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Encyclopedia > Secular humanism
Part of Philosophy series on
Humanism
(humanist philosophies)
Happy Human

International Humanist
and Ethical Union (IHEU)

For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities... Image File history File links Humanism. ... The Happy Human For the non-theistic humanistic life stance in a broader sense, please see Humanism (life stance). ... Founded in Amsterdam in 1952, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the sole world umbrella organisation [1] embracing Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secular, skeptic, Ethical Culture, freethought and similar organisations world-wide. ...

Secular humanism

Humanism (life stance)
American Humanist Association
Council for Secular Humanism
A Secular Humanist Declaration This article discusses Humanism as a non-theistic life stance. ... The American Humanist Association (AHA) is an educational organization in the United States that advances Humanism. ... The Council for Secular Humanism (originally the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism, or CODESH) regards itself as the only exclusively secular humanist organization in the USA. In 1980 CODESH issued A Secular Humanist Declaration. ... A Secular Humanist Declaration was an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism. ...

Religious humanism

Christian humanism
Ethical Culture
Humanistic Buddhism
Humanistic Judaism
Integral humanism
Religious humanism, is an integration of religious rituals with humanistic philosophy that centers on human needs, interests, and abilities. ... Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom and individualism are compatible with the practice of Christianity or intrinsic in its doctrine. ... The Ethical Culture Movement is a non-sectarian, ethico-religious and educational movement. ... Humanistic Buddhism (Chinese: 人間佛教; Pinyin: ) is a popular modern philosophy practiced mainly in Chinese Mahayana Buddhism. ... Humanistic Judaism is a movement within Judaism that emphasizes Jewish culture and history - rather than belief in God - as the sources of Jewish identity. ... Integral humanism is the political philosophy practised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the former Bharatiya Jana Sangh of India. ...

Related articles

Posthumanism
Neo-humanism
Incarnational humanism
Marxist humanism
List of humanists This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Incarnational Humanism is a philosophy which returns to medieval humanism in light of observations of modern and postmodern thinkers. ... The term Marxist humanism has as its foundation Marxs conception of the alienation of the labourer as he advances it in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844--an alienation that is born of a capitalist system in which the worker no longer functions as (what Marx terms) a... This is a partial list of famous humanists, including both secular and religious humanists. ...

History of humanism

Renaissance humanism
Humanism in Germany
Humanism in France
Humanist Manifesto Renaissance humanism (often designated simply as humanism) was a European intellectual movement beginning in Florence in the last decades of the 14th century. ... // Origins Humanistic studies were late in finding entrance into Germany. ... Humanism in France found its way from Italy, but did not become a distinct movement until the 16th century was well on its way. ... Humanist Manifesto is the title of three manifestos laying out a humanist worldview published by the American Humanist Association (AHA). ...

Philosophy Portal · v  d  e 

Secular humanism is a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects the supernatural and the spiritual as warrants of moral reflection and decision-making. Like other types of humanism, secular humanism is a life stance or a praxis focusing on the way human beings can lead good and happy lives (eupraxsophy). The term was coined in the 20th century to make a clear distinction from "religious humanism". A related concept is scientific humanism, which the biologist Edward O. Wilson claimed to be "the only worldview compatible with science's growing knowledge of the real world and the laws of nature".[1] See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities... For other uses, see Reason (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... This article is about the concept of justice. ... Spirituality, in a narrow sense, concerns itself with matters of the spirit. ... A life stance or lifestance is a persons relation with what he or she accepts as of ultimate importance, the commitments and presuppositions of this, and the theory and practice of working it out in living. ... Eupraxsophy (previously eupraxophy but updated) [1] is a nonreligious lifestance or worldview emphasizing the importance of living an ethical and exuberant life, and relying on rational methods such as logic, observation and science (rather than faith, mysticism or revelation) toward that end. ... Religious humanism, is an integration of religious rituals with humanistic philosophy that centers on human needs, interests, and abilities. ... E.O. Wilson with Dynastes hercules E. O. Wilson, or Edward Osborne Wilson, (born June 10, 1929) is an entomologist and biologist known for his work on ecology, evolution, and sociobiology. ... This article is about the radio show. ...

