What is the Flathead Area Secular Humanist Association?
FASHA is a grassroots, democratic, member-driven, “non-prophet” organization in Flathead County, Montana.
FASHA was founded by Ian Cameron in September 2011 to serve as a resource and a badly needed community for area atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and other freethinkers. FASHA’s first meeting was held in December 2011. In 2013, FASHA became a limited liability company and ownership was transferred to Richard E. Wackrow.
In December 2016, FASHA became a chapter of the American Humanist Association. FASHA also is affiliated with the Council for Secular Humanism, a program of the Center for Inquiry/Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Today, FASHA schedules meetings and events in the community, most of which are free and open to the public, several times per month. It conducts community-service activities, such as participation in the Adopt-a-Highway program and volunteer conservation work in Glacier National Park. And FASHA actively works to ensure that the principle of separation of church and state is adhered to in Flathead County.
See our Home page for more details about FASHA events, activities and issues. Also see our Mission Statement, below.
Secular Humanist Principles
As explained by the Council for Secular Humanism, secular humanism is a comprehensive, nonreligious life stance incorporating a naturalistic philosophy, a cosmic outlook rooted in science, and a consequentialist ethical system.
Let’s examine these items one by one:
A comprehensive, nonreligious life stance
Secular humanism is comprehensive, touching every aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and identity. Thus it is broader than atheism, which concerns only the nonexistence of god or the supernatural. Important as that may be, there’s a lot more to life ... and secular humanism addresses it.
Secular humanism is nonreligious, espousing no belief in a realm or beings imagined to transcend ordinary experience.
Secular humanism is a lifestance, or what Council for Secular Humanism founder Paul Kurtz has termed a eupraxsophy: a body of principles suitable for orienting a complete human life. As a secular lifestance, secular humanism incorporates the Enlightenment principle of individualism, which celebrates emancipating the individual from traditional controls by family, church, and state, increasingly empowering each of us to set the terms of his or her own life.
A naturalistic philosophy
Secular humanism is philosophically naturalistic. It holds that nature (the world of everyday physical experience) is all there is, and that reliable knowledge is best obtained when we query nature using the scientific method. Naturalism asserts that supernatural entities like God do not exist, and warns us that knowledge gained without appeal to the natural world and without impartial review by multiple observers is unreliable.
A cosmic outlook rooted in science
Secular humanism provides a cosmic outlook—a world-view in the broadest sense, grounding our lives in the context of our universe and relying on methods demonstrated by science. Secular humanists see themselves as undesigned, unintended beings who arose through evolution, possessing unique attributes of self-awareness and moral agency.
A consequentialist ethical system
Secular humanists hold that ethics is consequential, to be judged by results. This is in contrast to so-called command ethics, in which right and wrong are defined in advance and attributed to divine authority.
“No god will save us,” declared Humanist Manifesto II (1973), “we must save ourselves.” Secular humanists seek to develop and improve their ethical principles by examining the results they yield in the lives of real men and women.
FASHA’s primary mission is to provide a community and support system for local atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, skeptics and other freethinkers.
In addition, FASHA’s goals are to:
- Educate the public about secular humanism.
- Constructively address any violations of the secular doctrine of separation of church and state.
- Promote the idea that our current, best science — based upon freedom of conscience, free inquiry, critical thinking and evidence — is and will continue to be the best hope for making our own lives, our society, and our world the best they can be.
The privacy, confidentiality and safety of FASHA members as well as those inquiring about FASHA is of primary importance and concern.
Email addresses and other personal information about members is kept in the strictest confidence and will not be shared with other members or any third parties without permission.