The Humanists of North Central Florida grew out of a vision by its founder for a thriving, dynamic community of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and Humanists in the Ocala/Marion County area.
Who We Are
We are a friendly group concerned with the well-being of all, and committed to diversity and respect for those of differing yet humane views. We encourage living life well and fully. We strive for a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty, where differences are resolved cooperatively. We work toward an open and secular society. We meet regularly in Ocala, FL.
How HNCFL Began
In 2009, a small group of loosely connected individuals met intermittently for member-led programs/discussions. These gatherings evolved into twice monthly meetings for educational programs and occasional social gatherings.
The founder of the group identified as a Humanist. Some members simply described themselves as belonging to the growing number of “nones,” while still others identified as agnostic or atheist. All were looking for a welcoming community in Ocala of nonreligious people interested in separation of church and state.
A relationship with a local life-long learning center was developed where meetings/programs were held. In 2011, the group affiliated with the Humanists of Florida (now the Florida Humanist Association) and the American Humanist Association. These connections increased the visibility of the group at the state and national levels.
Monthly programs and social gatherings continued and the small group grew. In 2014, a board of directors was formed, bylaws written and membership criteria developed. A request was submitted to and approved by the American Humanist Association for the Humanists of North Central Florida to be recognized as a chapter of the national organization. HNCFL is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
The lifeblood of the HNCFL is its members. Together, members create and participate in activities and events to promote Humanism, learn new things, help our community, support each other and enjoy life.
As members, we share our time to ensure the goals of the organization are met. Members are invited to contribute skills and expertise to:
- Enhance the operation of the organization
- Increase awareness
- Attract new members
- Organize activities
- Strategically plan to maximize the group’s resources
What We Believe
Humanists believe that this is the only life of which we have certain knowledge and that we owe it to ourselves and others to make it the best life possible for ourselves and all with whom we share this fragile planet. It is not a doctrine or a set of rules. It is a starting point. Its founding idea is that ethics must be based on the facts of human experience.
For some, the result of thinking for themselves about ethics might be close to a conventional moral outlook. For others, the result might be less conventional. Either way, there are just two constraints:
- One’s choices must not be aimed at harming others
- One must be able to make a solid case for one’s outlook
Humanism draws on 2,500 years of non-religious ethical thinking dating from Socrates. It enjoys a deep, rich tradition of insight, wisdom and inspiration without supernaturalistic beliefs involved.
Humanism offers the possibility of truly global ethics that everyone can live by. Consider a utopia in which people — having been liberated from religion at last — can agree to base their ethics on a generous view of human nature and its needs.
— A. C. Grayling, philosopher and author
Humanists recognize the incredible potential of human beings. As HNCFL members, we:
- Embrace common human needs for social interaction and support
- Seek solely rational ways to solve problems and hold science in the highest regard
- Strive to lead meaningful lives that add to the greater good of humanity
- Aspire to the worldview in the Humanist Manifesto
What We Do
Members and friends come together each month for educational and social gatherings.
- Secular Tables – On the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 a.m., freethinkers meet at different restaurants to enjoy lunch and conversation
- Secular Conversations – Master the Possibilities Lifelong Learning Center offers public programs on a variety of topics from art to zoology.
- Secular Friends At Home – Monthly small gathering (6 to 8 members) are hosted in member homes to share lunch or dinner and conversation
In addition, opportunities to serve the community are also available.
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