Contents

Tenets

Secular humanism describes a world view with the following elements and principles:[2]

  • Need to test beliefs - A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
  • Reason, evidence, scientific method - Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
  • Fulfillment, growth, creativity - A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
  • Search for truth - A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
  • This life - A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
  • Ethics - A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
  • Building a better world - A conviction that with reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

A Secular Humanist Declaration was an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism. The document was issued in 1980 by The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH), now the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH). Though some think morality impossible (or at least unmotivated) in a Godless universe, most atheists and agnostics adhere to some form of ethical code. ... A Secular Humanist Declaration was an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism. ... The Council for Secular Humanism (originally the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism, or CODESH) regards itself as the only exclusively secular humanist organization in the USA. In 1980 CODESH issued A Secular Humanist Declaration. ...


Relationship to other concepts

When humanists use the phrase secular humanism it is typically to emphasize differences relative to religion or religious humanism. Religious humanism, is an integration of religious rituals with humanistic philosophy that centers on human needs, interests, and abilities. ...


There are a number of ways in which secular and religious humanism can differ:[3]

  • Religious humanists may value rituals and ceremonies as means of affirming their life stance. Secular humanists are typically not interested in using rituals and ceremonies.[4]
  • Some religious humanists may seek profound "religious" experiences, such as those that others would associate with the presence of God, despite interpreting these experiences differently. Secular humanists would generally not pursue such experiences.
  • Some varieties of nontheistic religious humanism may conceive of the word divine as more than metaphoric even in the absence of a belief in a traditional God; they may believe in ideals that transcend physical reality; or they may conceive of some experiences as "numinous" or uniquely religious. Secular humanism regards all such terms as, at best, metaphors for truths rooted in the material world.
  • Some varieties of religious humanism, such as Christian humanism include belief in God, traditionally defined. Secular humanism is skeptical about God and the supernatural and believes that these are not useful concepts for addressing human problems.

While some humanists embrace calling themselves secular humanists, others prefer the term Humanist, capitalized and without any qualifying adjective. The terms secular humanism and Humanism overlap, but have different connotations. The term secular humanism emphasizes a non-religious focus, whereas the term Humanism deemphasizes this and may even encompass some nontheistic varieties of religious humanism. The term Humanism also emphasizes considering one's humanism to be a life stance. Rituals was an American soap opera that ran in syndication from September 1984 to September 1985 in 260 25 minutes episodes. ... A ceremony is an activity, infused with ritual significance, performed on a certain occasion. ... A life stance or lifestance is a persons relation with what he or she accepts as of ultimate importance, the commitments and presuppositions of this, and the theory and practice of working it out in living. ... Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom and individualism are compatible with the practice of Christianity or intrinsic in its doctrine. ... This article discusses Humanism as a non-theistic life stance. ... Religious humanism, is an integration of religious rituals with humanistic philosophy that centers on human needs, interests, and abilities. ... A life stance or lifestance is a persons relation with what he or she accepts as of ultimate importance, the commitments and presuppositions of this, and the theory and practice of working it out in living. ...


Secular humanism advocates secularism but is a broader concept. Secularism has a number of usages but generally emphasize limits on the role of religious or supernatural considerations in the affairs of society or government. Secular humanism adds to these positions a comprehensive perspective on life, including affirmation of human dignity and the importance of ethics. This article is about secularism. ...


Secular humanism is a broad philosophic position and not simply a statement about belief or non-belief in God. Accordingly, it is inaccurate to identify secular humanism as being the same thing as nontheism, atheism, or agnosticism. While secular humanists are generally nontheistic, atheist, or agnostic, the converse may not be true. Many nontheists, atheists, and agnostics adhere to the tenets of secular humanism, but this is not intrinsically the case.[5] This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning without, and Gnosticism or gnosis, meaning knowledge) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality—is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism...


