What’s the difference between Humanist and humanitarian? Humanitarian means doing kind and humane things for other humans. People do humanitarian things for many different reasons. Humanism is the reason for our humanitarian involvements.
Humanitarian concerns naturally develop from a Humanist world view. Since Humanists do not find evidence for an afterlife or the supernatural, our focus is on things in this world. It’s up to us to use our heads and make life go well. We aim to live wisely by human effort and intelligence as we humanely share this world with others. Kurt Vonnegut put it this way, “Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”
What are the ways we contribute? Service can be to ourselves, our family, friends, community, or humanity. We can offer different things depending on our personal strengths and interests. Some of us contribute careful thinking, questioning, investigation, and knowledge. Some of us pursue justice by supporting civil rights. Some of us show courage by speaking up, leading, and making things happen. Some of us build community for Humanists. We find ways for Humanists to socialize and to work together on charitable efforts such as blood drives, coat drives, food drives, and fund raisers. There are those among us who help others see the meaning, connection, beauty, hope, and humor in life. Finally, each of us can contribute to quality of life for others by living morally.
There are many ways of being “good without God.” Whenever we find ways of doing good, we are showing the humanitarian part of our Humanism.