Secular humanism is a lifestance and a philosophy that upholds reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects religious dogma and the supernatural. This life stance holds that it is up to the individual to lead an ethical life and advance an ethical society where its members can work for the betterment of humanity and attain personal fulfillment.
Why the Washington Area Secular Humanists ?
Humanists believe we can build a better world if we...
...seek human, rather than divine, solutions to the world’s problems through the application of critical reason, free inquiry and the scientific method.
...continually weigh and test dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, against observation, rather than accepting them on faith.
...support democratic forms of government and affirm the worth, dignity and right to self-determination of every human being.
...maintain the separation of church and state and the freedom of and from religion.
...combine personal liberty with social responsibility, and recognize our dependence on, and responsibility for, the natural world.
(an excerpt from the essay by Phillip Kalmanson)
As our society becomes more enlightened the numbers of people who have shed or are in the process of shedding themselves from religion and superstitious thought have been increasing. We who have identified ourselves as atheist, agnostic, free-thinker, skeptic, or secular humanist are finding our communities growing.
The umbrella covering atheists, agnostics, free-thinkers, skeptics, & secular humanists is large. Under it are many people with different priorities on life and what they want out of it, different values, different visions of the future, and different thoughts on how they want to interact within their own community.
Before, many people who shared our thoughts were alone. Some lucky ones were able to join small communities of like minded individuals when those existed. Those groups were few in number and in many cases small in number. This is changing. Now there are more communities. When communities form, groups tend to form as well as a self emergent process. These groups can differ in the level of organization and direction based on the nuances of the community members. This increase in such groups is good. It helps to better serve the varied needs and wants people have. It allows the community at large to persist, grow, and evolve as time and conditions may dictate.
Does a person have to involve themselves in only one group or another? Of course not. People have many dimensions to them and person's needs and desires are dynamic. Any particular group may only fulfill one or a few aspects of person's interest, but not all. And the few it can, not all the time.
Since there can now be several groups for community of atheists, agnostics, a free-thinkers, skeptics, & secular humanists in a given location, what does the Washington Area Secular Humanist offer?
What WASH Offers
*Our focus is on the Humanist aspect. While of critical importance, secularism is only one aspect. It defines what person does not believe in. When a person is free from religion and superstitions they can better explore the humanist aspect.
*We hold regularly scheduled meetings every month at several locations, typically libraries or other places of learning where we try to bring in guest speakers notable within the local community and on occasion known within the national or international community. Humanist are trying to make the world a better place. Hear their story. If you are willing, tell us yours.
*WASH sponsors six local chapters, so it is possible to attend more than one event each month.
*We offer the chance to interact with the guest speakers through discussions and question and answer sessions that follow their presentations.
*Depending on the practices of the local WASH chapter, discussions can take place in a restaurant or coffee shop before the meeting or after. The same people but in a different atmosphere can take on interesting changes.
*If a meeting does not have a guest speaker then there will typically be a movie viewing on a topic of interest to the general humanist community. Just as with a guest speaker, there will be a discussion to follow with the subject either along the lines of the movie or flowing from topic to another.
*WASH sponsors Special Interest Groups (SIG) where you can speak your mind on a given topic, question the views of other members, have your own views questioned and challenged. If all works out at the end all the participants will grow intellectually from the discussion and have a greater appreciation for their fellow members. If you wish to hold a SIG let us know.
*Come Hiking with Humanist! Coordinated hikes several times a year on local trails with varying levels of difficulty. Spend a half a day or all day with a smaller group of humanist while hiking through the woods. Sometimes a good discussion really takes time, space, and fresh air to form. Hiking is a great venue to allow this to occur.
*Winter Banquet. Our big event held every year with more speakers, more topics, great food, great fun and all accessible to the DC area.
*A monthly newsletter the "WASHLine" which provides articles written by WASH members as well as book reviews, editorials, letters, and news of upcoming events of interest to the local Humanist community.
*The Blue book and the Green book. Collections of essays by WASH members on various topics from the Humanist Perspective. Some essays pertain to the history of Humanism and other to the Humanist influence on different aspects of society.
*Because of the distributed nature of WASH's leadership into a Board of Directors and six local chapters, there are plenty opportunities to get involved directly in the planning and activities that WASH offers.
Lastly, many of the items mentioned above are educational to one degree or another. I have heard it said that knowledge is the product of education and the ultimate purpose of knowledge is action.
Whether that action takes the form of self growth or changing the world for the better, action is the end point. In that regard, WASH offers collaborations with National Groups. On many occasions WASH members will either work with or volunteer on behalf of WASH with organizations like the American Humanist Association, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Atheist Alliance International, The Center For Inquiry, and The Secular Coalition of America. WASH humanist are trying to make the world a better place. You can be a part of it too!
If any of these things appeal to you, we invite you to learn more about secular humanism, and the Washington Area Secular Humanists (WASH).
This site is maintained by the Washington Area Secular Humanist (www.WASH.org) to notify anyone interested in Humanism about the activities of WASH and its member chapters and to invite them to join our monthly meetings and other activities. These "meet ups" are a chance for Humanists to get together and engage in lively discussions with each other and with guest speakers about various topics pertinent to humanist thoughts and ideals.
WASH has meetings and activities going on in various locations around the Washington D.C. metro area organized by the various chapter coordinators. WASH members and those interested can participate in the activities of any chapter.
WASH chapters are as follows:
Baltimore Secular Humanists (BSH)
Frederick Secular Humanists (FRESH)
Fredericksburg Secular Humanists (FSH
Maryland Washington DC area (MDC)
Northern Virgina Area
Richmond Area Free Thinkers (RAFT)
Shenandoah Area Secular Humanist (SASH)
Lynchburg Area Secular Humanist (LASH)
You do not need to be a member of WASH to participate in these meetings, nor do you have to accept our beliefs or ideals. We do require all participants to respect and abide by the rules of the facilities we meet at, to respect the other attendees viewpoints, to be courteous to the other attendees, and to be courteous to the guest speakers.