What is humanism?
Like for anything, there are several slightly different definitions. However, I really like this one from Humanists International, which also includes the optimistic and important role of humanism in building of a more humane society:
Humanism is a democratic and ethical lifestance 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 ethics based on human and other natural values in a spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.
– Humanists International
I’ve found that many Humanists share an appreciation and love of people and places, as well as animals, the environment, science and art.
Having not heard of Humanism until my mid-30s (10 years’ ago), I’ve been very happy to hang my hat on Humanism to explain my ethical stance and outlook on life.
Since learning more about Humanists UK, I’ve found out many good things that it has done in its rich history, since it was called the Union of Ethical Societies, including:
- * hosted the first ever global anti-racism conference in 1911
- * began providing humanist ceremonies as an equal right for people who the church refused to marry
- * supported the women’s right to vote in the UK, which was gained in 1928
- * supported equal rights for same sex marriage, which were gained in the UK and Wales in 2013
- * supports the legal recognition of humanist marriage in the UK (ongoing at present)