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TEDxDelft 2016 | Boris van der Ham | Redefining the fight for freedom

BORI8057“Everyone is a non-believer, one way or  another. Everybody on the stage today is challenging an already existing idea. Being inconsistent is the third biggest religion in the world,” claimed Boris van der Ham.

Born in Amsterdam, Van der Ham found an interest in drama and arts and was a part of various theater groups performing in Maastricht. Later switching to politics, which became his forte, he has served as the President of D66, a Dutch liberal democrat party, a member of the House of Representatives and the chairman of the Dutch Humanist Alliance. He is currently a writer and holds an important role at the Dutch Humanist Association. Van der Ham has been working extensively on the ideologies of freedom thinkers.

Van der Ham feels that because of their unique or so-called contrasting ideas to the rest of the society, non-believers are challenged in every walk of life. He is critical of the offense and aggression shown towards non-believers in most countries. He feels that peaceful coexistence also involves respecting those different beliefs. “It is human nature to question things. Every idea should be challenged,” he said. As a humanist, he feels everyone’s choice and thinking should be respected and given an equal place.

“The right to be a non-believer reflects our freedom. It makes our lives better,” he said. He therefore challenges them to be confident with their inconsistency and that it is a right to cherish.

TEDxDelft 2016 | Boris van der Ham | Redefining the fight for freedom

Boris van der Ham 2“Our freedom feels a bit self-evident,” Boris van der Ham, humanist and writer, says. Though to obtain this freedom people had to fight. There are places in the world where people fight for this freedom and they deserve our support. But who exactly are they?

Van der Ham was born in Amsterdam, where he would later study history. He switched to the Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts, after which he worked as an actor at various theatre groups. But the appeal of politics was stronger, after being the president of the youth section of D66, a Dutch liberal democrat party. He worked as a parliamentary assistant for both the European and Dutch parliament and was elected several times as a a full-fledged member of Dutch parliament, where he stayed for ten years. At present, Van der Ham is a writer and is chairing various organisations, such as the Dutch Humanist Association. Last year he made the documentary ‘Among non-believers’.

“In parts of the world the fight for freedom is still ongoing,” van der Ham explains. There are people who think differently from what is conventional where they live. It is a cause Van der Ham has been closely following and involved with. “Because they think differently from the main religious or ideological viewpoint their lives are threatened, both socially and judicially.”

Over the past couple of years, Van der Ham has been working more and more on freedom thinkers. “It is fundamental for a peaceful society that the right that one can be different is acknowledged and respected.” For his talk, Van der Ham will discuss what he calls ‘non-believers’. “It is an increasingly larger group in the world,” he says. “In one way or another everyone is a ‘non-believer’, regardless of whether one is religious or atheist.” But then the question remains: who or what is a non-believer, and what do they do?

Curious to learn how Boris van der Ham has come to redefine non-believers? Then buy your tickets now, and come join us on Friday 15 April to celebrate the universal genius.