What is Humanism?


I mostly identify as a Freethinker.  That seems the most positive way of expressing my non-theistic, non-supernaturalist views.  Yes, I am an atheist since I do not believe in any divine beings, but I choose not to be defined by a negative word.  This is one reason I also call myself a Humanist and have a secular “ordination” as a Humanist Celebrant through the American Humanist Society.

You’ll notice in the following descriptive definitions of Humanism, it is not a belief-system.  I do not “believe” in Humanism.  It’s a “philosophy of life” based on reason and ethical living.

“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.”
American Humanist Association

“Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values-be they religious, ethical, social, or political-have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.”
– The Humanist Magazine

Here’s a handy chart of Humanist Commitments:

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{Download a PDF of the Chart}

A select list of well-known Humanists in History

Categories: HumanismTags: , , , , , , , ,

2 comments

  1. Chris. I am in this “Me too” movement of humanists. For many of the same reasons I also call myself a Humanist when it comes up and am volunteering as a Humanist Chaplain at a Western Canadian University. If you go onto the AHA site, you can read my journey to this like-minded life stance in their Humanist Profiles page. You will get a heads up on my book on Humanism out this year later this Fall. We have so much to offer and we are just getting started.

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