What is Humanism?
Humanism is a philosophical life stance that affirms the intrinsic value of human beings, our capacity to rationally explore our natural world, the development of ethical and moral systems to maximize individual and societal happiness, and our ability to connect with other human beings through love and compassion.
- Science and Critical Thinking
Humanism encourages us to observe, experiment, and draw conclusions about our surroundings using the natural methods of science. We seek to understand the nature of the Cosmos by applying our capacity for reason in order to solve the problems of existence.
- Interconnectedness with Nature
Humanism teaches that human beings are an expression of biological life that is continuous with all others that are found here on Earth, and possibly beyond. We have evolved to this point through unguided, natural mechanisms and share a kinship with all the beasts of the field, birds of the air, and the fish in the sea. The future of the human species is intricately tied to the planet which gave birth to us, and we are custodians of its legacy.
- Human-Based Ethics
Humanism recognizes that ethical values are derived from the realities of human life and its needs, tested by experience in our shared society. Humanists concern themselves with addressing the life circumstances, social contexts, and economic necessities of their brothers and sisters around the world. Humanists understand that all persons have inherent worth and dignity, and should have the right to free consent, coupled with equal responsibility.
- Personal Meaning and Purpose
Humanism seeks to encourage individual exploration and validation of its ideals, with the goal of providing deep meaning and fulfillment for all. Humanists find purpose in experiencing and transcending the many joys and beauties of human existence, as well as its challenges and tragedies. Humanists find themselves rising to the opportunity to help others in times of difficulty, and spreading encouragement in times of plenty.
- Social Meaning and Cooperation
Humanism acknowledges that human beings as a species are highly social by nature, and tend to derive deep meaning through close relationships. Humanists seek to promote within society the spirit of cooperation, discouraging those who would resort to violence. Humanists revel in the interconnectedness of human social structures, and use them to inspire hope, ensure justice, and secure peace.
- Advancing Equality and Community
Humanism demonstrates that promoting individual equality and social justice serves to maximize happiness for all. Although in the past, societies were concerned only with mere survival and the brutal advancement of a powerful few, Humanists today seek to create and sustain within society an equitable partitioning of nature's resources to provide security to all. Humanists seek to ensure that all humans are free to exchange the fruits of their effort in order to provide for themselves and their loved ones.
- Safeguarding Freedom and Diversity
Humanism respects the fundamental freedoms of all humans, promoting equal protection of human rights and civil liberties in all societies. Humanists participate in the democratic process as a civic duty within their communities and on the global stage. Humanists stand firmly on the side of free expression, diversity of viewpoints, and variety of experience.
- Human-Focused Responsibility
Humanism above all else teaches that the responsibility for our lives and our world rests on the shoulders of human beings, ourselves. We all, individually and collectively, have a responsibility to treat each other with fairness, with compassion, and with love.