Lesson video

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Hiya there, my name's Mrs. Cooper.

You might have seen me in some of my previous videos in this series about non-religious views.

In today's lesson, we are going to explore something called Humanism.

You may have heard of it before, you may not.

What we're going to ask is a big question about whether or not you consider Humanism to be a religion.

So, when you're ready, find yourself a nice quiet spot, make sure you've got a couple of pens, ideally two different colours so you can do your original writing and then make alterations with the other colour, some paper, and if you're not using your mobile phone for this activity, then please turn it off.

And we shall begin.

So, in this lesson, we will identify some Humanist beliefs.

We'll explain where Humanist beliefs come from and compare them with religious beliefs.

And we'll evaluate whether or not Humanism could be described as a religion.

The first thing I'm going to get you to do is copy out the little grid that I've drawn here and consider what you think you already know about Humanism.

Now the grid is called a KWL grid because in the first column you write down things that you know, you're absolutely sure you know.

In the middle column, they're questions that you might have, and in the third column, you will write down things that you have learnt.

But you don't fill in the final column until the end of the lesson.

When you're ready, we will begin.

Thinking about some things that you may already know.

Have a look at these statements.

So, true or false? True or false? Humanists believe that you should treat others as you would like to be treated.

That would be true.

In fact, Humanists do believe that you should treat other people as you'd like to be treated, they believe in the golden rule.

Humanists use evidence before making a decision about something.

Is that true or is that false? Is it true or is it false? It is true! Humanists are all about using evidence before you make a decision for something, they believe in science.

Number three.

They believe that God exists.

Is that true or is that false? Or is it true, or is it false? It is false.

Humanists do not believe in God, okay? We're going to talk a little bit about the history of Hinduism, not Hinduism, Humanism, in a few minutes, and you'll find maybe some of the first Humanists were also religious.

However, over time, that has changed.

And most Humanists now, they think it's very important that you don't use God, or belief in God, to make decisions.

You use reason, and therefore, most Humanists would also describe themselves as atheists.

Number four then.

There are no rules.

Do what you like.

That is also false, okay? Humanists do have rules, and we're going to find out what some of those are in a mo, in a minute.

And Humanism is not a religion, and I've just given you the answer.

Okay, so.

We've already answered the main question.

Humanism is not described as a religion, although there are similarities between Humanism and some religions.

Okay, what I'd like you to do now is you can pause here, and if there's anything that you've learned from this, you can add it to your learnt side of your KWL grid.

If this has just confirmed some things that you already know, you can give yourself a tick in the box where you are writing things that you already know.

And when you are ready, we'll move on to the next activity.

We will, we shall now go into a brief history of Humanism.

Humanism began in Northern Italy, really as a movement of translation primarily, and trying to make very accurate translations of all philosophical and religious texts.

The outcome of this was what their translators were finding, was that the common thread with many religions and philosophical ideas, and that was that humans were at the centre of everything.

And not so much about the God, or a deity, but in fact, humans were really important in all decision-making.

Things started to gain momentum in Humanism during the Enlightenment Period.

If you've watched my previous video on atheism, you'll know a little about the Enlightenment Period.

This was a time known as the Age of Reason.

It was in a time when people decided to question all the things that they had once taken for granted to be true.

So they questioned the holy books.

They questioned the divine right of kings so that they questioned the monarchy and whether or not they should have a monarchy anymore.

Unfortunately, this ended rather badly for King Louis the sixteenth, who happened to be the monarch during the time of Enlightenment in France.

This led to him and his family being guillotined, by the revolutionaries who no longer believed in his right to be there.

Humanism really took off, however, during the 20th century, when the Humanists Manifesto was written.

Though many of the first Humanists were also Christian, by the latter part of the 20th century Humanism had become much closer to a form of atheism.

Let's look at some core beliefs that Humanists have.

Humanists don't look to God for rules, but use their own reason to make their decisions.

Humanists base their main beliefs on reason, experience, empathy and respect.

Humanists believe that morality comes from within us, not from a holy book.

So Humanists really don't believe that we should be asking somebody else how we should act it is on-- Our social instincts form the basis of our morality.

We have a social contract with other people.

So Humanists would argue that most of us choose not to steal because we wouldn't want somebody else to steal from us.

Most of us wouldn't go around hurting other people because we wouldn't want other people to that to us.

It makes sense, and it is logical.

And therefore, we gain our morality through logic.

As you might have noticed by my examples, Humanists follow what we call 'The golden rule'.

Treat other people as you would like to be treated.

Humanists believe in fairness, equality, happiness, justice and freedom.

And believe that all these things are invented by humans and therefore, not by God.

