What Is A Humanist?
"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape 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 enquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality." - Minimum Statement of Humanism, International Humanist and Ethical Union
Also see: Humanism and Its Aspirations: Humanist Manifesto III (American Humanist Association)] In addition to the above statement, HCCO members are in general agreement with a set of principles, below:
Summary of HCCO Principles
Scientific: We hold that the primary tools for the discovery of truth are those of science: observation and human reason. Paraphrasing the ancient philosopher Protagoras, we hold that science is the measure of all things.
Naturalistic: We hold that the only reality is the natural or physical world. We do not find there is sufficient evidence to conclude that supernatural beings exist.
Ethical: We hold that morality is based on human needs, interests and purposes and not on the commands of any authority including any supposedly supernatural being. We hold that all human beings have an equal right to the freedom and well-being required to achieve their goals consistent with the rights of others.
Positive: We hold that, as human beings, we are capable of solving the problems of the world by combining our capacities for critical thinking and compassion for others.
Secular: We approach the world with an open mind, worshiping nothing, with a willingness to question everything, including our own assumptions.
Universal: We hold that we are human beings first and the common needs and interests we all share as human beings are more important than particular concerns we have that are based on nationality, ethnic origin, or on religious and political beliefs.
Communal: We affirm the need for communities of support in which we may celebrate our connection with one another and most fully express our Humanism.
Ecological: We hold that human beings evolved naturally and are part of the ecology of the world. This world is our home and it is in our self-interest to preserve it as best we can.
Historical: Humanism's emphasis on the centrality of human reason and human concerns is based on honored and ancient traditions that are common to many cultures. Humanist ideas are found in ancient Greek, Roman and even Chinese philosophy.
Democratic: We hold that democracy is founded on humanist ideals and that government derives its right to govern from the people. Equality of opportunity, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of and from religious belief, being justified by rational self-interest, are essential elements of Humanist philosophy.