Posts Tagged 'me'

Putting my money where my mouth is…

I have an ongoing history of failing to open ethical bank accounts. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have successfully opened an ISA with Triodos Bank and have an affinity credit card with the Co-Op Bank which donates money to Amnesty International when I use it. However, I fail at opening current accounts. Tonight was no exception. After some irritation with my current bank, who instead of switching my graduate account back to a student account managed to switch it to an ordinary basic current account (wiping out my overdraft facility) and refused to correct it, I decided it was time to open that ethical account I’d always promised myself.

Fuelled by a sense of righteousness and annoyance with my current bank, I looked at the current accounts offered by The Co-operative Bank and Smile online banking, and decided to opt for Smile. I started filling out my details, determined that this time I was going to do everything right and first thing, when the online form stalled. There was a problem with one of the fields I had filled in. Had I missed one? Did I select the wrong option? Then I noticed it near the bottom of the page, this current account was not open to full-time students. That was a problem. With only two months left as a registered student, I was no longer eligible for a student account which required at least six months of remaining student status.

I rang the Smile helpline and they too were perplexed. I appeared to be in some kind of current account eligibility limbo: too much of a student to open a current account, but not enough of a student to open a student account. So now I have two possible options: Wait two months until my full-time student status expires and then open the current account, or open the current account identifying myself as being in part-time employment as I have been tutoring at the university over the last few years. Any suggestions?

Diversity

Lately, I have found myself drawn more and more to the idea of diversity and its importance in our lives. This realisation was triggered by my experiences when I became vegan a little over a year ago. As a vegan, and before that vegetarian, I found that I didn’t necessarily want to have to eat at restaurants which catered for vegetarians exclusively, I just wanted to be able to eat at restaurants that offered enough variety in their menu that I could choose dishes that were suitable for me. I don’t want to live in a world that is tailored to suit my needs and wants, I just want there to be enough variety and freedom that there is room for me in it.

Continue reading ‘Diversity’

My approach to humanism

Technically speaking, I am a secular humanist and atheist. That is to say, I don’t believe in the existence of any kind of deity and I choose to live my life without religion or any such belief. Philosophically speaking, I’m a materialist in my approach to the world. My views on the world are based on scientific method and reasoned discussion, and I believe that ideas should be challenged and investigated always. I have absolutely no problem with being a product of evolution and an equal creature to every other on this planet. For me, the world, this universe and the very possibility of life is as beautiful and incredible as I could ever wish for and I don’t feel the need for someone to attribute this to. The world is neither evil nor good but just an accumulation of different forces, needs and events.

All this aside, I still very much believe in the human capacity to be rational and considerate of others. I am not a nihilist nor a hedonist; I don’t seek to live for pleasure alone and I don’t exist in a vacuum without beliefs or purpose. It is my belief that humans are capable of comprehending the consequences of their actions and able to co-operate and work to the benefit of more than the individual and to avoid harming others. I believe that every life has worth and value, and deserves respect and equal consideration. For me, humanism is a philosophy and community where we can discuss ideas of ethics and share a positive view of human life. It is not about humans being placed as superior but about recognising and embracing the capacity in humans to act fairly and rationally, or at least to try. The final humbling part is to accept that we are just human, that we’re not perfect and that at the end of the day we’re just curious creatures who remain a part of this planet and its ecosystem.

This should be an adequate summary of some of the main points. I also recommend looking at the Amsterdam Declaration for a nice representation of Secular Humanism that fits very well with my beliefs. I’ll discuss my ideas about other issues in subsequent posts.

An introduction

Welcome to my humanist blog!

I have been very much inspired to create this by reading the Friendly Humanist’s blog and also by the weird and wonderful discussions at Edinburgh University Humanist Society meetings. This is where I plan to discuss ethical issues, my life as a humanist and also thoughts about the Humanist movement itself. I hope that some will find it interesting and maybe thought provoking. Just to clarify, I am an atheist and a Secular Humanist and that is what I refer to when I use the words ‘Humanist’ and ‘Humanism’.

Please feel free to submit comments and ask questions!