If not easy to condone, the least, it’s easy to understand the appeal of organized religion. The immediate sense of belonging, a predetermined system of value easy to follow, the promise of eternal life, and that everything will be all right at the end. When a doctrine is laying out your morality for you the act of thinking becomes overrated, not to say frowned upon, and most people will go through life accepting what has been told to them without ever really giving a critical look to it, and still, live happy lives.
That would work out just fine if not for a minor problem, there is a plethora of religions all over the world, each one with its own set of moral values, each one with its own god, which by the way only looks after those who belong to his own religion. Now, on the other hand, consider this, the world is just one, we all need to share and cherish it, if we don’t, the human race which is also just one, will perish, and that my friend, is a fact either you want to believe in it or not.
How will the world ever find peace when religion thrives on separating and classifying us all under different causes? Even worse than that, how the world will even be peaceful when religious doctrine is able to convince the some of us to indiscrimitenly cause harm to others just because they don’t belong to “right” religion or don’t believe in the “right” god?
There is nothing more liberating than letting go of the notion that some mythical higher power is controlling your life, your destiny and your morality. Adopting humanism means that you put faith in humanity, you believe in the power of mankind to get things right on its own, and more importantly, you accept your own personal responsibility in creating a better world.
Once you accept that there is no such thing a magical father-like figure putting on a puppet show with 7 billion characters for his own amusement, you will accept that you and you alone are accountable for your actions. A Humanist will forgo any prayer when facing the challenges of life and they will take action instead. If a friend is sick, a humanist will give them a lift to the doctor, cook them a meal and help with the kids, not because some random god will promise eternal life, but simply because that’s the right thing to do.
If a community soup kitchen is looking for donations, a humanist will take a few minutes out of his own day and extend a helping hand just for the fun of it. A humanist will donate blood to a hospital and collect clothing for those in need because the world needs him/her to do it. If time is a problem in a busy lifestyle, a the humanist can’t be there to help, the humanist will donate money instead, which by the way is an equally valuable resource. A humanist will not do these things because an omnipotent being is watching our every move. A Humanist is compelled to do great things because they need to be done. A Humanist world is one where we put thoughts into actions because we aren’t waiting around for someone or something with more power to do it for us. Humanism is an empowering thing.
The argument that religion provides a much needed moral compass is hard to validate, and actually, if you ask me, an insult to the human race. Considering a very few exceptions, we all have an innate ability to do what’s right. Perhaps, at this point, it’s worth noting that an overwhelming majority of those behind bars all over the world subscribe to a supernatural belief system. No one has ever strapped a bomb to their own body or fired a weapon on a crowd of people in the name of Humanism. Critical and rational thinking is at the core values in a Humanist world. A Humanist isn’t plagued by the need to protect their interpretation of religious dogma.
To adopt Humanism is to free your mind and marvel at the advances humanity makes through education, science and research. To adopt Humanism is to accept that humanity does not have all the answers to the big questions of life and understand that the answers we already found are going to constantly change as we acquire more knowledge.
A Humanist world is one where sexism, racism, and bigotry do not exist. All of these cruel mindsets were given birth in a world full of religious dogma, and adopting Humanism makes it easy to accept people for who they are. There is no oppression of people who may work to change the ever evolving Humanist value system. The world needs more Humanists to help us all move forward in a peaceful way.
To adopt humanism is to accept what you are. Human.
Would you like to live in a world where all people are embraced for who they naturally are? How can we continue to allow religious dogma to suppress free thought and human curiosity? Do you think that adopting Humanism will help us understand we are one?
There seem to be so many ‘isms’ in the world today that it’s easy to get lost. The Humanist Manifesto relates to humanism – an easy ‘ism’ to understand. Humanism is a philosophy of life that does not pertain to any deity or supernatural being. Moreover, humanism is not a creed or doctrine by which you should live your life. Instead, humanists believe that we, as human beings, have the ability to apply ourselves, live ethical lives with personal fulfillment and happiness without any supernaturalism, divine being, or over-arching God. With the Humanist Manifesto, humanism aimed to publicly declare its beliefs and gain support for its notions.
Given the main tenants of humanism (the Godlessness, primarily), it would be easy to assume that humanism and religion do not make a likely pair. However, that is not the case. In fact, the original Humanist Manifesto was born out of religious humanism, although it was also signed by secular humanists. Likewise, many great advocates of humanism have been religious and have examined ways in which to bring religion and humanism together. There have been three main publications of the Humanist Manifesto: the first in 1933, the second in 1973, and the third, entitled Humanism and Its Aspirations in 2003. All three versions are very different from its predecessors. Nevertheless, they all purport the same basic ideal: developing an ethical system that doesn’t involve deities or higher powers of any sort.
The Humanist Manifesto I (1933)
Written primarily by Roy Wood Sellars and Raymond Bragg, the Humanist Manifesto was developed out of an increasing desire for people to show solidarity – not in a limited doctrinal manner such as in traditional religions, but in a more open, relaxed way. Its goal was to provide mankind with a new religion, a religious movement designed to transcend and eradicate traditional religions and one that removed the all-seeing, all-powerful deity from the equation. The first ever Humanist Manifesto carried the signature of 34 of its original supporters and it went about setting up a 15-point belief system . It proposed an egalitarian society based on voluntary mutual co-operation, rational thinking, and the idea that personal fulfillment could create happiness, as opposed to a society motivated by profit.
The Humanist Manifesto II (1973)
The 1973 version of the Humanist Manifesto was intended to update and replace the original Humanist Manifesto. Written by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, it aimed to remove some of the optimism of the first version, which seemed unable to fit in with a post-WW2 society. The authors felt that Nazism had destroyed some of the previous hope, although the second Humanist Manifesto doesn’t seem to have lost much optimism at all. Based upon a 17-point statement, humanism as they saw it is separated into the following categories: religion, ethics, the individual, democratic society, world community, and humanity as a whole. Its aims were to eliminate war and poverty, oppose racism and weapons of mass destruction, and support human rights, divorce, birth control, abortion, and the notion that technology can improve human life. Naturally, the document caused some consternation and at first struggled to gain support. However, once the document had been fully circulated, there were over 1000 signatories. Perhaps two of the most famous and controversial ideas put forward were “no deity will save us, we must save ourselves”, and “we are responsible for what we are and what we will be”.
Humanism and its Aspirations: Humanist Manifesto III (2003)
This latest version of the Humanist Manifesto was developed as a successor to the original manifesto, as opposed to a replacement. It was written by a committee and the signatories included no less than 21 Nobel laureates. The humanism declared in this text is much more succinct than its predecessors and contains just seven primary themes. These are as follows:
- It is important to know the world through empiricism – through experience and experiment rather than through thought.
- Human beings are a part of nature, they have developed evolutionary and they have not been ‘created’ by a God.
- Ethical values are based upon the needs of humanity and are tested through the experiences of humanity.
- Fulfillment will come from the participation in human ideals.
- We are social creatures that depend on the development of strong and positive relationships.
- Humans can increase their happiness by working towards the benefits of society as a whole, instead of striving for personal gains only.
- There is a need for respect amongst differing views.
Humanism is undoubtedly a strong and long-standing position to hold. Nevertheless, the questions remain: Is it truly possible to live a religious life without pertaining to God? How can humanism and its principles be positively implemented in everyday life? What does the future hold for the Humanist Manifesto? How many more versions are we going to see, and how they will change humanism itself?