Humanism

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link titleHumanism is an Umbrella term.

Harvey Lebrun of the American Humanist Association (AHA) provides his self promoting definition of Humanism in the form of this coupled statement:

Humanism is:

A. A naturalistic, scientific, secular philosophy or concept of humanity and the universe that precludes any belief in or reliance upon supposedly supernatural powers.
B. An ethics or way of life based on human experience and imbued with compassion for other human beings that calls for commitment to betterment of humanity through the methods of science, democracy, and reason, without any limitations by political, ecclesiastical, or other dictates.

The Humanist Manifesto III, published by the AHA, opens with the following sentence:

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

The Manifesto goes on to describe the "lifestance" of Humanism as being "guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience".

It identifies the following major tenets of the Humanist philosophy:

  • Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.
  • Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.
  • Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
  • Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
  • Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
  • Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.

The Manifesto closes with the following statements:

Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity, and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure, sustainable manner.

Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.

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