source & more news: BHA Press Release
Dorset Humanists have heard with sadness of the death of Claire Rayner, President of the BHA from 1999 to 2004, and a Vice-President since 2004. From knowing little about organised Humanism, she became a vigorous advocate of humanist philosophy and causes.
Among her most recent targets were the Pope (“His views are so disgusting, so repellent and so hugely damaging to the rest of us, that the only thing to do is to get rid of him.”)
Her life-long rationalism remained unshaken when in 2003 she almost died as a result of complications after a routine operation. Asked on Radio 4 whether the hallucinations she had experienced during her “near death experience” involved seeing God, she replied:
No. I am a humanist… And I saw no long tunnels with lights at the end – I mean, those sort of out-of-body experiences that people are supposed to have, or last-minute experiences before they are dragged back, I think they are effects of hypoxia, a lack of oxygen, I’m quite sure that’s why people get those effects, and I wasn’t short of oxygen, they were pumping the stuff into me in vast quantities. So I had none of those hallucinations. [Mine] were – what were they? – coloured lights, lots of coloured lights. Pretty ones, like Des’s pictures – my husband paints interesting abstracts, and I saw a lot of his paintings there were no nasty hallucinations I’m happy to say.”
Claire Rayner said "You think for yourself, and work out your own morality… I’m fascinated by the idea of trying to find your own way through the world with your own maps rather than someone else’s... All I know is there is no God in my universe. I’ve looked and looked, and there ain’t no God there. But I don’t want to be a dogmatic atheist. I like mythology, and a life without stories doesn’t bear thinking about, just let us not have supernatural beings. What is natural is awe-full enough. We don’t need a First Cause."