Read on to find out more about the FSI. If there’s something else you want to know, you can ask a question or leave a comment using the form at the bottom of this page, and we’ll get back to you soon.
1. What do we do?
The FSI works in four main areas to promote individual and social freedoms within a secular humanist worldview:
- Education: Through direct teaching, including seminars, workshops and conferences, and through enabling access to information and tools for critical thinking. One example is Ideas for Africa, our initiative for distributing pro-science and secularism books to those who might not otherwise get to read them.
- Advocacy: Providing comment on laws and bills, engaging in policy debates, and providing a secular voice in interfaith debates. Examples include a submission to the Press Freedom Commission on media regulation; promoting secularity in schools and universities and defending freedom of expression in broadcasting regulations.
- Consumer protection: Providing media commentary, laying complaints with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and publicly opposing violations of law and policy. Examples include ASA complaints regarding misleading advertising for e.g. PowerBalance bracelets, and frequent letters to school principals highlighting discrimination against non-religious pupils and staff.
- Creating community: Through regular meetings, social events, annual conferences and the maintenance of online community. We host a monthly “skeptics in the pub” social gathering in Cape Town, an active Facebook community, and we are currently in the process of planning a major national conference.
2. Why do we do it?
We believe that attention to these four areas can help individuals – and by extension, society – to flourish. This is because:
- Scientific reasoning can provide an intellectual tool kit that enables people to think through their options, and feel more confident that they are making the most reasonable choices, under any given cricumstances;
- Making better choices can minimise the harms people may encounter – particularly in areas where we are most vulnerable, such as healthcare and education;
- Contributing to better policies and legal frameworks can make our lives more efficient, and also help to protect even the voiceless;
- Many of us want a space for people to enjoy community and to share their experiences, and the FSI recognises and promotes this want.