A useful way to think about Humanism is to see it as a distinct worldview which is both like and different from religion.

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Humanism is like a religion because it aims to provide a framework of answers to life’s ‘big questions’ – Where did we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? And how shall we live?

Religions answer these questions by supposing that gods or spirits are responsible for the existence of humans, what happens to them, when they die and how they should live. Humanists reject all these central tenets of religion, yet seek answers to the same ‘big questions’ by relying only on human capabilities and accumulated knowledge.

Different

Humanism is different from religion because its sources of knowledge and understanding are based on commonsense, reason and evidence, not revelation. While religions look to a supernatural realm to get answers to the big questions, Humanist answers are only drawn from this world.

Humanists are people who have decided there are no gods or spirits, we don’t live on after we die, and we don’t need special people to tell us how to lead our lives. However, as thoughtful people, Humanists do make choices on the best wisdom humans have accumulated. They keep an open mind and are prepared to change what they know and do, if new and better evidence is made available.

Rosslyn Ives

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One Response to Describing Humanism

  1. Max Gillmore says:

    To describe humanism as like a religion is, in my view getting it backward.

    In some respects religious objectives overlap with humanist objectives but this does not make Humanism like a religion. Rather in some respects religion is consistent with humanist values but humanism does not seek to emulate religion.

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