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Hull and East Riding Humanist Group

A social group for humanists, atheists, secularists, sceptics and agnostics

Law and Morality

Posted by Tim on 19/04/2019
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Date:        Monday 15th April 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

Our speaker for our April meeting was David Horsley who was for many years a history master at Trinity House School in Hull and is a former Mayor of Beverley. He is a theology graduate of Lampeter University and continues to be actively involved in local politics. David last spoke to us in March 2017 on Religious Education and schools. On this occasion he will be addressing the issue of Law and Morality. It has been said that Law is essentially a set of rules and principles created and enforced by the state whereas morals are a set of beliefs, values and principles and behaviour standards which are enforced and created by society. Legal and moral rules can be isolated with the former being created by the legislative institution of parliament, whereas the latter have evolved with and through society and are the standards which society in general accepts and promotes. Some laws mirror the majority of society’s moral view such as the prohibition against murder, but other laws such as those relating to same sex marriage, abortion or euthanasia are contested.


 

Date:        Monday 18th March 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

UN Peacekeeping helps countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace by sharing the burden and ability to deploy troops and police from around the world, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to address a range of mandates set by the UN Security Council and General Assembly. Nigel de Lee talked to us at our March 2019 meeting where he gave a brief introduction to the United Nations and Peacekeeping, with a focus on the basic principles and matters arising from them.

Date:        Monday 18th February 2019, 7.30pm
Venue:    Willerby & Kirkella Parish Institute, 58 Main St, Willerby, Hull HU10 6BZ

February 2019 was the 210th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and John Hawkins, Chair of the group talked about the religious reactions to Darwin’s theory of evolution. Some might say that the Victorian public that first read or read about the Origin of Species were, for the most part, not biblical literalists believing in the literal truth of Genesis. For decades the most enlightened writers in the fields of science and religion had accepted that much of the Old Testament, and Genesis in particular, had to be read in a metaphorical sense. Nevertheless, since it was published Darwin’s theory has had a profound impact on the religious idea that human beings exist because of the deliberate act of creation of a wise and benevolent designer, what the clergyman William Paley compared to a watch maker. A famous debate took place in 1860 in Oxford between the Humanist Thomas Henry Huxley (great grandfather of the former president of Humanists Uk, Sir Julian Huxley) and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce (son of the Hull MP William Wilberforce). The debate is best remembered today for a heated exchange in which Wilberforce supposedly asked Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey. Huxley is said to have replied that he “would not be ashamed to have a monkey for his ancestor, but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth”.

John said of his talk:

“Darwin published the 1st edition of ‘The Origin of Species’ on 24 November 1859. The majority of leading scientists at the time were either hostile to his theory of natural selection, or remained silent. What little support he got was from younger scientists, notably Thomas Henry Huxley, and on the continent Ernst Haeckel, a German biologist. In the US, Asa Gray took up his cause. While undoubtedly there was opposition to the theory from some religious figures and theologians, some of the strongest support came from leading churchmen, notably the Rev Charles Kingsley, the Rev Prof Baden Powell, the Rev Frederick Temple and on the continent David Friedrich Strauss, author of a highly controversial life of Christ.”


Open Discussion Forum

Posted by Tim on 24/11/2018
Posted in Past Meetings  | No Comments yet, please leave one

 

Date:        Monday 19th November 2018, 7.30pm
Venue:    the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG 

We had a last minute change of topic for our November meeting as Nigel de Lee wass going in to hospital on Monday. In place of Nigel’s talk we had one of our open discussion meetings on recent news and topics of interest to Humanists.

Date:      Monday 15th October 2018, 7.30pm
Venue:   the back room of the Tiger Inn, Lairgate, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8JG

In a re-scheduling of the original date, our October meeting was a talk by Revd. Philip West on the differences and similarities of the Humanist and Christian world views. Philip says of his upcoming talk:

“Having served as a full time Anglican priest for 38 years, mostly in Sheffield, I came to South Holderness for a retirement post in 2016 and started attending HERHG out of interest, where I have appreciated your welcome and your programme of fascinating topics, and where through listening to opinions expressed I have hopefully begun to understand what Humanism is about.
From that perspective I hope we can explore in productive fashion what unites and divides the Christian and the Humanist. It seems to me that the priorities of both are the promotion and encouragement of active compassion and justice as essential life goals both for themselves and for society, and both are truth seekers. The patent difference is that for the Christian the growth of both the individual and society towards compassion requires partnership with God, whereas for the humanist the divine does not exist. The question of truth becomes essentially whether or not Christ is the truth. I am aware that this debate often becomes mired in claims and counter claims of whether the spiritual life causes good or harm, which seems to me to be almost impossible to answer objectively.”