One Life, One Earth, One Humanity
What is Humanism?
Many people today find traditional religious beliefs untenable. Humanism presents an alternative outlook on life which accepts the scientific account of the origins of planet Earth and of all the species which inhabit it. Leading Humanists like Professors Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones and Lewis Wolpert promote Evolution as good scientific explanation, against the religious claims of Creation and Intelligent Design.
Religions revere some ancient writings as holy scripture, but to Humanists they are merely ancient texts which are sometimes true, but are often biased or erroneous. Our knowledge of the world should be based on evidence and experience, not on idolatry of ancient texts.
For a brief introduction to Humanism, click on About Humanism. For a course on Humanism, explaining its history, philosophy and ethics (written by the Institute for Humanist Studies, USA), click on this link. For a short essay, click on Foundations of Humanism.
Click here for a short BBC interview with BHG member, Les Reid, in which he explains his understanding of the Humanist outlook.
Evening classes in Humanism are sometimes offered through the Open Learning Programme at Queen's University, Belfast.
The role of Humanism in the Arts is explored in this article.
For a lighter essay which expresses a Humanist view of mind, body and mortality, see Mind and Alcohol.
Humanists base their morality, not on the likes and dislikes of an alleged deity, nor on the arbitrary assertions of ancient writers, but on our knowledge of the world we inhabit and the human rights of all of us sharing this planet. Morality is the Highway Code of our social life and our laws must enable us to enjoy the maximum freedom that is compatible with the freedom of others. For an example of moral reasoning from a Humanist perspective, taking drug abuse as its central concern, click here. For an extended essay by Richard Robinson, exploring the basis of a Humanist morality, click here.
Humanists agree with Christians on many moral values, but can disagree over Dying with Dignity, contraception, stem cell research and segregated education, among other issues. See Correspondence for examples.
Humanists also object to the privileged status that Christianity enjoys in our society and in many Western societies. Due to tradition and social inertia, religion has influence and power in many social institutions, eg. the education system, the media, the House of Lords. Click here for further discussion.
For answers to familiar queries click on the Objections button.
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