Secular humanism has appeal to atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, empiricists, rationalists, skeptics and materialists, as well as to some Buddhists, Hindus and Confucians. “Atheist” redirects here. ... Agnosticism (from the Greek a, meaning without, and Gnosticism or gnosis, meaning knowledge) is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife or the existence of God, gods, deities, or even ultimate reality—is unknown or, depending on the form of agnosticism... Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logical principles and not be compromised by authority, tradition, or any other dogma. ... In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas. ... In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... This article is about the psychological term. ... In philosophy, materialism is that form of physicalism which holds that the only thing that can truly be said to exist is matter; that fundamentally, all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions; that matter is the only substance. ... A silhouette of a Buddha statue at Ayutthaya, Thailand. ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages[1]) is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... Wenmiao Temple, a Confucian Temple in Wuwei, Gansu, Peoples Republic of China. ...


Christian fundamentalist opponents of humanism typically use the term secular humanism pejoratively to mean atheism or secularism or to lump together all nontheistic varieties of humanism. Humanists object to such usage, finding it misleading or overly broad. Fundamentalist Christianity is a fundamentalist movement, especially within American Protestantism. ... “Atheist” redirects here. ... This article is about secularism. ... Nontheism or non-theism is the absence of belief in any gods. ...


Secular humanism today

While secular humanist organizations are found in all parts of the world, one of the largest humanist organisations in the world (relative to population) is Norway's Human-Etisk Forbund,[6] which had over 69,000 members out of a population of around 4.6 million in 2004.[7] Human-Etisk Forbund (HEF), the Norwegian Humanist Association, is currently one of the largest Humanist associations in the world, with 76,470 members (January 2006). ...


In certain areas of the world, secular humanism finds itself in conflict with religious fundamentalism, especially over the issue of the separation of church and state. A faction of secular humanists may judge religions as superstitious, regressive, and/or closed-minded, while the majority of religious fundamentalists see secular humanism as a threat to the values they say are set out in religious texts, such as the Bible and the Qur'an.[8] Fundamentalism is a movement to maintain strict adherence to founding principles. ... Constantines Conversion, depicting the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great to Christianity, by Peter Paul Rubens. ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... The Qur’ān [1] (Arabic: ;, literally the recitation; also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Koran, or Al-Quran) is the central religious text of Islam. ...


Criticism

Some criticize the philosophy of secular humanism because it offers no eternal truths nor a relationship with the divine.[9][10] They allege that a philosophy bereft of these beliefs[11] leaves humanity adrift in a foggy sea[12] of postmodern cynicism and anomie.[13] Humanists respond that such criticisms reflect a failure to look at the actual content of humanist philosophy, which far from being cynical and postmodern, is rooted in optimistic,[14][15] idealistic[16] attitudes that trace back to the Enlightenment,[17][18][19] or further, back to Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers and Chinese Confucianism.[2] Postmodernism is a term applied to a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, modernism. ... This article is about the current understanding of the word cynicism. ... Anomie, in contemporary English, means a condition or malaise in individuals, characterized by an absence or diminution of standards or values. ... “Positive Attitude” redirects here. ... The Enlightenment (French: ; German: ) was an eighteenth-century movement in European and American philosophy, or the longer period including the Age of Reason. ... The Pre-Socratic philosophers were active before Socrates or contemporaneously, but expounding knowledge developed earlier. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Wenmiao Temple, a Confucian Temple in Wuwei, Gansu, Peoples Republic of China. ...


Opponents of humanism tend to define the term secular humanism differently. Some Christians often use the presence of a moral belief structure in secular humanism as evidence of a religion. This is rejected by secular humanists, who claim morality is not limited to religion.


Legal mentions (United States)

The issue of whether and in what sense secular humanism might be considered a religion, and what the implications of this would be has become the subject of legal maneuvering and political debate in the United States.


