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One of the central concepts of humanism

©British Humanist Association

One of the central concepts of humanism is that people should strive to “live full and happy lives…and, as part of this, help make it easier for other people to do the same”. Consequently, many humanists have a special interest in social reform and welfare. I think this was perhaps most clearly demonstrated with the creation of the Ethical Union Housing Association and later the Humanist Housing Association.

The Ethical Union Housing Association was created with a grant of £5 at “a time when there were next to no municipal housing facilities for the old, and most private schemes were church ones, excluding non-Christians”. Following the first grant, appeals for financial support were successfully made to members of the Ethical Union and British Humanist Association and by 1970 the Humanist Housing Association had three London projects:

  • Blackham House, Wimbledon
  • Burnet House, Hampstead
  • Rose Bush House, Hampstead

The idea that a fulfilled life is one spent helping others remains central to humanist philosophy today.

Bishopsgate Institute reference: BHA/1/11/1 

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