The American Humanist Association defines Humanism as a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Wikipedia defines Humanism as an approach in study, philosophy, world view, or practice that focuses on human values and concerns, attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.
The Humanist Institute has a very nicely written longer explanation of what Humanism is can be found here. For anyone who might still be confused as to what humanism is and how it plays into personal belief in a God the Milton Keynes Humanists break down the differences and relationships between Atheism, Agnosticism, and Humanism.
Famous authour Kurt Vonnegut is quoted as having said “About belief or lack of belief in an afterlife: Some of you may know that I am neither Christian nor Jewish nor Buddhist, nor a conventionally religious person of any sort. I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I’m dead.”
Here are some other great Humanism quotes that I found on the British Humanist Association’s site.
“Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked – as I am surprisingly often – why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn’t it sad to go to your grave without wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it?”
– Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow, 1998
“Do not do to others what you would not like for yourself.”
– Confucius, Analects, C 500 BCE
“As man advances in civilisation, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all the members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”
– Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871
“Let us fight to free the world. To do away with national barriers. To do away with greed, with hate, and intollerance. Let us fight for a world of reason. A world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness”
– Charlie Chaplin
The most important thing about being a humanist is taking action. Simply feeling and reading about this stuff doesn’t automatically make the world a better place or mean you are striving for deep personal fulfillment.
Ways to get involved
Meetup.com which has a strong community of humanist meetup groups throughout the world.
Check out the Council for Secular Humanism site or go directly to their state by state directory.
The British Humanist Association has meet ups.
The American Humanist Association also provides you with many ways to help support humanism.
If you have any other ways to get involved or would like to share your thoughts on humanism please do by adding a comment or contacting me directly.