Saturday, 14 July 2012
The religion-shaped hole
I've just been to see AC Grayling talk about Humanism at the Lewes Speakers Festival. It's reminded me of a point I've been thinking about for a while. As religion becomes less of a central force in people's lives (in the UK at least) there is, for many people, a 'religion-shaped hole' in their lives. Not that they miss religion, but that, for many people there are very few other places in modern society where they can get opportunities to think about the meaning of their lives, their values or have the chance to reflect generally. As the founder of Life Squared I naturally think these things are very important, but so far nothing (apart from consumer capitalism) has really come in to fill this religion-shaped hole for most people, and I think the movement best suited to filling it it humanism. It is not yet however in a position where it can assume this position, as it is still on the defensive - seeking to argue against religion and protect the secular state from religious excess. It needs to move into a position where it is also taking a more constructive role - helping people to think about these bigger questions and supporting them in this journey - as there is a great need for this role now, and it would be of benefit to millions of people.