Humanism

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The "Happy Human" logo is used as a symbol of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), as well as Humanism generally.

Humanism is a group of non-theistic philosophical belief systems that are based on humans as the center of moral value. The word Humanism is capitalized to distinguish it as a "life stance" and from earlier movements that used that name, such as renaissance humanism.[1] Non-theism can refer to either atheism or agnosticism. The movement includes both secularists and religious non-theists.

"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality."

— IHEU Minimum Statement on Humanism [2]

Many people arrive at a Humanist view without being aware of the term or the movement's history. The vast majority of humanists are not involved in any formal humanist organization. While the general goals of Humanism are broadly accepted by Humanists, the means to achieve them are under continual debate and review.

Contents

Tenets

As a philosophy, Humanism is usually defined based on something like the following tenets:

  • Reason, evidence, and the scientific method are the best methods of finding solutions to problems and answers to questions, rather than faith.
  • In consequence of the preceding point, rejection of metaphysics and absolute morality.
  • Fulfillment, growth, and creativity are emphasized for both the individual and mankind in general.
  • An emphasis on making this life the best it can be for everyone, since humanists (especially those who include the word "secular") tend to believe that this life is the only one a person gets.
  • A search for a good system of individual, social, and political ethics.
  • An ultimate goal of building a better world for ourselves and our descendants by working together.
  • Mainstream religions are out of date and do not adequately address contemporary problems.
  • Support for democracy, a secular society and human rights.
  • Actions are judged based on their likely consequences (consequentialism).
  • Support for artistic and creative endeavors.
  • Negotiation is to be preferred over violence.
  • Some more recent manifestos call for a "planetary humanism", including environmentalism, having our concerns transcend national and ethnic boundaries, progressive policies such as universal (global) education, anti-discrimination and anti-intolerance of minorities, economic security and health care.

These points are not a dogma or creed. It is not necessary to agree with every idea or every part of any Humanist manifesto to be a Humanist. There is some controversy as to how broadly should Humanism is defined. Some Humanists prefer a simple broad definition and others use a more detailed narrow description.

Compatibility with religion

Many participants of mainstream religions are also Humanists. This is particularly true in liberal churches that have no mandatory creed such as Unitarianism and the Quakers. These people participate in the culture and community of a religion while rejecting theism.

"Although we do not consider Humanism to be a “religion” within the wide-spread use of the term to denote beliefs and practices resting on some hypothetical supernatural entity, we are “religious” in that we share with most Unitarian Universalists the natural human desires for a beloved and accepting community; a purpose greater than ourselves; rituals and practices that resonate with our common humanity and shared mortality; and opportunities to work with other tough-minded, warm-hearted people to do good in the world and to help one another attain the greatest possible fulfillment in life. [3]"
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The Humanism movement is often treated as separate secular and religious humanist groups (note that a lower case "h" is used). Religious humanists have Humanist values but remain within traditional religious culture and institutions. Secular humanists have the same Humanist values but reject traditional organized religion and its culture. The IHEU recommended that these distinctions are not used because they are confusing and relatively unimportant.

"It is academic sectarianism to promote a half dozen or more separate varieties of attitudes, But this does not require a multiplicity of names. The similarities between the beliefs and values of the different groups – even ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ Humanists – is more fundamental and more important than the different groups is divisive.[1]"

Comparison to rationalism

"What Humanism represents is the awareness of another framework, more consonant with wider and deeper knowledge about man and his world. [...] I want to contrast the perspective of humanism with that of traditional rationalism. [...] The older rationalism was on the defensive. And so it expressed itself too often in negative terms; not this;not that; not God; not revelation; not personal immortality. What Humanism signified was a shift from negation to construction.[4]"

History

Early humanism movements were influenced by the Enlightenment, advances in scientific understanding such as the theories of Charles Darwin, the writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Ethical movement and Biblical criticism. There were and are many varieties of humanism but they were often the result of a common social context. A very early group was the Humanistic Religious Association of London, founded in 1853 and aimed to cultivate science, philosophy and art. Little is known about the group. In the US, the Free Religious Association, a group of free thinkers and radicals at the end of the 19th century, were the forerunner to 20th century groups. This group was intensely individualistic when compared to later movements. The secular movement also begin to gain popularity in the 19th century with the founding of the British National Secular Society in 1866.

"[...] Religion is a principle inherent in man and is a means of developing his being towards greater perfection. We have emancipated ourselves from the ancient compulsory dogmas, myths and ceremonies borrowed of old from Asia and still pervading the ruling churches of our age."