Case law

Torcaso v. Watkins

The phrase "secular humanism" became prominent after it was used in the United States Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins. In the 1961 decision, Justice Hugo Black commented in a footnote, "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others." Such footnotes, known as obiter dicta, are personal observations of the judge, and hence are incidental to reaching the opinion. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... Holding Government cannot require a religious test for public office. ... Hugo Black Hugo LaFayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1937 - 1971). ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and others. ... A silhouette of a Buddha statue at Ayutthaya, Thailand. ... Taoism (Daoism) is the English name referring to a variety of related Chinese philosophical and religious traditions and concepts. ... The Ethical Culture Movement is a non-sectarian, ethico-religious and educational movement. ... In law, the term dicta is used to refer to a judges statement of legal opinion that is not directly relevant to the case being heard. ...


Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda

The footnote in Torcaso v. Watkins referenced Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda,[20] a 1957 case in which an organization of humanists[21] sought a tax exemption on the ground that they used their property "solely and exclusively for religious worship." Despite the group's non-theistic beliefs, the court determined that the activities of the Fellowship of Humanity, which included weekly Sunday meetings, were analogous to the activities of theistic churches and thus entitled to an exemption. Fellowship of Humanity v. ... Nontheism or non-theism is the absence of belief in any gods. ... Theism is the belief in one or more gods or goddesses. ...


The Fellowship of Humanity case itself referred to humanism but did not mention the term secular humanism. Nonetheless, this case was cited by Justice Black to justify the inclusion of Secular Humanism in the list of religions in his note. Presumably Justice Black added the word secular to emphasize the non-theistic nature of the Fellowship of Humanity and distinguish their brand of humanism from that associated with, for example, Christian humanism. See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities... Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom and individualism are compatible with the practice of Christianity or intrinsic in its doctrine. ...


Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia

Another case alluded to in the Torcaso v. Watkins footnote, and said by some to have established secular humanism as a religion under the law, is the 1957 tax case of Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia (101 U.S. App. D.C. 371). The Washington Ethical Society functions much like a church, but regards itself as a non-theistic religious institution, honoring the importance of ethical living without mandating a belief in a supernatural origin for ethics. The case involved denial of the Society's application for tax exemption as a religious organization. The U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the Tax Court's ruling, defined the Society as a religious organization, and granted its tax exemption. The Ethical Culture Movement is a non-sectarian, ethico-religious and educational movement. ... Look up Supernatural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ...


The Society terms its practice Ethical Culture. Though Ethical Culture is based on a humanist philosophy, it is regarded by some as a type of religious humanism. Hence, it would seem most accurate to say that this case affirmed that a religion need not be theistic to qualify as a religion under the law, rather than asserting that it established generic secular humanism as a religion. The Ethical Culture Movement is a non-sectarian, ethico-religious and educational movement. ... Religious humanism, is an integration of religious rituals with humanistic philosophy that centers on human needs, interests, and abilities. ... Theism is the belief in one or more gods or goddesses. ...


In the cases of both the Fellowship of Humanity and the Washington Ethical Society, the court decisions turned not so much on the particular beliefs of practitioners as on the function and form of the practice being similar to the function and form of the practices in other religious institutions.


Peloza v. Capistrano School District

The implication in Justice Black's footnote that secular humanism is a religion has been seized upon by religious opponents of the teaching of the theory of evolution, who have made the argument that teaching evolution amounts to teaching a religious idea. This article is about evolution in biology. ...


The claim that secular humanism could be considered a religion for legal purposes was examined by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Peloza v. Capistrano School District in 1994. In this case, a science teacher argued that, by requiring him to teach evolution, his school district was forcing him to teach the "religion" of secular humanism. The Court responded, "We reject this claim because neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are 'religions' for Establishment Clause purposes." The Supreme Court refused to review the case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: District of Alaska District of Arizona Central District of California Eastern District of California Northern District of California Southern District of California District of Hawaii... Peloza v. ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ...


The decision in a subsequent case, Kalka v. Hawk et al., offered this commentary:[21]

The Court's statement in Torcaso does not stand for the proposition that humanism, no matter in what form and no matter how practiced, amounts to a religion under the First Amendment. The Court offered no test for determining what system of beliefs qualified as a "religion" under the First Amendment. The most one may read into the Torcaso footnote is the idea that a particular non-theistic group calling itself the "Fellowship of Humanity" qualified as a religious organization under California law.

