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I’m not a Humanist!

If I’m not a Humanist, then what am I?

“Oh, you’re a Humanist” is all too often the response I get when I’ve said I’m a Celebrant. I politely say, “I’m not a Humanist and explain that it is the equivalent of saying, ” Oh, you’re a Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist etc.

On wedding groups I am a member of, I often see posts asking for details for a Humanist when they are asking for recommendations for a Celebrant.  Humanism is a belief system followed by humanists; it is not a job. Not all Humanists are Celebrants, and not all Celebrants are Humanist!  Somewhere along the line, the word Humanist started being used for all celebrants, regardless of their affiliation with a belief system or not.

According to Humanists UK, “Roughly speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:

trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)

makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals

believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same. “

NB, the word agnostic refers to a person who neither believes nor disbelieves in a god or religious doctrine.

I am an Independent Family Celebrant, so I align with my client’s beliefs, wishes and values, including Humanism. If they want some religious elements in their ceremony, such as a hymn or a spiritual reading, that will be included.  Often couples getting married want to have their deceased loved ones included by referring to them watching over them.

At a ceremony I officiated, the bride’s deceased Granny was very much included in the ceremony, with a memory bear made out of her clothes sitting on the front row with her family.

It is the same with a funeral ceremony, where it is often spoken about the deceased being reunited with loved ones.  At my son’s funeral, we made reference to him playing computer games with his uncle (my brother).

At one service I officiated, the deceased had faith that there was a higher power but was not religious and believed that only your body died and your spirit (soul) went on another journey.  If ever someone asked her to prove this, her response was always, “prove it doesn’t”.

On the other side of the coin, I officiated a service for a gentleman who believed that you are nothing before you were born and were nothing when you died.  His words, not mine.

It is not for me to judge what your beliefs are or are not, and I am definitely not in the business of imposing mine onto you.  I am here to support you in creating the most amazing ceremony that aligns with your or your loved one’s beliefs, personality and aspirations.

So, when you use the term Humanist, is that really what you want?  Does Humanism align with your beliefs and values, or would an Independent Celebrant be a better fit?  To find out, book a no-obligation call with me to discuss your needs.