Milton Keynes Humanists provides a means for like-minded individuals in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas to meet and have a forum for the discussion of humanist values, principles and relevant subjects. We also aim to raise awareness of humanist perspectives.
And if you were wondering ... a Humanist is a person who has a strong interest in or concern for human welfare and values, and for promoting human dignity.
If you want to listen in to some of the internal debates that are going on within the group and take our 'pulse', log into and 'like' our Facebook page. Enjoy!
N e x t M e e t i n g
The EU Referendum
Thurs 9th June 2016 [19.00 - 21.15]
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union to be held on Thursday 23 June. At our JUNE MEETING we will be debating whether we should stay in or leave. We will also be reporting on recent developments in the group and elsewhere.
The question on the ballot paper — which was proposed by The Electoral Commission and has been accepted by MPs is: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" The options for voters will be 'Remain a member of the European Union' and 'Leave the European Union'.
British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK will be able to vote, along with UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years. (Members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar will also be eligible, unlike in a general election but citizens from EU countries — apart from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus — will not get a vote.)
Why a referendum is being held: Britain had a referendum in 1975 shortly after joined the EU (the Common Market, as it was then called). The country voted to stay in but there have been growing calls, from the public and politicians, for another vote because, they argue, the EU has changed a lot over the past 40 years, with many more countries joining and the organisation extending its control over more aspects of daily lives.
BREXIT: According to opinion polls the British public is fairly evenly split on the issue. The UK Independence Party campaigns for BREXIT along with about half of Conservative MPs, including a number of cabinet ministers; several Labour MPs and the DUP are also in favour of leaving. They believe Britain is being held back by the EU, which they say imposes too many rules on business and charges billions of pounds a year in membership fees for little in return. They also want Britain to take back full control of its borders and reduce the number of people coming here to work. (One of the main principles of EU membership is ‘free movement’, which means you don't need to get a visa to go and live in another EU country. They also object to the idea of ‘ever closer union’ and any ultimate goal to create a ‘United States of Europe’.)
REMAIN: The Prime Minister wants Britain to stay in the EU, now he has got some powers back from it, and the majority of his cabinet also back staying in. The Conservative Party has pledged to be neutral in the campaign but the Labour Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems are all in favour of staying in. They believe Britain gets a big boost from EU membership — it makes selling things to other EU countries easier and, they argue, the flow of immigrants, most of whom are young and keen to work, fuels economic growth and helps pay for public services. They also believe Britain's status in the world would be damaged by leaving and that we are more secure as part of the bloc.
We will be looking at the issues, and who’s advocating what, at our meeting and lots more besides.
All of our meetings are open and inclusive.
MK Humanist meetings are open to anyone who is genuinely interested:
they are free and there is no obligation to become a member!
Here are some photos of famous people, dead and alive, who have rejected the idea of a 'god'. How many can you identify?
Click here for details of our 2016 PROGRAMME (Provisional) .
I n t r o d u c t i o n to H u m a n i s m
If you'd like to watch a short video introduction to Humanism prepared by the British Humanist Association (BHA) go to this link: www.youtube.com/watch. The video lasts 5 minutes and includes interviews with Philip Pullman, AC Grayling, Polly Toynbee, Tim Minchin, Andrew Copson, Richard Dawkins, Rumy Hasan and Zoe Margolis. We can also recommend the companion video which deals with secularism and the BHA: www.youtube.com/watch.
And if you'd like a clear statement of the atheist (or more strictly anti-theist) position, you won't find anything more absorbing than the case made by the late Christopher Hitchens www.youtube.com/watch. You might also try 'The Idiots Guide to Atheism' www.youtube.com/watch. If after all that you still want to know more, perhaps you should consider coming to one of our meetings...
In March 2014 the BHA published a series of short videos about Humanism. They are a delight. The videos are narrated by Stephen Fry.and address four important questions: How do we know what is true? What should we think about death? How can I be happy?
I n B r i e f
Here's a brief overview of recent developments (excluding feedback from our monthly meetings):
Aug 14: Five members of MKH attend the World Humanist Congress in Oxford and return fired up after meeting with / listening to so many interesting and compassionate freethinkers and non-believers from all over the world, including the odd 'firebrand atheist'; and some very brave individuals who have put their lives on the line by rejecting faith.
Jul 14: Group holds its summer (cream tea) party on the Grand Union Canal.
