Our Vice-Chair Lyn Glass with human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell
Our Vice-Chair Lyn Glass with human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between Humanism and Atheism?

Humanism and atheism is usually two sides of the same coin. Most humanists are also atheists (don’t believe in God) or they may be agnostics (no knowledge of a god). Atheism simply means disbelief in God. Humanism is a living philosophy about how to live a good life, without reference to gods and religious beliefs.

Do humanists celebrate Christmas?

A festival around the time of the winter solstice long predates Christianity. Most humanists celebrate this festival and it’s up to them whether they call it Christmas or something else.

What difference does being a humanist make to your everyday life?

This is probably best answered by each individual. But in general terms, being a humanist means making the most of every day and living in accordance with commonly shared values such as kindness, respect, compassion, courage, and a sense of optimism about what we can achieve together to make the world a better place.

How many humanists are there?

Various surveys now put the non-religious population of the UK at over 50 per cent. A significant proportion of these people, when asked, agree with humanist beliefs about understanding the world through science and living a good life based on commonly shared values of kindness and respect. Humanists UK has about 70,000 members and supporters.

How old is Humanism?

Organised humanism is about 150 years old, originating in 19th century secular societies and ethical societies. Humanistic ideas, however, go back at least 2½ thousands years to Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Epicurus.