— Humanistic Religious Association of London, 1853

In the earth 20th century, religious thinkers within liberal churches, including Unitarianism and the Quakers were attempting to harmonize their beliefs with new discoveries in physical and social sciences. They believed that truth could be discovered outside of the Bible, which was not considered to be divine revelation. Human reason and conscience was also considered a valid starting point for values. The Unitarian church did not emphasise strict religious belief in creeds or dogma, particularly in the Eastern United States, and was quite welcoming of its members questioning theism. This attitude continued into the Humanist Manifesto which also doesn't claim to be a creed. Documents such as Religion and the Modern Mind (1909), The Next Step in Religion (1918), The Humanist Pulpit and Humanist Sermons (1928) begin to outline a religious humanism that rejected superstition and called for reform of religious traditions. However, humanism did meet resistance as it spread. An attempt to exclude religious humanists from the Unitarian Church failed in 1920 and strengthened the security of their membership within the church. Humanist students at Meadville Unitarian Theological School were told they were not welcome in 1927.

Other Humanists at the time held very similar ideals but distanced themselves from traditional religious institutions and language.

April 1928 saw the first publication of The New Humanist, which continues to be published as thehumanist.com. It included contributions from a diverse range of humanist writers.

The early 1930's saw a wave of humanist organizations being founded, often by the schism of ministers from Unitarianism to found their own association. The Quakers also saw members break away to form their own groups such as the Humanist Society of Friends. There was no national humanist association in the US until 1935.

Literary humanism was a separate movement and based around the ideas of Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More. They were anti-science and not supportive of social change. Edwin H. Wilson and others believed they had misappropriated the term humanism. The movement was short lived but was sometimes confused with religious humanism.

The Humanist Manifesto I was published in 1933 which stated a consensus view of several humanistic thinkers. It was not intended as a creed but a statement of an evolving point of view. The manifesto was signed by 34 writers and thinkers including the philosopher John Dewey. Its main goal was in promote discussion and debate.

Soon after, Humanist Press Association was founded, which was later renamed to the American Humanist Association.

The movement also became more international with the International Humanist and Ethical Union being founded in 1952.

Humanism can under attack in the Cold War as it was seen as a tool of communist sympathizers.

The movement was again criticized in the 1980's by the religious right and the "Moral Majority". The Humanism movement has often been the scapegoat of the alleged moral decline in the United States.

Demographics

A 2006 poll found 36% of British people have a secular humanist view. The poll was based on agreement with three basic principles of humanism. Younger/middle aged, more affluent and more educated people were more likely to be humanist.[5]

Practices

Replacement ceremonies

Religions have traditionally provided a venue for celebrating life events, such as baby namings, marriages (although this is a relatively recent innovation in Christianity) and funerals. Humanists either just "play along" with religious ceremonies or devise alternative rituals. Most Humanist organizations facilitate these secular occasions, including the British Humanist Association[6].

Criticism

Humanism is a religion

Some maintain that Humanism is a religion.

Humanism Is A Religion:
A. They have a bible: Humanist Manifesto I & II
B. They have an object of worship: Man himself
C. They have a priesthood and missionaries: Public educators
D. They have seminaries: teachers colleges
E. They have temples: schools colleges and universities
F. They are intolerant of other religions[7]

From its origin, Humanism had religious influences, particularly in the United States. The 1933 "Humanist Manifesto I" was explicitly written to promote a movement that intended to replace existing religions. However, Humanism has evolved since then to distance itself from any specific religious institution, belief or practices but it remains compatible with membership of those other religions. While some Humanists exist within religion, when taken as a whole, Humanism has no set rituals, metaphysical beliefs or scripture. If Humanism is called a religion, we would have to ask if the definition of religion has been stretched so far as to be rendered meaningless. In many ways, this is just an argument over semantics.

Humanists don't actually worship "man himself" or consider schools to be places of worship. Humanists base their actions on different values than traditional religion, but that is not itself an act of worship.

The manifestos are not scripture for Humanists as the documents specifically state they are not a creed or unchanging revealed truth. This is an frequently used straw man attack.

Even if Humanism is a religion, this does not disprove it or have any particular consequence.

"In fact, I consider myself part of this group, as I would never self-identify as “religious.” Nevertheless, there are those within the humanist community who, though as godless as they come, consider humanism to be their religion. And while we could easily spend hours debating which approach is right, most of us realize that, at the end of the day, it’s simply a matter of personal preference.[8]"

By using this argument, the tactic of apologists seems to be to aggravate non-religious Humanists rather than actually say anything about Humanism.