Controversy

Religious groups resentful of the separation of church and state attach great significance to the granting of legal protections to non-theistic organizations as religions. They argue that secular humanism—and by association, secularism—has been granted religious status, that secularism in government and in the schools constitutes state favoritism towards a particular religion, and a double standard is used in granting religious protections to these groups while allowing the teaching of ideas such as evolution which are consistent with secularism.[22] Constantines Conversion, depicting the conversion of Emperor Constantine the Great to Christianity, by Peter Paul Rubens. ... Nontheism or non-theism is the absence of belief in any gods. ... This article is about secularism. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ...


U.S. courts have consistently rejected this interpretation. Often the discussion is not clearly framed. However, the rationale for believing there is no contradiction appears to include the following:

  • Beliefs involved are about more than secularism — Religious status has been granted to various non-theistic humanist organizations. Such organizations typically favor various aspects of secularism. However, humanism embraces a variety of ideas which are not part of secularism, for example, affirming human dignity. Even if a particular brand of humanism were to be regarded as a religion, that would not necessarily make particular positions, such as secularism, religious, as religious status could be based on other considerations.
  • Beliefs of a religious group can be non-religious — Even if a group did assert secularism in isolation to be its religion (no instances of this are known), this would not mean that secularism is in general a religious idea. ("Just because people count something in what they say is their religion does not make it inherently religious. If some people start worshipping chairs chairs shouldn't be kept out of school."[23])
  • Court rulings haven't been about beliefs — Court rulings on particular non-theistic groups being religious have never ruled that the ideas of these groups were religious per se. Instead, rulings have generally said the groups in question functionally acted like other religious institutions and therefore were entitled to similar protections. (This fact has been obscured by imprecise comments, such as those of Justice Black, but is reflected in the text of particular rulings.)
  • Most advocates aren't religious[citation needed] — Ideas such as the scientific method and evolution are advocated primarily by people who do not regard these ideas as being part of their religions, lending credibility to the claim that these ideas are not inherently religious.

Decisions about tax status have been based on whether an organization functions like a church. On the other hand, Establishment Clause cases turn on whether the ideas or symbols involved are inherently religious. An organization can function like a church while advocating beliefs that are not necessarily inherently religious. Nontheism or non-theism is the absence of belief in any gods. ... This article is about secularism. ... Nontheism or non-theism is the absence of belief in any gods. ... Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ...


Author Marci Hamilton has pointed out that the "Moreover the debate is not between secularists and the religious. The debate is believers and non-believers on the one side debating believers and non-believers on the other side. You've got citizens who are ... of faith who believe in the separation of church and state and you have a set of believers who do not believe in the separation of church and state."[24] Marci Hamilton is the Paul R. Verkuil Chair of Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a widely-regarded scholar in Constitutional law. ...


Legislation

Hatch amendment

The Education for Economic Security Act of 1984 included a section, Section 20 U,S.C.A. 4059, which initially read: "Grants under this subchapter ['Magnet School Assistance] may not be used for consultants, for transportation or for any activity which does not augment academic improvement." With no public notice, Senator Orrin Hatch tacked on to the proposed exclusionary subsection the words "or for any course of instruction the substance of which is secular Humanism."[25] Orrin Grant Hatch (born March 22, 1934) is a Republican United States Senator from Utah, serving since 1977. ...


Implementation of this provision ran into practical problems because neither the Senator's staff, nor the Senate's Committee on Labor and Human Resources, nor the Department of Justice could propose a definition of what would constitute a "course of instruction the substance of which is secular Humanism." So, this determination was left up to local school boards.


The provision provoked a storm of controversy which within a year led Senator Hatch to propose, and Congress to pass, an amendment to delete from the statute all reference to secular humanism.


While this episode did not dissuade fundamentalists from continuing to object to what they regarded as the "teaching of secular humanism," it did point out the vagueness of the claim.


