Different countries in Europe have different histories, different institutions, different assumptions. The outlook and beliefs of non-religious people are naturally subject to these variations.
In countries where the church remains very strong there is more emphasis on rejection of religion and its claims. In others, where rejection of religious belief is more common, there is more emphasis on a positive philosophy of Humanism.
In countries with a ‘pillar’ constitution (where the state recognises and subsidises the institutions of the principal religions and beliefs, sometimes including Humanism, roughly in proportion to their numbers) state neutrality in matters of religion and belief is seen as sufficient; in others, the need for a total separation of church and state is high on the agenda.
Whatever the differences if emphasis, we are united in our basic beliefs about the world and how we should live. Our view of the world is naturalistic: there is no need for supernatural or transcendent explanations. We believe this is the only life we have: within it we can and should make meaning for ourselves. Our morality is based on our communal lives and how best to live them so as to maximise fulfilment and minimise suffering. And, this life being the only one we have, we value each individual human life highly and see human rights and democracy as of fundamental importance.
The websites of our Member Organisations offer much detailed information about the philosophy and history of Humanism and secularism (laicité), as does the website of the worldwide organisation, the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
This content last updated 24 January 2013 @ 2:08 pm