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Humanists Sweden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Formation1979; 41 years ago (1979)
TypeNonprofit organisation
PurposeWorking for a secular society and human rights, promoting a secular humanist lifestance
Region served
David Rönnegard

Humanists Sweden (Swedish: Humanisterna) is the largest humanist/rationalist organisation in Sweden with about 4,500 members. It is a member organisation of Humanists International (HI) and the European Humanist Federation (EHF).[2]

Humanists Sweden work for a secular life stance founded on reason, compassion and responsibility. Its goals include a completely secular state, free of religious oppression, discrimination and other infringements on human rights. Humanists Sweden also promotes science and philosophy as primary methods for finding general knowledge and answers to empirical questions, staunchly opposing pseudoscience.[1]

Organisation and history

The organisation was founded in 1979 and was then called Human-Etiska Förbundet ("Humanist-Ethical Association"). The name was changed into the more international Humanisterna in 1999.[2]

David Rönnegard has been chairman of the organisation since April 2020.[2]

There are eleven local groups, situated in Gotland, Jönköping, Kalmar, Stockholm, Södertälje, Umeå, Uppsala, Värmland, Väst, Örebro, and Östergötland.[3]

Core standpoints and activities

Selected core standpoints:

  • Protect the secular state.
  • Children also have the right to freedom of religion. No religiously-based compulsory education schools should be allowed.
  • Ethics should not be based on religious myths.
  • Protect the right to free abortion.
  • Protect sexual freedom for consenting adults, and respect sexual minorities.
  • Forbid female and male genital mutilation/circumcision.
  • Remove the Swedish church’s near-monopoly on funeral services.
  • Improve treatment of the dying, investigate euthanasia.
  • All people should have the right to non-religious ceremonies at the different stages of life.

Selected core activities

  • Provide information about secular humanism as a worldview.
  • Debate totalitarian and racist ideologies, religious teaching and traditions, and the consequences of these for individuals and society.
  • Arranges humanistic worldview camps for youths.
  • Provide advice and help to people who want a secular ceremony for their marriage, funeral or welcoming a new child.
  • Annually  awards  the Hedenius award, commemorating the Swedish philosopher Ingemar Hedenius, to someone who has helped spread the humanistic message in Swedish society.
  • Arrange a secular ceremony that marks the opening of the Swedish Parliament in September since 2012.[2]

The Nordic Humanist Manifesto 2016[3] summarizes Humanisterna Sweden's core tenets.

Secular ceremonies

The majority of Sweden's population is not religious and there is an increasing demand for secular alternatives to religious ceremonies. The ceremonies of baptisms, marriages and funerals are still largely carried out in churches, conducted by priests, even though the participants rarely are practicing Christians. Humanisterna offers help and advice in creating secular ceremonies for those who don't wish to employ the Church of Sweden or other religious institutions. They also organize coming-of-age summer camps for teenagers where the participants get to discuss ethics, philosophy, religion, human rights, discrimination and other important issues. These are analogous to Christian confirmation camps, although a person does not need to be a member of Humanisterna or share the humanistic worldview to participate and no confession of faith is made.


Humanists Sweden publishes a quarterly membership magazine called Humanisten ("the Humanist").[4]

Hedenius Award

The yearly award commemorates the Swedish philosopher Ingemar Hedenius, whose views - expressed in his book Tro och vetande ("Belief and knowledge") - were instrumental in starting the cultural debate that eventually led to the separating of the Swedish church and state. Its purpose is to acknowledge and support individuals who have worked, as Hedenius did, for a humanistic life stance, rationalism and critical thinking. The award was founded in 2000.[5]

Previous winners


Kristallkulan ("the Crystal ball") is a prize of 100,000 SEK that will be awarded to anyone who can demonstrate beyond doubt that they possess a paranormal or supernatural talent that cannot be explained by conventional science. The award is similar to the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation.


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-09-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c "In English | Humanisterna" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  3. ^ "Nordic Humanist Manifesto 2016 | Humanisterna" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  4. ^ "Medlemstidningen Humanisten | Humanisterna" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  5. ^ "Hedeniuspriset | Humanisterna" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2020-09-08.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 November 2020, at 01:10
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