Historical and modern references

The term secularism was created in 1846 by George Jacob Holyoake in order to describe "a form of opinion which concerns itself only with questions, the issues of which can be tested by the experience of this life."[26] This article is about secularism. ... George Jacob Holyoake ( April 13, 1817 - 1906), English secularist and co-operator, was born at Birmingham. ...


Historical use of the term humanism (reflected in some current academic usage), is related to the writings of pre-Socratic philosophers. These writings were lost to European societies until Renaissance scholars rediscovered them through Muslim sources and translated them from Arabic into European languages."[27] Thus the term humanist can mean a humanities scholar, as well as refer to The Enlightenment/ Renaissance intellectuals, and those who have agreement with the pre-Socratics, as distinct from secular humanists. See the article on humanism for additional history of this term. The Pre-Socratic philosophers were active before Socrates or contemporaneously, but expounding knowledge developed earlier. ... ... The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ... See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities...


The meaning of the phrase "secular humanism" has evolved over time. This phrase was first known to have been used in the 1950s. It was used, for example, by Leo Pfeffer and by Joseph Blau, later professor of religion at Columbia University. However, as used initially the phrase did not have the connotations it later assumed. In 1958 Pfeffer used the term to mean "Those unaffiliated with organized religion and concerned with human values."[26] Joseph Leon Blau (born May 6, 1909, Brooklyn, New York; died December 28, 1986, Bronx, New York) was an American scholar of Jewish history and philosophy. ...


As mentioned previously, "secular humanism" was a term used by Justice Black in 1961 to refer to a non-theistic variety of humanism that its adherents considered to be religious. The phrase was seized upon by religious fundamentalists, with the inclusion of the word "secular" often used to cast humanists as anti-religious. Look up fundamentalism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


By the 1970s the term was embraced by some humanists who, although critical of religion in its various guises, were deliberately non-religious, as opposed to anti-religious, which means that their humanism has nothing to do with spiritual, religious, or ecclesiastical doctrines, beliefs, or power structures. This is how "secular humanism" is most commonly understood by humanists today.[2]


In a mockery of an Alabama judge's reference to secular humanism as a religion, musician and free speech advocate Frank Zappa established the "Church of American Secular Humanism."[28] Columnist Art Buchwald wrote a column, "Secular Humanists: Threat or Menace?", which poked fun at alarm about secular humanism.[29] This article is about the U.S. State. ... Freedom of speech is the right to freely say what one pleases, as well as the related right to hear what others have stated. ... Frank Vincent Zappa[1] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, musician, and film director. ... Arthur Buchwald (October 20, 1925 – January 17, 2007) was an American humorist best known for his long-running column that he wrote in The Washington Post, which in turn was carried as a syndicated column in many other newspapers. ...


Notable secular humanists

Main article: List of humanists

Some notable secular humanists are: This is a partial list of famous humanists, including both secular and religious humanists. ...

Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen (December 26, 1921 – October 30, 2000) was an American musician, comedian and writer instrumental in innovating the concept of the television talk show. ... Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920?[1] – April 6, 1992), IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American Jewish author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ... Jeremy Bentham (IPA: or ) (February 15, 1748 O.S. (February 26, 1748 N.S.) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ... Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE (born 16 December 1917) is a British science-fiction author and inventor, most famous for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, and for collaborating with director Stanley Kubrick on the film of the same name. ... Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... Daniel Clement Dennett (b. ... Sanal Edamaruku is the founder-president of Rationalist International and the president of the Indian Rational Association[1]. He is the editor of the internet publication of Rationalist International. ... Edward Morgan Forster, OM (January 1, 1879 – June 7, 1970), was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. ... What I Believe is an essay by E.M. Forster in which he outlines his creed as a secular humanist. ... Sir Julian Sorell Huxley, FRS (June 22, 1887 – February 14, 1975) was a English biologist, author, Humanist and internationalist, known for his popularisations of science in books and lectures. ... The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world umbrella organization for humanist, ethical culture, rationalist, secular, and freethought groups. ... This article discusses Humanism as a non-theistic life stance. ... Dr. Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz (born December 21, 1925 in Newark, New Jersey) is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), but is best known for his prominent role in the United States skeptical community. ... Corliss Lamont (March 28, 1902 – April 26, 1995), was a humanist philosopher and civil liberties advocate. ... John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980), (born John Winston Lennon, known as John Ono Lennon) was an iconic English 20th century rock and roll songwriter and singer, best known as the founding member of The Beatles. ... John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873), British philosopher, political economist civil servant, and Member of Parliament, was an influential liberal thinker of the 19th century. ... Taslima Nasrin Taslima Nasrin (Bangla: তসলিমা নাসরিন), also known as Taslima Nasreen, (born 25 August 1962 in Mymensingh, Bangladesh) is a Bengali Bangladeshi physician, author, feminist human rights activist and secular humanist. ... Linus Carl Pauling (February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994) was an American quantum chemist and biochemist. ... Philip Pullman CBE (born October 19, 1946) is an English writer. ... Eugene Wesley Roddenberry (August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991) was an American scriptwriter and producer. ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. ... Insert non-formatted text here Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer and astrobiologist and a highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics, and other natural sciences. ... Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 - February 12, 2000) was a 20th-century American cartoonist best known for his Peanuts comic strip. ... Michael Shermer Michael Shermer (born September 8, 1954 in Glendale, California) is a science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating and debunking pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. ... For other persons named Peter Singer, see Peter Singer (disambiguation). ... Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ... Ibn Warraq is the pen name of an author of several books on Islam. ... Edward Osborne Wilson (b. ...

Secular humanism manifestos

There are numerous Humanist Manifestos and Declarations, including the following:

See also

Humanist and related organizations

The American Atheists logo, based on the atomic model. ... The American Humanist Association (AHA) is an educational organization in the United States that advances Humanism. ... For the adjective, see brightness; for people named Bright see this list. ... The British Humanist Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes Humanism. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... <drini ☎> 14:27, 15 August 2005 (UTC) Categories: Possible copyright violations ... The Church of Life seeks to promote and nurture life, sentience, and understanding. ... The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, or CSICOP, is a U.S. organization founded to encourage the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminate factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific... The Council for Secular Humanism (originally the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism, or CODESH) regards itself as the only exclusively secular humanist organization in the USA. In 1980 CODESH issued A Secular Humanist Declaration. ... The Freedom From Religion Foundation is an American Freethought organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. ... American Atheist logo. ... The Humanist Association of Canada (HAC) is a Canadian secular humanist organization which provides guidance to individuals who do not feel the need for religious beliefs in their life [1]. // History The Humanist Association of Canada was founded in 1968, with Dr. Henry Morgentaler as its first president. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Internet Infidels, Inc. ... The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is an independent 501(c)(3) project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs. ... The NCSEs logo The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is a non-profit organization affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. ... New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists is an organisation, established in 1927 in New Zealand for the promotion of rationalism and humanism. ... Quackwatch Inc. ... Scouting For All is a non-profit organization founded by Eagle Scout Steven Cozza and Dave Rice, which is trying to eliminate the Boy Scouts of Americas policies on not allowing members in their organization who are gay/lesbian, non-theist, and/or girls/women. ... The Skeptics Society is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting scientific skepticism and resisting the spread of pseudoscience, superstition, and irrational beliefs. ... The Secular Student Aliance logo Founded in May of 2000, The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) is the only independent, democratically structured organization in the U.S. that serves the needs of secular high school and college students. ... Internet Infidels, Inc. ...

Related philosophies

In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas. ... Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c. ... Eupraxsophy (previously eupraxophy but updated) [1] is a nonreligious lifestance or worldview emphasizing the importance of living an ethical and exuberant life, and relying on rational methods such as logic, observation and science (rather than faith, mysticism or revelation) toward that end. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that beliefs should be formed on the basis of science and logical principles and not be compromised by authority, tradition, or any other dogma. ... See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities... Objectivism is the philosophy developed by Russian-born American philosopher and author Ayn Rand. ... Naturalism is any of several philosophical stances, typically those descended from materialism and pragmatism, that reject the validity of explanations or theories making use of entities inaccessible to natural science. ... In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... For other uses, see Rationalism (disambiguation). ... Religious humanism, is an integration of religious rituals with humanistic philosophy that centers on human needs, interests, and abilities. ... This article is about secularism. ... Posthuman Future, an illustration by Michael Gibbs for The Chronicle of Higher Educations look at how biotechnology will change the human experience, has become one of the secular icons representing transhumanism. ...

