Atheist and Humanist Activism
How do activist Atheist groups differ from Humanist groups? And how can we best work together to promote a rational, ethical and secular society?
Arguably, the labels are relatively unimportant in themselves. Most atheists and most humanists share most of the same fundamental beliefs and values. We reject the idea that gods exist and all that follows from that idea, and we usually support rational enquiry into the nature of reality, mutual empathy as the basis of ethical relations, and secular equality as the basis of civic government.
However, the labels are useful in practice. They enable independently-minded people to socialise and bond together using whatever self-description that we each feel most comfortable with, and whatever nuances of emphasis that we each prefer. They can also enable us to promote our aims using whatever label we feel is most useful in different circumstances.
There will always be some differences in emphasis. Some groups that label themselves as Atheist can be more assertive in how they campaign, and less deterred by how others might perceive the word atheist. Some groups that label themselves as Humanist can be more focused on creating a common Humanist identity as an alternative to religion, and may conduct secular services for weddings, baby-naming and funerals.
But ultimately, if we are to achieve a rational, ethical, secular society, all people and groups who reject the idea that gods exist should work together on issue-based campaigns and projects. Atheist Ireland works alongside the Humanist Association of Ireland, and we encourage you to examine both groups and get involved with either or both, depending on what you personally feel most comfortable with.