Humanists believe that individual and global problems can be resolved using reason and intelligent effort coupled with compassion and empathy for life on earth.
When I tell people I’m a Humanist, I’ll occasionally get a blank look in return, or maybe a slight shake of the head. Occasionally, it’s a combination of the two, with a kind of mumbled ‘Oo – kaay’ thrown in for good measure. From which I gather that not everyone is familiar with Humanism! In case you’re interested, here’s a brief outline of humanist principles. They aren’t dogmatic statements that you must believe in to be in our gang. They tend to vary from group to group, but really, everyone has their own individual ethical stance. It seems to work; at least, there’s never been a war over competing definitions of Humanist principles. You don’t have to sign up or join our club to be a humanist, and people are often surprised to find that they have been humanists all their lives, without ever realizing it. If you find yourself in broad agreement with the following ten statements, maybe you’re a humanist too!
1. Humanism aims at the full development of every human being.
2. Humanists uphold the broadest application of democratic principles in all human relationships.
3. Humanists advocate the use of scientific methods, both as a guide to distinguish fact from fiction and to help develop beneficial and creative uses of science and technology.
4. Humanists affirm the dignity of every person and the right of the individual to personal freedom compatible with the rights of others.
5. Humanists call for the continued improvement of society so that no one may be deprived of the basic necessities of life, and for institutions and conditions to provide every person with opportunities for developing their full potential.
6. Humanists support the development and extension of fundamental human freedoms, as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and supplemented by UN International Covenants comprising the United Nations Bill of Human Rights.
7. Humanists advocate peaceful resolution of conflicts between individuals, groups, and nations.
8. The humanist ethic encourages development of the positive potentialities in human nature, and approves conduct based on a sense of responsibility to oneself and to all other persons.
9. Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, and critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings.
10. Humanists affirm that human beings are completely a part of nature, and that our survival is dependent upon a healthy planet that provides us and all other forms of life with a sustainable environment.
If you’re interested in checking out humanists in Ontario, take a look at the OHS website.