Welcome to DASH: Derbyshire Atheists, Secularists and Humanists
"Last year you visited our school to discuss Humanism with our year 9 cohort. Due to the response from students and enjoyment from staff, we would be very grateful if you could return this year. If you could get back to me with some suggestions of times when it would suit, that would be great!"
"I would like to say thank you for the wonderful lessons you delivered to our Year 11's. Verbal feedback is that they enjoyed it and found it stimulating. I really appreciate you coming in and I will be recommending you to colleagues."
"Many thanks for covering the humanist perspective on abortion with our sixth form. The students were talking about it for days afterwards and my colleagues who sat in found it a really impressive delivery - full of facts, caring and kindness - without any of the emotive delivery we have had from other groups."
"Many thanks for coming so far to talk to our group - it is good to be reminded that millions of people manage to lead happy and responsible lives without need of god or religion - something that is often forgotten when religion seems to make the headlines every day - frequently for all the wrong reasons."
School visits 2017/18
We offer speakers for schools, colleges, universities and adult groups - and we don't charge for our services!
In academic year 2016/17, we spoke to years 6, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 in various schools in Derby and Derbyshire. Topics included:
- "A general introduction to Atheist Humanism" - this is the most common request for years 6 to 11 and consists of a 35 minute presentation followed by a general question and answer session.
- "A Humanist perspective on abortion" - combined years 12/13 group to balance a presentation by SPUC.
- "Answering the big questions: where did we come from, what happens after death, what is the purpose of life?" - years 10, 11 and 12
- "Rebutting the classic 'proofs' of god" - year 13 philosophy groups.
- "A Humanist view of religious experience, miracles and the problem of evil" - years 12 and 13.
- "The place of religion in a secular society" - combined years 12/13.
- "Would the world be a more peaceful place without religion?" - years 12 and 13.
Atheist Humanists have an opinion on almost everything - we are infinitely flexible and we can fit in with whatever a school or group wishes us to do.
We are happy to visit schools before arranging a session - this allows teachers to see what we are like and to chat about what we can offer.
Please contact us if you would like a speaker for your school.
Note about this site
The contents of this site are primarily aimed at adults but there may be material that teachers will find useful - especially at sixth form level. Permission is granted to use anything on this site for educational purposes. Other material for schools may be found on our resources page.
Millions of people lead happy, fulfilled and responsible lives with no need for god or religion.
"As a Catholic I was 24 before I had a serious discussion with an atheist humanist and realised that there are alternative world views that allow millions of people to lead happy and responsible lives without believing in god. Before then I thought the only way to lead a moral life was to follow the teachings of the church. I talked to more people, read a lot and now, at 25, I am proud to call myself an atheist."
How did a young person in Derbyshire go through 14 years of taxpayer-funded education without the opportunity to listen to the views of someone with a non-theist view of life? Is this acceptable?
We can help to put that right. Please see our Education pages from the menu at the top of the page.
Click for "Walking on eggshells"
All children, with or without religious parents, have the right to make a free and informed choice about what to believe as they get older.
"Free" means without pressure from family, peers, community and education. It means making a choice without fear of ostracism or violence.
"Informed" means understanding the rules of philosophical argument and the beliefs of a wide range of religious and non-religious people.
Children have a right to understand that millions of people lead good, happy and responsible lives without gods or religions.
Telling children about a single belief system, to the virtual exclusion of all others, is intellectual abuse, indoctrination, brain washing. Religious Education should be about providing knowledge - not claiming that one belief system is right and all others are wrong.
Who are we?
- As atheists we see no need for the god idea and no evidence for it.
- As secularists we campaign for a state free of religious privileges.
- As humanists we try to lead happy, fulfilled and responsible lives.
Our ideas are encapsulated in their simplest form here.
For full details of our aims and beliefs please click here.
The "a" in atheist
The "a" in "atheist" is important to us because it means "not" or "without".
We are "not theists", we are defined by what we are not, not by what we are, and, obviously, there would be no atheists if there were no theists.
We are equally "a" anything for which there is no need and no evidence.
