If you find a willing vicar, you even get married in a church and sing 'all you need is love' instead of a hymn - that's what they did at a wedding I attended. But it did cost £500 for the humanist services. Why not just got to a register office ... or save your money and just have a party and not get married at all?

Moodie x
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21-02-2014, 01:33 AM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
Humanist is what people call themselves to appear extremely nice to the people around em to raise their own egos.
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21-02-2014, 02:01 AM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
Hi Monster
I'm a fellow Brit and have a little bit of experience in this.
When we got married 6 years ago, we considered a 'humanist' ceremony but in the end decided it wasn't necessary.
We 'got married' in our garden here in France, my brother in law (my brother's husband!) was the celebrant because he is lovely and has a clear voice and we made our 'vows' which we had written ourselves.
Then we trooped off to the town hall and did the legal thing which took about 10 minutes and had no mention of any magical sky fairies and then had a massive party which lasted til 4.30 a.m.
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21-02-2014, 02:11 AM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
Humanism ...

A bit bigger than Racism.

Any time. No need to thank me.

Thumbsup

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21-02-2014, 09:03 AM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
(19-02-2014 11:06 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(19-02-2014 10:27 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  Hey guys,

My fiancé and I plan to marry in the next few years. I want my friend Callum to perform the service and was curious about the law. Specifically, is there a way in the UK he can get certified, qualified or ordained to perform secular weddings. I now know that it can be done in Scotland but not England, Ireland and Wales. We are going to perform the legal part in a registry office and then go to Italy with a small party and have a secular service. We will already be legally married so that's cool, my friend can perform a service over there to mark the occasion. The guests will stay a few days, my partner and I will stay there for a few weeks so all of that is sorted.

The real reason for this post is because I had contacted the Durham Humanists Society via e mail for information about secular wedding practice in England. I had also enquired in the e mail about the Humanist movement in the North East. The lady got back to me promptly with the wedding info and a calendar of activities for their society, as I had expressed an interest. It seems cool and I am fairly certain I will pop along to an event at some point. The thing is, I understand humanism takes atheist values and seems to have a political agenda, looking at their activities list and whilst I have been aware of 'humanism' for a long time, I don't know anyone personally who defines themselves as such, is my understanding that a humanist is a politically minded atheist, or am I missing something? Does anyone on here define themselves as humanist? If yes or no for that matter, why?

Obviously I will be doing my own research about this prior to going but I would love to hear from our esteemed forum members on the matter!

Surely there are marriage celebrants in the UK. We have them here and they provide the secular ritual of marriage.

Humanism is not necessarily atheistic, there are religious humanists. The first people to be described as "humanist" were actually Roman Catholics. A politically minded atheist can be a humanist but that is not what humanism is generally considered to be about.

At its broadest, when something is described as humanist or humanistic it is anthropocentric, but in a positive sense of that word. Anthropocentrism is generally considered to be something bad but humanism suggests otherwise. Again, in broad terms, humanism tends to emphasize human dignity above other things. The term humanism is most often prefixed with an adjective rather than used alone, e.g. secular humanism, which is an atheistic form of humanism and probably what you are after.

See here.

Great stuff Chippy, yes, I was indeed referring to secular humanism. That link has explained a lot for me and is exactly what I was looking for. There are three main points of interest in there on a light note too!

1. The explanation of the term 'platonic friendship' is fascinating.
2. Machiavelli is a complete shit by the sounds of it. Obviously an intensely intelligent person though. I would like to read the stuff he wrote that the Catholics banned.
3. Looking at the definition, I have decided you Chippy, are the 'Renaissance Man' of the TTA forum. Hahaha.

There are celebrants in the UK but only the Scottish celebrants have the legal authority of a superintendent registrar. Only the superintendent registrar, or a representative of a recognised religion can perform the legal contractual part of a wedding in England, not a celebrant. In Scotland a celebrant can. They register nationally and with their local authority annually to do so. Currently the British Humanist Association and a few other groups are lobbying the government to allow celebrants to hold legal authority in England and Wales also.

For us, it isn't about that, we don't just want 'a' celebrant so to speak. We want our friend Callum to conduct the service specifically. This is what lead me to look in to all of this because we were going to pay for him to get whatever documentation or qualifications needed to be able to conduct weddings, so he could do ours and then anyone elses in the future if he so chooses. The British Humanist Association offer a nationally recognised qualification for humanist and secular celebrants, it costs about £2, 500. Even though Callum wouldn't currently be able to perform the contractual part of a wedding service he would be a trained celebrant. I also think that the way things are going in this country that it's only a matter of time before secular/humanist celebrants have legal authority and I would imagine the qualification will be a prerequisite so I think we will go ahead with getting him through the training.

The legal problems seem to arise in England through the various revisions legally of marriage law, there are some archaic laws in there from the 17th century onwards that need reviewing but like I say. I'm fairly sure it will happen at some point.

Thanks again for the info Mr Renaissance! Tongue

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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21-02-2014, 09:06 AM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
(19-02-2014 11:41 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  
(19-02-2014 10:27 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  ... I want my friend Callum to perform the service and was curious about the law. Specifically, is there a way in the UK he can get certified, qualified or ordained to perform secular weddings ...
Isn't marriage accomplished by obtaining the license from the government? If whomever is conducting the ceremony is the one granting governmental approval and thus the license, I doubt there's any kind of religious qualification that has to be met. Sea captains have the authority to pronounce a marriage, for example.

But I think to get married all that's necessary is procuring the license down at city hall. Any ceremony is optional, and once the license is obtained whomever conducts the ceremony needs no government sanction of any kind.

Or am I wrong? I haven't traversed that path yet myself so haven't studied the map.

You need a superintendent registrar present, or religious representative and two witnesses present to do part that makes it legal. Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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21-02-2014, 09:08 AM
RE: 'Humanism' Care to define it?
(20-02-2014 12:53 PM)Moodie Wrote:  
(19-02-2014 11:41 PM)Airportkid Wrote:  Isn't marriage accomplished by obtaining the license from the government? If whomever is conducting the ceremony is the one granting governmental approval and thus the license, I doubt there's any kind of religious qualification that has to be met. Sea captains have the authority to pronounce a marriage, for example.

But I think to get married all that's necessary is procuring the license down at city hall. Any ceremony is optional, and once the license is obtained whomever conducts the ceremony needs no government sanction of any kind.

Or am I wrong? I haven't traversed that path yet myself so haven't studied the map.

You *can* get humanists to 'officiate' at wedding ceremonies in UK - just look up Humanism UK. If you find a willing vicar, you even get married in a church and sing 'all you need is love' instead of a hymn - that's what they did at a wedding I attended. But it did cost £500 for the humanist services. Why not just got to a register office ... or save your money and just have a party and not get married at all?

Moodie x

Getting married helps with certain legal aspects. We want kids too, so there's that. ... I'm led to believe it's romantic too Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

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