Non-religious people may typically think for themselves about what is right and wrong, based on reason and respect for others; find meaning, beauty and joy in the one life we have, without the need for an afterlife; look to science instead of religion as the best way to discover and understand the world and believe people can use empathy and compassion to make the world a better place for everyone.
The non-religious are the biggest religion/belief group after Christians. About 22% to 45% of hospital patients are non-religious. Non-religious patients may face the same fears, hopes, anguish, questions of meaning and purpose, sense of loss and bereavement as religious patients. Such patients may not identify these issues as ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’. However, they may need and want appropriate care and support. Just as a Christian or Muslim may sometimes want that support from another Christian or Muslim so a non-religious patient may want support from a non-religious person.
The Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network aims to encourage the NHS to be much more proactive in getting humanists and like-minded non-religious people to become full members of NHS pastoral, spiritual, and religious care teams. It also aims to provide training so that suitable non-religious people will have the confidence and understanding to apply for voluntary pastoral care roles in the healthcare sector.