Footnotes

  1. ^ In Harvard Magazine December 2005, p. 33.
  2. ^ a b c What Is Secular Humanism?. Council for Secular Humanism.
  3. ^ Council for Secular Humanism - "Religious and Secular Humanism: What's the difference?"
  4. ^ Though there are many exceptions; according to the Society for Humanistic Judaism, "Humanistic Jewish communities celebrate Jewish holidays and life cycle events (such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvah) with inspirational ceremonies that draw upon but go beyond traditional literature."
  5. ^ Council for Secular Humanism - "Secular Humanism: a New Approach"
  6. ^ http://www.human.no/templates/Page____2067.aspx
  7. ^ http://www.ssb.no/english/subjects/07/02/10/trosamf_en/tab-2004-10-21-01-en.html
  8. ^ http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=lessons&lesson_id=399&scholar_id=38
  9. ^ Buber, Martin (1923) I and Thou (Ich und Du). ISBN 0-684-71725-5
  10. ^ http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/cultr/documents/rc_pc_cultr_01091993_doc_i-1993-ple_en.html
  11. ^ Schaeffer, Francis A. How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. ISBN 1-58134-536-4
  12. ^ Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal (who would become Pope Benedict XVI) (1967) Introduction To Christianity. ISBN 1-58617-029-5
  13. ^ http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1123996016072&pagename=IslamOnline-English-AAbout_Islam/AskAboutIslamE/AskAboutIslamE
  14. ^ http://www.wisdomquotes.com/000501.html
  15. ^ http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=affirmations
  16. ^ http://atheism.about.com/b/a/180098.htm
  17. ^ http://www.bidstrup.com/humanist.htm
  18. ^ http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/fred_edwords/humanism.html
  19. ^ http://www.humanismtoday.org/vol12/hoertdoerfer.html
  20. ^ Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, 153 Cal.App.2d 673, 315 P.2d 394 (1957).
  21. ^ a b Ben Kalka v Kathleen Hawk, et al. (US D.C. Appeals No. 98-5485, 2000)]
  22. ^ http://members.aol.com/Patriarchy/definitions/humanism_religion.htm
  23. ^ http://forums.christianity.com/m_752565/mpage_12/tm.htm
  24. ^ Point of Inquiry podcast (17:44), February 3, 2006.
  25. ^ A discussion of "Secular humanism", on the site The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
  26. ^ a b Secularism 101: Defining Secularism: Origins with George Jacob Holyoake
  27. ^ http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/arab-y67s11.html
  28. ^ http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/index.php/Church_of_American_Secular_Humanism
  29. ^ http://journals.aol.com/richardbk8/TheSentryNewsDigest/entries/1036

A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. ... is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

International organizations / Historical & scholarly

Corliss Lamont (March 28, 1902 – April 26, 1995), was a humanist philosopher and civil liberties advocate. ...

National organizations

Related to topic 'religion'

Other


  Results from FactBites:
 
Secular humanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3140 words)
Secular humanism is a humanist philosophy that upholds reason, ethics, and justice and specifically rejects rituals and ceremonies as a means to affirm a life stance.
A Secular Humanist Declaration was an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism.
The claim that secular humanism could be considered a religion for legal purposes was examined by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Peloza v.
Humanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2226 words)
Humanism is a broad category of active ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities—particularly rationalism.
Secular humanism is the branch of humanism that rejects theistic religious belief and the existence of a supernatural.
Religious humanism is the branch of humanism that considers itself religious (based on a functional definition of religion), or embraces some form of theism, deism, or supernaturalism, without necessarily being allied with organized religion, as such.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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