posted on Mar, 3 2003 @ 07:01 PM
Humanism is a philosophy, not a formal religion. Humanism goes back to the ancient Greek philosophers and was introduced to Western Europe during the
Modern Humanism combines a deep concern for the individual (the Epicureans) and the State (Bentham), stating that we must make the best of our lives,
be interested in everything - live life to the full. George Bernard Shaw wrote "This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised
by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrapheap; the being a force of
Nature instead of a feverish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy"... Get off
of your couch, switch off the T.V., and start living your life...
Modern humanists have mostly discarded religion, on the grounds that acceptance of the existence of God requires an act of faith - which is seen as a
betrayal of reason. Also religion is seen as no longer necessary - a hindrance rather than a help to social reform. man is the centre of his universe,
Below are some of Humanisms main tenants:
1. Humanism is one of those philosophies for people who think for themselves. There is no area of thought that a Humanist is afraid to challenge and
2. Humanism is a philosophy focused upon human means for comprehending reality. Humanists make no claims to possess or have access to supposed
3. Humanism is a philosophy of reason and science in the pursuit of knowledge. Therefore, when it comes to the question of the most valid means for
acquiring knowledge of the world; Humanists reject arbitrary faith, authority, revelation, and altered states of consciousness.
4. Humanism is a philosophy of imagination. Humanists recognize that intuitive feelings, hunches, speculation, flashes of inspiration, emotion,
altered states of consciousness, and even religious experience, while not valid means to acquire knowledge, remain useful sources of ideas that can
lead us to new ways of looking at the world. These ideas, after they have been assessed rationally for their usefulness, can then be put to work,
often as alternate approaches for solving problems.
5. Humanism is a philosophy for the here and now. Humanists regard human values as making sense only in the context of human life rather than in the
promise of a supposed life after death.
6. Humanism is a philosophy of compassion. Humanist ethics is solely concerned with meeting human needs and answering human problems--for both the
individual and society--and devotes no attention to the satisfaction of the desires of supposed theological entities.
7. Humanism is a realistic philosophy. Humanists recognize the existence of moral dilemmas and the need for careful consideration of immediate and
future consequences in moral decision making.
8. Humanism is in tune with the science of today. Humanists therefore recognize that we live in a natural universe of great size and age that we
evolved on this planet over a long period of time, that there is no compelling evidence for a separable "soul," and that human beings have certain
built-in needs that effectively form the basis for any human-oriented value system.
9. Humanism is in tune with today's enlightened social thought. Humanists are committed to civil liberties, human rights, church-state separation,
the extension of participatory democracy not only in government but in the workplace and education, an expansion of global consciousness and exchange
of products and ideas internationally, and an open-ended approach to solving social problems, an approach that allows for the testing of new
10. Humanism is in tune with new technological developments. Humanists are willing to take part in emerging scientific and technological discoveries
in order to exercise their moral influence on these revolutions as they come about, especially in the interest of protecting the environment.
11. Humanism is, in sum, a philosophy for those in love with life. Humanists take responsibility for their own lives and relish the adventure of
being part of new discoveries, seeking new knowledge, exploring new options. Instead of finding solace in prefabricated answers to the great questions
of life, Humanists enjoy the open-endedness of a quest and the freedom of discovery that this entails.