Jun 14: HumanistLife publishes an article by Mike Flood on 'Humanism and Culture', which contains the results of a mini survey of the group's cultural dimensions (as identified by Geert Hofstede). The article also speculates on whether some cultures are more or less prone to religiosity / atheism than others.
Apr 14: MKH makes a donation to support the distribution to secondary schools in Milton Keynes of copies of Alom Shaha’s compassionate and beautifully-written book ‘The Young Atheist’s Handbook’. The press cover in MK News provokes a number of letters to the editor and a reply from the group (21 May)
Mar 14: Four MKH members attend a BHA training course for volunteers to speak about Humanism in schools.
Nov 13: We are very proud when MKH is invited to ‘dress’ the Human Rights Day Pillar at the inauguration of the MK Rose. This remembers the day in 1948 (10 Dec) when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (probably the most single most important document produced in the 20th Century). Two days later we lay a wreath at the Armistice Day Pillar in a non-religious.
Oct 13: The BHA publishes an article by us on ‘What Kind of Atheist Are You?’ in HumanistLife (http://humanistlife.org.uk). It provides an analysis of different terms used to describe people who do not believe in the idea of god. A follow-up note is published in the November edition.
Jun 13: Former Girl Guide, Andrea Quayle, interviewed by Three Counties Radio about the change in the Guide's promise -- a guide will no longer promise to 'love her God' but undertake to 'be true to herself and to develop her beliefs'.
Jan 13: Mike Flood interviewed on Three Counties Radio in connection to the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rightswww.facebook.com/photo.php.
Nov 12: Attended a meeting of BHA partner and affiliate groups in London; laid a wreath at the War Memorial in Bletchley on Remembrance Day.
Oct 12: Took part in local consultations about the design of the MK Rose which is being built in Campbell Park (see artist's impression below).
Jun 12: We have from the outset been committed to promoting the work of the BHA and supporting its aims and campaigns. In June we became a full partner to the BHA (see below). We have now prepared a public display on Humanism and the work of MKH and the BHA and we put this on display in Stony Stratford Library. Do take a look if you're in the area!
Mar 12: At the beginning of the year we agreed that we would like to do something to support local charities, and we chose to contribute to MK Food Bank. We made a good start at our March meeting with a variety of items donated by our members. As the Food Banks says: Hunger is not just a third world problem. Even in our prosperous new city of Milton Keynes, there are many people living on the edge of poverty. The Food Bank has been able to help thousands of individuals and families who have experienced a crisis of some type.
Nov 11: Attended the opening of the MK Rose (in Campbell Park) and laid a wreath at the War Memorial in Bletchley on Remembrance Day; attended a meeting of BHA partner and affiliate groups in London.
Oct 11: Co-opted onto the local SACRE (Standing Advisory Group on Religious Education); hope to have some input into the development of religious education in the city.
Sept 11Worked with parents of young children concerned about the activities of local evangelical groups in their children's schools.
Jul 11: Invited to give talk on 'Humanism' to the Milton Keynes Interfaith Group; interested to find how much we have in common with many (though not all!) in the groups represented.
We have also been getting to know some of the faith groups in Milton Keynes.
A b o u t U s
Milton Keynes Humanists:
- provides a means for like-minded individuals in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas to meet and have a forum for the discussion of humanist values, principles and relevant subjects;
- raises awareness of humanist perspectives;
- campaigns for respect for those who seek to live ethical and responsible lives without religious or superstitious beliefs
- campaigns against religious privilege; and
- supports local initiatives concerned with charity and public service.
We aim to do these things in a way that is welcoming, tolerant and enjoyable. We've highlighted some of the things we are interested in/concerned about in the wordcloud.
F a i t h i n H u m a n i t y
We are a partner of the British Humanist Association and share its vision of “a world without religious privilege or discrimination, where people are free to live good lives on the basis of reason, experience and shared human values”. Humanists believe that Man created God, and not the other way around -- as Richard Dawkins has observed: "We are all atheists about most of the Gods humanity has ever believed in, some of us just go one God further". If you would like to find out more about Humanism please contact us using the links on this site, or come along to one of our meetings. You don't have to be a member.
We hold our meetings on the second Thursday of every month at York House Centre, London Road, Stony Stratford [19.00, first floor].
But please note: We do not normally hold meetings in December and August, these months are reserved for our socials (our Winter or Summer Solstice Party).