Lichfield Walsall & South Staffordshire Humanist Group - LWASS

Personal approval by a mythical being is not required to be a good person.

Our Mission

"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike" -  Delos McKown

We are part of a network of autonomous Humanist Groups throughout Britain. We are affiliated to the Birmingham Humanists known colloquially as the BrumHums, who are in turn partners of the British Humanist Association (BHA). Our geographical area consists of Cannock, Dudley, Lichfield, Rugeley, Stafford, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth, Walsall, Wednesbury, Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire and all points in between. If you have a DY, WS, WV post code then we are probably your most local group. However if you live outside this area you can still subscribe to our mailing list from anywhere on the planet. It's free.

The BHA is in turn an influential member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

So by connecting with Lichfield Walsall and South Staffordshire (LWASS) Humanists you become part of a worldwide movement.

We are autonomous. Not a branch of the BHA.  If you value your freedom from religion that has been hard-fought for over hundreds of years we would strongly urge you to join the BHA and the National Secular Society (NSS) as well as LWASS Humanist Group, to increase the strength of numbers.  Recent worldwide events show that there are those of a religious perspective who would seek to take back those freedoms and return us to a time of religious domination where even voicing a different opinion from others can lead to a death sentence.

If you think like a humanist you are already in high numbers even though you might not know itThis link shows that people who think this way are over 1 billion. 

Do the NON-Religious outnumber the Religious?

All religions are minority groups compared to the whole World population. Islam and Christianity claim high numbers but even if you are 1 billion in numbers you would still only be about 12% of the World population.  That would mean that more than 85% think differently to you.  And even within groupings like Christianity there are as many as 34,000 sects.  Which gives an average of 50,000 per sect.  In the UK for example, less than 6% of the UK population actually attend church. It is predicted that by 2020 attendance will be 4% with an average age of 56. Recent surveys show that more than 2/3 of the UK adult population are self declared NON-religious. More importantly the numbers for the non-religious tend to be adults who have thought about the issue and are therefore making an informed decision.  Whereas the numbers claimed for the religious tend to include people under the age of 16 who generally adopt the religion of their parents without question. 

We meet together to discuss various subjects of interest to members, including Humanism itself.

We may visit the theatre and museums (we, of course, like the Natural History Museum) and go on rambles. We try to be involved in local Arts Festivals, both for the publicity and to meet people who may never find out about us.

Many of our members are also involved in supporting local charities to help people less fortunate than ourselves.

Our History

 

The Group was founded in 2008 as a regional spin off from the Birmingham Humanists as the Lichfield Humanist Group.  However it quickly became obvious that our catchment area of people who wished to explore humanism was wider than just Lichfield and so we rapidly became the Lichfield, Walsall and South Staffordshire Humanist Group (LWASS pronounced Elwass).

Humanism has its roots in prehistory but early humanist thought predates Christianity by at least 600 years. 

Contemporary humanism can be traced back through the Renaissance to its ancient Greek roots. The term humanism was coined in 1808, based on the 15th century Italian term umanista, meaning "student of human affairs or human nature," as coined by Ludovico Ariosto.

The evolution of the meaning of the word humanism is fully explored in Nicolas Walter's Humanism – What's in the Word.

 

Humanism in early Greece

Sixth century BCE pantheists Thales of Miletus and Xenophanes of Colophon prepared the way for later Greek humanist thought.

Thales is credited with creating the maxim "Know thyself", and Xenophanes refused to recognize the gods of his time and reserved the divine for the principle of unity in the universe. Later Anaxagoras, often described as the "first freethinker", contributed to the development of science as a method of understanding the universe. These Ionian Greeks were the first thinkers to recognize that nature is available to be studied separately from any alleged supernatural realm. Pericles, a pupil of Anaxagoras, influenced the development of democracy, freedom of thought, and the exposure of superstitions.

Although little of their work survives, Protagoras and Democritus both espoused agnosticism and a spiritual morality not based on the supernatural.

The historian Thucydides is noted for his scientific and rational approach to history.[10] In the third century BCE, Epicurus became known for his concise phrasing of the problem of evil, lack of belief in the afterlife, and human-centered approaches to achieving eudaimonia. He was also the first Greek philosopher to admit women to his school as a rule.

Sources Of Information That Might Be Useful In Helping Think About Humanism Atheism Secularism

Or why the way books are shelved in a library actively prevents people finding information

about non-religious life stances.

Up until the arrival of the internet often dubbed BG, before Google, the main source of material on matters of Humanism, Atheism and Secularism were books.  They are still a good source.  The problem was that they were not readily available and that is still true today. 

We live in a World that is awash with religion and religious books. A World, up until fairly recently, where the people in a position to decide what books were available in a Public Library made sure books on religion, and in the Western world that meant Christianity, were easily accessible and books on other belief systems were less available.  Books outside the main three monotheistic religions were noticeable in their absence and books on Judaism and Islam were also rare.  Not only that the library classification system gave little shelf space for non Christian books and as such the access to other information has been severely restricted.

The primary way of organising books in a Library was, and still is, using a method called the Dewey Decimal system. Designed by an American man named Melvil Dewey and copyrighted by him in 1876. Dewey was a Christian and showed a certain bias of character that must have influenced everything including his classification system.  This is demonstrated by founding the Lake Placid Club with is wife and son which had a policy of excluding Jews and other religious and ethnic groups.

The Dewey Decimal Classification organizes library materials by discipline or field of study. Main divisions include philosophy, social sciences, science, technology, and history. The scheme is made up of ten classes, each divided into ten divisions, each having ten sections. The system's notation uses Arabic numbers, with three whole numbers making up the main classes and sub-classes and decimals creating further divisions. The classification structure is hierarchical and the notation follows the same hierarchy. Libraries not needing the full level of detail of the classification can trim right-most decimal digits from the class number to obtain a more general classification. For example:

500 Natural sciences and mathematics

510 Mathematics
516 Geometry
516.3 Analytic geometries
516.37 Metric differential geometries
516.375 Finsler Geometry

Now what has this got to do with Atheism and Humanism.  I am coming to that.

Of the 10 classifications of subject matter

  • 000 – General works, Computer science and Information
  • 100 – Philosophy and psychology
  • 200 – Religion
  • 300 – Social sciences
  • 400 – Language
  • 500 – Science
  • 600 – Technology
  • 700 – Arts & recreation
  • 800 – Literature
  • 900 – History & geography

Religion has an entire classification to itself.  But hey, why not, it is quite an extensive subject.  But get this.

From 200 to 290 it is more or less about Christianity and ONLY Christianity.

All the others are just crammed into sub sections. And you can see what is thought of Hinduism and Islam. Biased or what?

Humanism is hidden away in a different section altogether

The OCLC are an American company based in Ohio, one of the most religious States of the Union and even as atheism is accelerating in growth globally one has to ask why they would be making information on this subject increasingly hard to find.  Thankfully the internet is over riding their every action.

So in an attempt to help people find information on these matters we will be developing a reading and other access information list below:

Here is a starter for you 10 books on Atheism

http://www.booktalk.org/atheism-books.html

Here are some F.A.C.T.S. Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

http://www.booktalk.org/FACTS-book-selections.php 

 

This list will be developed over time.