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What Is Secular Humanism?

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Secular humanists are a strange lot. They are strange because they are so few, but yet they are everywhere . All around us they work and pla...

Secular humanists are a strange lot. They are strange because they are so few, but yet they are everywhere. All around us they work and play, but yet they are so hard to identify. They come in all colors, all genders, different sizes, different weights, some have tattoos, some do not. They exist in almost country and can have many political beliefs. Look around; there is probably one near you.

A secular humanist is a believer in people, an optimist who believes that people can enjoy their lives, help others, and promote a better world all at the same time. A secular humanist is foremost a believer in people and the ability people have to solve problems. A secular humanist believes that people can and will better themselves. The history of our civilization is a slow, back-and-forth progression of human maturity and human cooperation, just as a secular humanist might predict. This back-and-forth progression and digression in history is because we are inventing that morality ourselves. We are learning how to cooperate.

There is another element to being a secular humanist. A secular humanist does not need God. In fact, a secular humanist believes that no one needs a god. A secular humanist believes that we can be happy and successful without believing in a god. A secular humanist believes that all the progress our civilization has made has been made despite an irrational belief in gods and other superstitious ideas.

Being an atheist or agnostic is not the same as being a secular humanist. A person can be an atheist and not care about people or believe in people. That is not what a secular humanist is. A secular humanist does believe in people. In fact, this lack of belief in a god is important to secular humanism only because so many people do believe in a god. In the future when people give up their belief in God, we will be talking about “humanism,” not “secular humanism.” For now, because humanism can take different forms, the “secular” modifier is important.

Secular humanists are not monolithic. They are not necessarily united on how best to improve our society. Secular humanists can be conservative, moderate or liberal. They can be members of different political parties. But what unites them is the simple belief that people can be good without a god.

Here are two questions you can ask to decide whether you are a secular humanist. The first question is this: Do you believe there is a god or other supernatural force? If you answer yes, you cannot be a secular humanist. The second question is: Do you believe that humans, without the help of any god or other supernatural force, can eventually solve their problems and compromise to create a society that promotes a good life for everyone? If you answered no, you cannot be a secular humanist. To be a secular humanist you cannot believe in a god or supernatural forces and you have to believe in people.

Secular humanists will be the saviors of our world. While other groups are worried about pleasing a god, secular humanists are worried about our lives in the here and now. Are you a secular humanist?

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Consider This:
However, we all share the firm belief in the triumph of humanist and progressive values that mankind has achieved during its long history of struggle and creativeness. - Tran Duc Luong

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