So, we are "a-fairyists", "a-unicornists", "a-santa-clausists", "a-fire-eating-dragonists", "a-supernaturalists" and "a-hippoists".
There is no such thing as "atheism" - though religious people insist there is! We atheists don't share an ideology and the only thing we have in common is that we are "not theists" - we see no need for the god idea - whatever "god" is. It seems every theist has a different definition of god, many have no definition but still believe it.
Looking for a celebrant?
We celebrate the big events of life: birth, marriage and death; with family, friends and a party.
Most non-believers don't bother with a celebrant for such occasions.
However, if you would like a non-religious celebrant, particularly for funerals, please check the British Humanist Association web site.
Good without god
As Humanists we have strong moral values derived from our basic feelings of empathy towards our fellow human beings.
We fully understand that not everyone is "good" - there are plenty of psychopaths and sociopaths (religious and non-religious) who have no sense of empathy or who, as a result of their upbringing (physical or psychological abuse etc.) have never developed a sense of empathy.
As Atheist Humanists we do our best to enjoy happy and responsible lives while helping others to do the same - it is not difficult to be "good without god".
We accept that it is also possible for theists to be "good with god" though we sometime wonder when we watch the News each evening.
Free book: "No Need for God"
As Atheist Humanists we develop a strong sense of personal morality and have no intellectual, psychological or emotional need for the idea of god to enjoy happy and responsible lives.
We like to keep things simple ("Occam's Razor") so we have no need for the complexity associated with religion: gods, prophets, heaven, hell, devils, angels, jinn, miracles, holy men, martyrs, saints, holy books, holy places, temples, palaces, churches, rituals, external authority, priestly hierarchies, rule giving etc. However, we recognise that theists do feel such a need.
The book "No Need For God" was written by one of our local supporters and we are pleased to say that its print run sold out within weeks of publication.
The 92 page book is illustrated in full colour and is aimed at top primary, lower secondary level - but is also of interest to adults!
With the agreement of the author we can now offer the book for free.
- Please click here to download the cover in PDF format (4.4MB)
- Please click here to download the contents in PDF format (26.2MB)
We welcome comments about the book - please contact us to let us know what you think.
Permission to copy and distribute
Permission is granted for anyone to download and distribute the book, unchanged and free of charge, in electronic or print form.
Please contact us if you wish to distribute the book commercially - i.e. if you wish to charge for it.
Making a free and informed choice about what to believe
Education should enable young people to make a free and informed choice about what to believe.
- we support the right of people to believe what they wish - as long as:
- they cause no harm.
- they don't attempt to limit the freedoms of others.
- they don't discriminate as a result of their beliefs.
- they don't expect us to change our lives to meet their religious needs.
- they play a positive role in society.
- they don't try to impose their beliefs onto others, particularly children.
- they allow children to make a free and informed choice about what to believe.
- they accept that free speech means their beliefs may be criticised or even laughed at.
- they are not funded by tax payers.
- we support good Religious Education which provides pupils with information about a wide range of religious and non-religious beliefs.
- we oppose any form of worship, with its inherent god assumption, in taxpayer-funded schools.
- we oppose the apartheid of religiously and ethnically segregated schools where pupils are exposed to a single world view and remain ignorant of others.
- we provide speakers, free of charge, to talk to young people in schools, colleges and universities. We challenge established ideas, raise questions and promote intelligent discussion.
There is no gene for religion - you are not born Christian, Muslim, Judaist, Hindu etc. You are born with no religious beliefs - religion is imposed from outside. There are no religious children, only religious parents.
Many (most?) religious people have not made a free and informed choice - they have accepted the first god/religion that comes along, the one of their parents and community.
Finding out more
With all the fuss about what Muslim women wear it is interesting to look back 50 years to the visit of John Kennedy to Galway in 1963.
The girls from a local Catholic school were dressed in a very similar way to many Muslim women today. Catholic churches still request that women cover themselves when entering a church - particularly in Southern Europe. Flesh is not seemly in the sight of god.
Progress has been made - girls in Catholic schools in Ireland no longer wear this sort of uniform - but they are still indoctrinated into Catholic beliefs.
Click for a larger image