Humanism results in moral and societal decline

Apologists sometimes criticize humanism for causing moral decline in society.

"Humanism is pulling God down and raising man up! Humanism is exalting man and bringing down God. When you have a little God and a big man, you have nothing but homosexuality, adultery, abortion, licentiousness and a wicked society. Idolatry is the forerunner of immorality and wickedness in any society. [9]"
"The final blow to parental and public confidence in education was the substitution of value systems based on ethical opportunism and the shallow paganism of Humanist Manifesto I and II.[10]"
"Of all the social movements in American society during the past hundred years, none threatens our future as free men and women under God more than the attempt to adjust the American legal, criminal and penal system to fit the modern positivist, scientific and secular humanist theory of the human person-an attempt to substitute medicine for morals as the basis of American criminal law.[11]"

This is easily rebutted by pointing out societies that are strongly humanist and secular, but still have an outstanding quality of life.[12] Many of the most violent and disordered societies are strongly theistic.

Naturalism refutes humanism

The moral argument runs "why think that if naturalism were true, human beings would have objective moral value?" [13]

This begs the question that the values are indeed absolute. Humanism specifically treats values as non-absolute. Apologists might back up this statement with something like the moral argument.

No relationship with the divine

Some people criticize Humanism on the grounds that it offers no relationship with the divine. Critics believe that the lack of these things leaves humanity without a good anchor, and without that, Humanism itself is cynical and pessimistic. However, most Humanists are able to lead fulfilling and ethical lives. There is no point in wishful thinking that god must exist simply because you wish to have a relationship with it.

Strictly speaking, Humanism does not rule out the existence of God but it does reject metaphysical concepts. God could possibly exist as a physical being or, arguably, as some form of deism. This position is not widely held among Humanists and deism is explicitly rejected by some Humanists.

Theism being false does not imply Humanism is true

"humanism is not a default position [...] even if the theist were wrong, that would not mean that the humanist is right.[13]"

This is correct. Claiming otherwise risks making a false dichotomy.

Humanism varies with time

Humanism is criticized for being revised over time:

" Predictably, their "absolutes" change as times change, a sign of a faulty belief system. If the theses which support a belief system are changed from time to time, then what is the truth, and who is it who defines such truth? [14]"

This assumes morality is necessarily static and unchanging. Apologists often claim that a moral system must be absolute but provide little reliable evidence for such a claim. Since humanism originates with humans (like all moral systems, including theistic ones) they are subject to change and modification over time.

According to Humanists, the fact that Humanism adapts over time is a sign of its validity and strength. Any belief system that is fixed tends to go out of date. The 1933 manifesto makes this clear:

"[The Humanist manifesto] was designed to represent a developing point of view, not a new creed. [... Religious morality] has been accomplished through the interpretation of the total environing situation (theology or world view), the sense of values resulting therefrom (goal or ideal), and the technique (cult), established for realizing the satisfactory life. A change in any of these factors results in alteration of the outward forms of religion. This fact explains the changefulness of religions through the centuries.[15]"

If humans are taken to be the originators of humanism, the belief system is existential and subject to change. Natural rights might also be assumed to be the basis for humanism, but this can be difficult to justify since humanists often reject metaphysics.

The above criticism also ignores the fact that religious morality changes with time as well, despite the claims of apologists to the contrary.

Humanism is not firmly established or defined

"We must now simply recognize that the humanist ideal is far from representing a firmly established, well thought-out belief system. Since a humanist creed cannot or will not be developed, the manifestos become indicative of an emotional response rather than a statement about a particular belief system.[14]"
"Humanism has become the garbled message of freedom, science, democratic values, and church-state separation spread out over a playing field with no ball and no rules.[16]"

It is also ironic that some critics call Humanism dogmatic, while others say it is not firmly established! Humanism remains an evolving point of view. Being firmly established generally dooms a value system to irrelevance as it fails to address new situations.

The purpose of ultimate systems of values is to establish the "rules". They cannot appeal to an external standard or rule, because they would not make them ultimate values.

Dogmatism

Humanists are sometimes accused of using the manifestos as their scripture. However, the manifestos explicitly deny they are a new creed that is not open to revision.

