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Pilgrimage Moments: A Humanist Explanation

Length - 03:49
Published - Mar 2024
Keystage(s) - 3 and 4

This clip comes from the BBC Series: Pilgrimage – The Road to Santiago.

Patron of Humanists UK, Ed gives his fellow Pilgrims a description of what it means to be a Humanist. He says it is different to being just an atheist – someone who doesn’t believe in God – because you can be an evil atheist; Humanists strive to be good and have morality. The conversation turns to where goodness and morality come from: is it God? Do Christians have a monopoly on morality?

Watch full episodes on BBC iPlayer.

A Humanist Explanation - SERIES 1 - Pilgrimage Moments EP 2

S1 00:00:26:14

As a journalist. Rath wants to discover more about Ed's beliefs.

Ed is a patron of humanists UK.

S2 00:00:35:07

So atheist was was something I thought that I discovered. And

then Ed goes and throws a curveball with this humanist thing. So

I mean, I don't know what a humanist is and whether it's the

same as an atheist or a Christian.

S3 00:00:46:08

A humanist believes that one should live a good life. So without a

belief in any otherworldly or supernatural being or presence, that

one can still and one should still lead a good life.

S2 00:00:59:10

How does that differ from being an atheist then?

S3 00:01:01:09

There's nothing to atheism other than saying that there's no God.

You know you can be an evil atheist, right?

S2 00:01:07:13

But a humanist is a humanist.

S3 00:01:09:04

Who believes that one should still strive to be good and we

should still have morality.

S4 00:01:14:04

The stuff he's talking about, about moral compass and about

wanting to do good. I think that the motivation to do that, I think,

comes from God. That's what I would say. That's where we would


Clip: A Humanist Explanation - SERIES 1 - Pilgrimage Moments EP 2 Clip 2 / 4

S3 00:01:23:21

And that's and that's okay. And while I think she's a lovely


S4 00:01:28:18

Who thinks I'm.

S3 00:01:29:10

Wrong, I'm very good. No, I know, but here's the thing. It's not

that I'm offended by that statement.

S4 00:01:34:02

Now, of course, but.

S3 00:01:35:04

It's this idea that Christians own those values.

S4 00:01:37:23

No, I don't think we own those values.

S3 00:01:39:16

When you use terms like Christian values of goodness. It makes it

sound like they are Christian values. That fact is, they are just

good values.

S5 00:01:51:05

I know a lot of people that are totally hypocritical that go to

church every Sunday and pray and say, I'm a really good

Christian, and they're really horrible people.

Clip: A Humanist Explanation - SERIES 1 - Pilgrimage Moments EP 2 Clip 3 / 4

S4 00:02:01:08

I absolutely agree with you. For me, that's not what going to

church is about. And for lots of Christians that I know, actually

going to church is about saying I'm a rotter. I'm not a good

person. I've fallen short of all expectations and I'm trying to be

better. And that's what when I go to church and pray, that's

what's in my mind. That's why I say, forgive me just a minute. So

that's why when I say forgive me my sins, that's why I say that.

Because I don't think. Because Christians don't think they're

perfect. We are deeply flawed human beings.

S6 00:02:29:07

One of the philosophies of people who are Christian is that God

empowered mankind to make decisions for themselves. So God

doesn't sit up wherever you imagine he does and and wave a

magic wand and make good people. That's not how it happens.

There's really good, brilliant, great people who will never believe

in God. And there's really amazing, God fearing people in

positions of power who are out and out evil.

S2 00:02:53:20

I see myself as somebody who cares about people, cares about

mankind, and I believe good's in everyone. And I'm an ignorant

and I have no followers.

S7 00:03:00:12

Are you making up your own religion?

S2 00:03:02:01

Because I have, I have, I have no followers.

S7 00:03:04:05

Religion. Because that felt like it was casting his net out. I have

no followers. But please, somebody follow me.

Clip: A Humanist Explanation - SERIES 1 - Pilgrimage Moments EP 2 Clip 4 / 4

S2 00:03:11:04

I like Ed's stance. Humanist. What it stands for. Take God out of

the equation and I think you've got a good belief. I think he's kind

of on the right track. It's kind of more where I'd be leaning to

than Christianity.

S3 00:03:25:07

I would hope that at least Kate and Heather understood my

perspective and knew that I wasn't out to rid the world of

religion. I don't have some Stalinist attitude to, you know, that we

should burn down all the churches. I don't feel that way, and I

just wanted to make sure that they knew that.

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