Atheist, Agnostic, Secular Humanism Perspectives

 

 

"Secular Humanism is a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in people so that all people can have the best in life. Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation."

Paul Kurtz, Founder
Council for Secular Humanism

Secular Humanist Values and Ideals

1.Free Inquiry

The first principle of democratic secular humanism is its commitment to free inquiry. We oppose any tyranny over the mind of man, any efforts by ecclesiastical, political, ideological, or social institutions to shackle free thought.2.

2.Separation Of Church And State

Because of their commitment to freedom, secular humanists believe in the principle of the separation of church and state. The lessons of history are clear: wherever one religion or ideology is established and given a dominant position in the state, minority opinions are in jeopardy.

3.The Ideal Of Freedom

There are many forms of totalitarianism in the modern world - secular and nonsecular - all of which we vigorously oppose.

4.Ethics Based On Critical Intelligence

The moral views of secular humanism have been subjected to criticism by religious fundamentalist theists. The secular humanist recognizes the central role of morality in human life; indeed, ethics was developed as a branch of human knowledge long before religionists proclaimed their moral systems based upon divine authority.

5.Moral Education

We believe that moral development should be cultivated in children and young adults. We do not believe that any particular sect can claim important values as their exclusive property; hence it is the duty of public education to deal with these values.

6.Religious Skepticism

As secular humanists, we are generally skeptical about supernatural claims. We recognize the importance of religious experience: that experience that redirects and gives meaning to the lives of human beings. We deny, however, that such experiences have anything to do with the supernatural. We are doubtful of traditional views of God and divinity.

7.Reason

We are committed to the use of the rational methods of inquiry, logic, and evidence in developing knowledge and testing claims to truth.

8.Science And Technology

We believe the scientific method, though imperfect, is still the most reliable way of understanding the world. Hence, we look to the natural, biological, social, and behavioral sciences for knowledge of the universe and man's place within it.

9.Evolution

Although the theory of evolution cannot be said to have reached its final formulation, or to be an infallible principle of science, it is nonetheless supported impressively by the findings of many sciences.

10.Education

In our view, education should be the essential method of building humane, free, and democratic societies. The aims of education are many: the transmission of knowledge; training for occupations, careers, and democratic citizenship; and the encouragement of moral growth.

 

We believe that it is possible to bring about a more humane world, one based upon the methods of reason and the principles of tolerance, compromise, and the negotiations of difference.
We recognize the need for intellectual modesty and the willingness to revise beliefs in the light of criticism.


Selected quotes from "A Secular Humanist Declaration"
issued by the Council for Secular Humanism
drafted by Paul Kurtz, editor of "Free Inquiry"