"Humanists do not look back to a faith delivered once and for all time at a particular moment or during a particular period in history.[17]"
"[Humanist Manifesto I] was designed to represent a developing point of view, not a new creed."
"Those who sign Humanist Manifesto II disclaim that they are setting forth a binding credo [...]"
"One of the most common misunderstandings about the manifesto is its identification as a humanist creed.[10]"

Based on the is-ought problem and the Münchhausen trilemma, we would not expect value systems based solely on evidence and rational thought to be possible, even in principle. Critics of humanism appear to be setting the bar unreasonably high. Every fundamental system of values must have some dogmatism to get started. However, Humanists generally attempt to find a small but workable set of assumptions, and then try to rely on empiricism and reason as far as possible.

Utopianism

"Humanism comes across, then, as a wish list for the way society ought to be, but not as a concise statement about how we might achieve those ends. In fact it is quite revealing to notice, as we work through the humanist arguments to follow, that there truly are no solutions or methods suggested to bring about the change humanists hope for. The manifestos simply make statements about the way they want life to be, about the danger of certain religious ideologies, and about a utopia in which all human beings live in complete harmony and without material want.[14]"

"The utopian dream of a perfect society and a perfect human being, the idea that we are moving toward collective salvation, is one of the most dangerous legacies of the Christian faith and of the Enlightenment.[...] They peddle the alluring and enticing fantasy of inevitable moral and material progress. This vision is not based on science, history or reason. It is an act of faith. It is a form of the occult.[18] [...] All utopian schemes of impossible advances and glorious conclusions end in moral squalor, criminality and fanaticism. [19]"

Chris Hedges

The argument that Humanism unjustifiably assumes that their goals are achievable may have some weight. However, this argument does seem to assume that the goals of Humanism are unachievable, which is also hard to justify.

Humanists don't generally believe that a perfect world is achievable or they don't give it much thought, so it is hard to argue they are Utopian. The idea of "progress" is arguably not itself automatically Utopian.

Some manifestos, such as the Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for a New Planetary Humanism (2000), as well as many individual Humanists have credible proposals to achieve the goals of humanism. It seems unfair to call the movement Utopian without a serious attempt to implement their proposals.

The authors of the Humanist Manifesto II argued that while the manifestos seem over-optimistic and despite the wars that raged in the 20th century, it is important to maintain this optimistic position.

"It is forty years since Humanist Manifesto I (1933) appeared. Events since then make that earlier statement seem far too optimistic. Nazism has shown the depths of brutality of which humanity is capable. Other totalitarian regimes have suppressed human rights without ending poverty. Science has sometimes brought evil as well as good. [...] As we approach the twenty-first century, however, an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed.[...]In the choice between despair and hope, humanists respond in this Humanist Manifesto II with a positive declaration for times of uncertainty."

Humanism is fragmented

"the lack of consensus among humanists is obvious. The term some humanists portrays division in the opinion of what humanism fundamentally is. Although the same argument can be made about various manifestations of Christendom, true Christians at least have the bible as a last authority.[14]"

This is true of all popular value systems, particularly of Christians who also disagree about everything (including the Bible). Critics of humanism appear to be setting the bar unreasonably high. Since Humanism values diversity, free expression and aims to encourage human potential, it is hardly surprising that Humanists have a wide range of views!

Criticism of the concept of progress

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Many forms of Humanism imagines that a better world can be engineered through human ingenuity. Some thinkers, particularly within postmodernism, have dismissed the idea of progress as a myth. There is possibly a pragmatic argument that striving to improve our condition, even thought it might not be possible, is still justified because it may lead to positive results (and we have little to lose by believing it).

There is no guarantee that a "better world" really aligns with a human's interests.

"You, for instance, want to cure men of their old habits and reform their will in accordance with science and good sense. But how do you know, not only that it is possible, but also that it is DESIRABLE to reform man in that way? And what leads you to the conclusion that man's inclinations NEED reforming? [20]"

Idolatry

"Humanism, however, exalts man to the point of idolatry and directs man’s attention exclusively to himself. This is the sin of pride. [21]"

This assumes that Christian absolute morality is correct, which begs the question that Humanism is false.

Humanism retains Christian values

Some writers have criticized humanism for attempting to maintain Christian ethics without the Christian underpinning. Friedrich Nietzsche argued that without the Christian foundation, traditional morality was in desperate need of a total overhaul because it was developed on a flawed basis.

"Christian tradition [...] was in danger of being undermined by a 'Secular Humanism' which hoped to retain Christian values without Christian faith. [22]"
"[...]what must all collapse now that this belief [in theism] had been undermined, because so much was built upon it, so much rested on it, and had become one with it: for example, our entire European morality.[23]"

Defenders of Humanism might reply that their worldview actually is divergent from Christianity on many important points.

