ChichesterHumanists

Chichester Humanists is a local branch of West Sussex Humanists and represents the interests of the non-religious residents in and around Chichester.

Each month we discuss issues concerning religion and belief, ethics, equality, human rights and science, including current events.

We liase with Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council on matters concerning equality of religion and belief, and monitor Council activities, including proposals for new "faith" schools.

We are keen to campaign on behalf of non-religious residents who feel disadvantaged because of their beliefs, e.g. access to a community school, discrimination at work or through the delivery of local services.

We organise events and displays, invite prominent speakers, and give talks to local organisations, including schools and colleges.

We meet once a month in Chichester Inn, 38 West Street, West Sussex, PO19 1RP (tel: ChichesterInn01243 783185)

Click on the photo for their website.

Meetings are from 7.30pm on the third Monday of the month (third Tuesday when there is a bank holiday). Instead of membership subscriptions, there is a £2 entrance charge for each meeting (£3 for visitors).

If you would like to meet some local freethinkers and have a chat, please come along and join us at the next meeting. Look out for the poster above.

For more details, email Andrew.

NOTE:
Being freethinkers there are many things secular humanists will not agree on, but there are some matters on which we do take a firm and unanimous stand. We do not condone prejudice of any sort. Nor do we hate religious people. Such views are entirely contrary to any humanist philosophy and we reserve the right to exclude any person promoting them.

Click on the poster for a larger version to display in your area.

Morality and War talk by Flight Lieutenant Robin Crosse at Chichester Humanists 21st April 2014

ChichesterHumanistsRobinCrosseDefenceHumanistsApril2014debate

Flight Lieutenant Robin Crosse is a helicopter pilot and returned from Afghanistan a few weeks before giving a talk on War and Morality at the Chichester Inn.

Robin began with a PowerPoint presentation that outlined his views of war and its associated moral issues. He began with a personal history.

After studying law and science at Birmingham University, his aim was to become a pilot, the quickest route being in the armed forces flying a range of helicopters. Recently he became the Simulation Liason Officer and joined the Defence Humanists Committee.

 

Robin began by clarifying the meaning of the word 'war': a state of organised open-ended collective conflict or hostillity (Alexander Mosely). Or a continuation of politics by other means (Karl von Clausewitz). He dismissed the notion of the imaginary 'war on terror'.

He then asked why nations engage in war and considered various causes including genetic predisposition,  culture and a position based on reason.

Robin then considered the morarlity of war in various ways:

  • self-defence (resisting invasion, pre-emtping invasion and intervention in another country's affairs)
    as a last resort

He then discussed moral conduct within a war:

  • a response must be proportional
    it must be necessary
    it must be humane

He also considered what happens when the enemy uses different rules of warfare. This was later touched upon by a real example. Youths in Afghanistan sometimes throw rocks at low flying helicopters which can make them crash, yet gunners will not fire upon them because they are youths. He also contrasted the approach of UK and US forces.

In conclusion, Robin summed up his approach to morality: act rationally.

After a drinks break, Robin was asked various questions.

What is it like being a Humanist in the armed forces? It's not an issue of importance between colleagues.

Is morality regularly discussed between colleagues? No. Training involves correct conduct in warfare.

Are Humanists discriminated against in the armed forces? Yes there are only religious chaplains. I would not want to share my troubles with someone who looks to God for answers.

Naturally some questions were about life in the armed forces. One interesting story was about noticing a fin shaped hole in both sides of the helicopter. The crew realised that a rocket had passed right through the thin skin of the helicopter without them noticing.

We thanked Robin for sharing his views on the morality of war and giving us a small insight into what motivates a member of the armed forces.

 

 

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