What is Humanism?

Given that there is no empirical, rational evidence of gods or the supernatural, and that a sense of fairness, kindness, empathy and compassion are natural, evolved human traits, it follows that:

1. There are no divine prescriptions regarding how we must live, either collectively or as individuals, so it is up to us to choose the lives we want and the kind of society we want to live in.

2. There is no final guarantor of justice,  and the only justice available is that which we make for ourselves by defining and defending human rights.

This grants humanism a very solid grounding as a source of optimism that positive social change is possible with human collaboration and also a motivation for action, by acknowledging that it is up to us humans to improve the condition of ourselves and our environment.

Humanism according to some HAO members:

Humanism according to A.C. Grayling


Humanist Principles

At a gathering of the General Assembly of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) at the 50th anniversary World Humanist Congress in 2002, the following 12 principles of Humanism were declared:

  1. Humanism aims at the full development of every human being.
  2. Humanists uphold the broadest application of democratic principles in all human relationships.
  3. Humanists advocate the use of the scientific method, both as a guide to distinguish fact from fiction and to help develop beneficial and creative uses of science and technology.
  4. Humanists affirm the dignity of every person and the right of the individual to maximum possible freedom compatible with the rights of others.
  5. Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity.
  6. Humanists call for the continued improvement of society so that no one may be deprived of the basic necessities of life, and for institutions and conditions to provide every person with opportunities for developing their full potential.
  7. Humanists support the development and extension of fundamental human freedoms, as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and supplemented by UN International Covenants comprising the United Nations Bill of Human Rights.
  8. Humanists advocate peaceful resolution of conflicts between individuals, groups, and nations.
  9. The humanist ethic encourages development of the positive potentialities in human nature, and approves conduct based on a sense of responsibility to oneself and to all other persons.
  10. Humanists reject beliefs held in absence of verifiable evidence, such as beliefs based solely on dogma, revelation, mysticism or appeals to the supernatural.
  11. Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can only be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings.
  12. Humanists affirm that human beings are completely a part of nature, and that our survival is dependent upon a healthy planet that provides us and all other forms of life with a life-supporting environment.