Inspired by the BHA's excellent Introduction to Humanism video, I thought it would be a good idea for the Human-Etisk Forbund to put together something similar and suggested as much on the Humanister i Akershus Facebook page.
Bjørnar Grønhaug, a fellow humanist, a documentary maker and director, currently working for NRK (Norway's BBC) and Odinfilm, got in touch, saying he’s been wanted do something like it for a long time but never managed to really get anything off the ground. I managed to arrange a meeting with him today to help get the ball rolling and along with the help of HEF’s PR man and Helene Kleppestø, leader of the Humanist Youthorganisation, we now have the critical mass to really make something happen.
I think the folk in the BHA video have done a great job of taking the philosophy underlying the humanist lifestance and making it something relevant and interesting for everyone but Bjørnar’s take is that whilst the BHA video is good it might still be seen as a little dry and aimed at those who are already interested in humanism. His idea for a video for HEF, which I still actually see as an adjunct to an introductory video, rather than a replacement for it, is to make a series of ‘personal portraits’ of everyday people, from all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities, talking about what humanism means to them personally and if and how it influences their way of life day-to-day – to put the ‘human’ back into humanism.
I really like this idea as I’m keen that people understand just how inclusive humanism is; that unlike most, if not all, religions, there are no exclusion criteria; that it isn’t dry philosophising or angry atheism, or 'just another religion'; it’s just about appreciating the power of reason, science, compassion, empathy, love and other wonderful human capacities to help lead happy, good and fulfilling lives. It might also help answer questions often asked of humanists: why we’re more bothered than just saying we don’t believe in god, how humanist thought translates in to action, and what we actually achieve from being part of organisations like HEF or the BHA.
Reading Alom Shaha’s excellent Young Atheist Handbook (which I’m still yet to post a proper review of), really got me thinking about how athiests/humanists from ethnic minority or religious backgrounds should do more to be visible. I won’t claim to be as half as eloquent as Alom, and I risk sounding cheesy or self-aggrandising, but as a British Humanist with Indian parents, now living and working in Norway, I think I have an interesting personal story to tell and I would love to be a part of something that helps create awareness of just how freeing and fulfilling the humanist lifestance is.
We’ve pencilled in a meeting for later this month, where we’ll flesh out ideas in full. Watch this space.