What is Humanism?

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life which affirms our ability and our responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. There is no supernatural component to this understanding, which is why humanism is sometimes referred to as secular humanism.

You might sum up humanist beliefs as “good without a god.” Humanists may engage in other spiritual practices or even believe in god if they wish, but the philosophy itself is free from any attachments to any deity or supernatural force.

Humanists are deeply concerned for the well-being of all people. Humanists are often engaged in deeply productive work in pursuit of those aims, and usually follow a well-reasoned ethical and compassionate framework as they go about their daily lives.

Understanding the World Around Us

Humanists believe that knowledge of the world is best derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. We believe that science is the best method for determining this knowledge, as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies.

We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience.

Each of these experiences is subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

Interacting with the World Around Us

Humanists are concerned for the well-being of all.

In practice, this means:

  • We are committed to diversity.

  • We respect those who have differing yet humane views.

  • We work to uphold the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society.

  • We maintain that we have a civic duty to participate in the democratic process.

  • We maintain that we have a planetary duty to protect the integrity, diversity, and beauty of nature, and to do so in a secure, sustainable manner.

In short, we care about people, and we care about the planet. We believe that human beings are intrinsically worthy of respect, and that value and dignity exists in each individual. We believe in taking responsibility for ourselves and others. We also believe that other animals deserve moral consideration too.

Interested in Learning More?

Here is a resource to help you learn more.

Are You Humanist? 

The congregation at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church embraces many of the ideas of humanism, and is certainly friendly to humanist congregation members.

If you’d like to explore the ideas of humanism, or even take real action to put those ideas into practice, join us!