"I don't want to give the impression that the humanist ideal is valueless. It is as a whole opposed to Christian values, and to those of many religions, but there is much that is good and sensible.[24]"

Too focused on present humans

There are some closely related but distinct belief systems that might consider humanism to be too focused on the current state of humans at the expense of human's future potential as posthumans. These views include transhumanism and Nietzsche's Übermensch.

Imposing Western values on other cultures

Some writers question the spread of "Western" Enlightenment values on to other cultures, which either destroys their existing culture or is potentially culturally unsuitable.

"Just as Western politicians and generals annex foreign lands, postcolonial theorists argue, so Western intellectuals impose their knowledge on the rest of the world [25]"

It is important to remember that cultural exchanges have occurred throughout recorded history and that no culture has remained static. Isolating a culture from change is an impractical goal. However, this does not itself justify influencing other cultures.

The critic is also appealing for non-interference with other cultures, which implies they are relying on some other value system. How do we decide which is superior Humanism or the critic's value system? It seems to be just a matter of opinion unless other arguments are presented.

It is also premature to say Humanism is being imposed since Western governments do not abide by its principles, either domestically or in foreign affairs, and generally impose neo-liberal consumerism. Arguably, Western governments are actually suppressing Humanism rather than promoting it internationally.

Humanism might result in morals I find objectionable

"A tribe of cannibals may determine that to eat other human beings is morally defensible, but I would shudder to accept that type of ethical system in my neighborhood. [24]"

The main objection seems to be based on personal taste. While valid, it is only a matter of opinion.

This objection is also fairly hypothetical in that Cannibalism isn't in the majority and it limits the future potential victims, so it is considered immoral. Humanism advocates human rights, including right to life, which is not compatible with cannibalism.

Moral relativism

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Humanism is accused of normative moral relativism (NMR) in that if ethics is dependent on the situation and context, there can never be a way to resolve who is in the right.

"With situational ethics, laws and rules are meaningless and moral anarchy is the predictable result.[...]The humanist theme centers around self-fulfillment and happiness, which can become a dangerous objective when coupled with a relativistic interpretation of ethics, or of right and wrong. Which comes first, my pursuit of happiness or my own personal, unique ethical standard? Since I am free to define both, I am also free to apply either as I see fit.[24]"

Firstly, ethics in humanism is largely consensus driven, so general principles can be found.

Secondly, most humans have an innate sense of moral conduct (probably as an evolutionary adaptation), so it is not difficult for a majority of people to agree on some basic rules. The apologist tries to point out that self interest and ethics may sometimes conflict. However, they are in agreement for most people, most of the time. Humans are only selfish some of the time, not all of the time. Consensus of the majority can therefore be reached.

Thirdly, all ethical systems are subjective; Humanism just openly admits that is the case.

If anything, Humanism subscribes to descriptive not normative moral relativism, in that it recognizes other possible views but does not necessarily consider them equal. Saying it accepts NMR is a straw man.

Humanism does not allow for sacrificial giving

"To state that "ethics stems from human need and interest" is to claim that any behavior which does not meet such standards is unethical. But this rule cannot possibly apply to such circumstances as sacrificial giving or martyrdom.[24]"

If the action practically benefits others, it can be considered moral. Ethics is based on human need and interest in general. Martyrdom for a metaphysical god (which according to Humanism doesn't exist) would always be considered wrong by Humanists.

Claims to both tolerate and reject certain ideas

The apologist claims that Humanists are inconsistent because they support the free exchange of ideas, but not in certain circumstances, such as teaching creationism in science classes.

"They are intolerant of other religions[7]"
"A Secular Humanist Declaration states under Item 1, Free Inquiry, that: "The guiding premise of those who believe in free inquiry is that truth is more likely to be discovered if the opportunity exists for the free exchange of opposing opinions; the process of interchange is frequently as important as the result""

The free exchange of ideas is perfectly compatible with excluding evolution from science classes. People can exchange their ideas in research journals, books, speech, etc. The purpose of a science class is education about science, and while debate may take place about scientific theories, it is not the place for a debate on creationism because it is not scientific. Not every forum is suitable for every possible idea.

"They seem, however, to embrace all viewpoints. The hypocrisy is clear, and demands an explanation. We cannot simultaneously be "open to diverse...moral viewpoints" and hold to the dogma stated in items "FIRST" and "SECOND" of the Manifesto II which state that traditional religions are "obstacles to human progress." Humanists must either withhold judgement of any particular religion or belief (which they have failed to do) or they must discontinue the demand for equality of all competing philosophies.[24]"

The manifesto probably means that the "The world must be open to [listen to] diverse political, ideological, and moral viewpoints". It goes without saying that a person cannot accept every view that they encounter. One may criticize a belief while still tolerating those who hold it. Humanists don't support the equality of ideas, so the argument is a straw man.