Science plays a key role in Humanist beliefs because they follow reason and experience, it makes sense that many Humanists would follow some of the scientific theories that are looked at earlier in this unit, like the Big Bang and the Theory of Evolution.

So now, I'm going to show you my answers of my five things, so if you didn't quite manage to get five points, you can read through mine and jot them down.

You may wish to pause the video while you do that.

I'm now going to go on the next slide where you can also read through the key beliefs.

Once again, give yourself a nice big tick if you got any of these and if you've missed any out you can add them in with a different coloured pen.

So now we are going to look at how do Humanist beliefs compare with Christian beliefs.

And if there's any way that Humanism could be described as a religion.

Now we're going to go through the question of whether or not Humanism is a religion.

Now on this slide I have written eight different things that pretty much all religions contain.

You may or may not know, that most governments use this criteria to decide whether or not a group is deemed to be a religion and therefore given the same rights as a religion.

For example, being allowed to have religious holidays.

So let's go through the list, a religion must have a book, like a holy book.

So for example, in Hinduism they have The Vedas.

In Judaism they have The Torah, or the Tanakh.

A religion also has to have a place of worship, somewhere where people meet up and go, Christians might go to a church, Jews might go to a Synagogue, Buddhists might go to a Vihara.

The third thing is rules.

To be a religion you have to have a set of rules that everybody in that religion abides by and follows.

The fourth thing is a moral code and therefore, a list of things that you're told are right or wrong.

So for example, in Christianity there are the 10 Commandments.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours donkey, which basically means don't want things that you can't have.

But they are rules about what is right and what is wrong.

Very key, important thing here, all religions must have a belief in a divine being.

Now that could be God, but it could be something else depending on the religion.

It has to be something bigger than oneself.

Usually if you are part of a religion you have a pilgrimage which is a special place that you will go, it has actions that has great meaning, it is a special spiritual journey which is usually about self contemplation.

The most famous pilgrimage that most people will have heard of will be Hajj, which is the Muslim pilgrimage where they go to Mecca.

Most, well all muslims are expected to try and do Hajj once in their lifetime.

The next thing is rituals, all religions should have rituals, these are actions that have a symbolic meaning.

So for example, Hindus usually have a shrine at home, every morning they will get up, they will wake up their deity, they will ring a bell and they will leave a fruit or food offering to that deity.

That is a ritual.

In the same way that Christians have a Eucharist and they have bread and wine, that would be a ritual.

And the last thing is a way to mark a rite of passage and what I mean by this is rites of passage are births, marriages, and deaths.

There are things that most people go through in their life, we're certainly all going to be born and we're certainly all going to die one day.

And religions usually have some kind of ceremony that marks these events, big life events.

Okay so we're going to do a very quick true or false based on some things that I have been talking about.

So, true or false, to be a religion or an organisation you must have a book that everyone follows.

That is true, okay.

To be part of a religion there is usually a book or at least some kind of scripture somewhere that has the rules about religion.

True or false, a rite of passage is a spiritual journey.

That is false.

As much as it sounds like passage it might sound like you're going somewhere a rite of passage is usually a special event that happens in most people's lives.

A rite of passage is an event that you do to mark that special event that's happened in someone's life.

True or false then, rituals are actions that have a special meaning.

They are.

Now I would like you to pause the video to complete your task.

There is a separate worksheet attached to this document.

Now I would like you to pause the video to complete your task.

You should be able to find the worksheet using the information that you have learnt and the information in the work sheet, I would like you to complete the Venn diagram that is also part of the worksheets.

When you've done that answer the following questions.

One, what are the similarities between Humanism and Christianity.

And two, what are the differences? Give yourselves a little bit of a challenge, can you add any of your own knowledge or knowledge learnt from the videos.

Now for the last part, I would like you to pause the video and complete your task.

Is Humanism a religion? Write your own answer to this question, explain at least one reason for your answer.

You can use the sentence starters here to help you.

Give yourself a bit of a challenge, can you write an opposing view.

So how did you do? Here's my answer.

Humanism isn't a religion because they do not have the most important element of religious life which is a belief in God.

There are however, elements of Humanism which are present in traditional religion, plus the early Humanists would describe themselves as part of a religion.

So the answer is, it's a bit of both.

Humanists generally wouldn't call themselves religious, however there are some Humanists that might describe themselves as agnostic, so unsure whether or not God exists.

Use a different coloured pen to add to your work.

And finally, fill in the last column of your KWL grid.

You can un-pause when you are finished.

Before you go, don't forget to share your work with Oak National, if you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

And before you go, don't forget to complete the quiz at the end, bye.