After 18 months the Alternatives to Religion cataloguing project reaches its conclusion this week. The project has unearthed the histories of three influential non-theistic organisations, making their archives freely accessible for the first time.
From the Archives Blog
From the Archives allows us in the Humanist Library and Archives to share some of our wonderful items and our learning with you!
It also includes entries from the former A2R (Alternatives to Religion) blog, a collaborative project between Conway Hall and Bishopsgate Institute which sparked exploration of some of the ways people have tried to make sense of the world and live together ethically without the need for faith in a God or gods. The key themes linking this broad movement are Freethought, Ethics, Humanism, Rationalism and Secularism. Material for these entries came from the British Humanist Association, The National Secular Society and Conway Hall Ethical Society. Posts were written by archivists, Nicky Hilton and Carl Harrison.
In 1966 the National Secular Society celebrated 100 years of campaigning for the separation of religion and state. In the run-up to the anniversary they received numerous warm, funny and thought-provoking letters of support from the most influential figures of the day.
Next month will see the 181st birthday of Charles Bradlaugh, a committed atheist and political activist. Bradlaugh was the founder of the National Secular Society, bringing together localised secular societies to campaign for the separation of Church and State.
National Secular Society members in Nottingham on 5 June 1949 attending the Society’s Annual Conference.
Throughout the 20th century the National Secular Society kept records of local secular society branches and affiliated groups. This included organisations both in the UK and abroad. From the National Secular Society archive, this photograph captures the Birmingham Branch on their annual outing in 1926.
Thomas Paine, the political activist, philosopher, author, political theorist and revolutionary, is one figure who appears in all three archives of the Alternatives to Religion Project – National Secular Society, British Humanist Association and Conway Hall Ethical Society.