Antihumanism

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Some philosophers have denied that the concept "human" at the center of Humanist philosophy is an ill defined or metaphysical. Humanism rejects metaphysics, so this could lead to a contradiction. If Humanism aims to let humans achieve their full potential, the belief system must have some idea what that might entail. Much of the criticism has been from writers within postmodernism and those who reject foundationalism, which is the idea that knowledge is based on justified belief or sound arguments.

"Forget the significance of the human individual, [Louis Althusser] argued, it is historical processes that make the difference. There is no such thing as intrinsic humanity, we are all the product of external forces. Everything that cannot be analysed structurally is false consciousness. Humanism itself is false consciousness. Others made a parallel critique using Freudian psychoanalysis. [26]"
"As Althusser understands them, whatever conceptions we have of the nature of human beings or about the proper function of the state are historically generated and serve to reproduce existing social relations. In other words, they are ideological. Apart from the necessity of human beings to engage in productive relations with other human beings and with their environment in order to produce their means of subsistence, there is no human nature or essence. This is the core of Althusser's “anti-humanist” position.[27]"

Humanism has not achieved anything

"There’s the social justice or liberation critique, which points out that self-professed humanists, and humanism as a movement, can point to few or no major accomplishments in social justice — humanism has no Martin Luther King, no Mahatma Gandhi. This is also the pragmatist’s critique. [28]"

Most Humanists simply behave in an ethical way without ascribing the label to themselves; they are also not part of any Humanist group. For this reason, their actions are not usually associated with Humanism. This is in contrast to organized religion in which people identify openly as a follower of that religion. For that reason, the association between actions and their religious affiliation are easy to connect (even if the association is not really valid).

Humanism has also had a relatively short history, and lacks institutions used by religion to amplify its influence.

Leads to a selfish existence

"This notion that the "here and now" is all that matters provides license to those whose idea of "complete fulfillment" is to exploit everyone and everything to maximize their own personal pleasure. And why not? Do unto others before they do unto you. He who dies with the most toys wins.[...] It follows that moral self-restraint will be thrown out the window, and that "do as thou wilt" will become the guiding principle![...] When man thinks of himself as nothing more than an animal, he behaves as nothing more than an animal. Some will choose to be sheep, others will be wolves.[29]"

Humanism abandoned its roots

"As jolting as that assertion may be to some, it is nevertheless necessary, because in major respects Humanism is blatantly betraying the core principles it was created to champion. We can explore just one of those principles here, namely Humanism’s foundational commitment to economic justice. The ugly truth is that nowadays the movement serves the narrow interests of the elite and the comfortable at the expense of everybody else, especially of poor and working class people.[30]"

Some Humanists act in questionable ways

"In 2008, Myers rejoiced at the death of a Brazilian Roman Catholic priest who died a premature accidental death and then Myers fantasized about personally killing other priests.[31]"

This behaviour is hardly typical of Humanists. Humans don't always act in a way that is consistent their professed belief system. This is clearly true for the followers of mainstream religions, many of whom are involved in scandals or atrocities.

Also, the examples cited are rather tame compared to the atrocities committed in the name of religion.

Manifestos

There are several humanist manifestos:

These statements are not intended as a dogma or creed, although they are often treated by the media and critics as such.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. [6]
  7. 7.0 7.1 [7]
  8. [8]
  9. [9]
  10. 10.0 10.1 [10]
  11. EL Taylor, Retribution, Responsibility and Freedom: The Fallacy of Modern Criminal Law From a Biblical-Christian Perspective, Law and Contemporary Problems, 1981
  12. [11]
  13. 13.0 13.1 [12]
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Jim Berge, A Rebuttal to the Humanist Manifestos
  15. [13]
  16. [14]
  17. [15]
  18. [16]
  19. [17]
  20. Feodor Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground
  21. [18]
  22. "Free Church ministers in Anglican pulpits. Dr Temple's call: the South India Scheme." The Guardian, 26 May 1943, p.6 Guardian and Observer Digital Archive
  23. Friedrich Nietzsche, Gay Science, aph 343
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 [19]
  25. [20]
  26. [21]
  27. [22]
  28. [23]
  29. [24]
  30. [25]
  31. [26]
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