What is Humanism?

HUMANISM is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

THE MISSION of Humanists of Utah, as a chapter of the American Humanist Association, is to be a clear; democratic voice for humanism in Utah, to increase public awareness and acceptance of humanism, to establish, protect and promote the position of humanists in our society, and to develop and advance humanist thought and action.

HUMANISTS OF UTAH, as a chapter of the American Humanist Association, provides a humanist perspective in strong support of separation of religion from government, preservation and restoration of the environment, protection of civil rights and liberties, and promotion of personal choice regarding introduction of new life, family structure, and death with dignity. Though humanists are not monolithic on every issue–we are a community that encourages tolerance and nurtures diversity–we will not tolerate legally imposed sectarian judgments, human rights violations, or discrimination in any form.

–Adapted from AHA Pamphlet

Humanism is a rational philosophy based on belief in the dignity of human beings, informed by science and motivated by human hope and human compassion.

Humanists revere the natural world, knowing of no other place to set good examples, to work, and to show love. We accept responsibility for what we do and what we become, believing that our immortality is found in the examples we set and in the work we do. We rejoice in the diversity around us.

In the words of Thomas Paine, “such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.”

We seek insight from all cultures and from many sources–scientific, secular, and religious–recognizing that there are many truths and many ways to learn about how to live.

–Heather Dorrell
President, Humanists of Utah
June 2002

  • Humanism is a philosophy that puts the emphasis on humans solving the problems of life without the dogmatic authority of secular or religious institutions.
  • Humanism is committed to rational thought and responsible behavior that will enhance the quality of life on this earth.
  • Humanists believe that human beings are part of the natural world with all other forms of life, and that nature is indifferent to our individual existence.
  • Humanists are convinced that the meaning and purpose of life must be found in living not in dying.
  • Humanists believe that moral values are neither divinely revealed nor the special property of any religious tradition, that they must be found by humans through the use of their natural reason, and that our beliefs about what is right or wrong in human behavior must be constantly subjected to the deepest reflection in light of our evolving understanding of our nature and the world in which we live.
  • Humanists have faith in the human capacity to choose good over evil without the expectation of reward in another life.
  • Humanists encourage moral excellence, positive relationships and human dignity; compassion, cooperation and community.

–Flo Wineriter
President, Humanists of Utah
September 1996

Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as part of nature and holds that values–be they religious, ethical, social, or political–have their source in human nature, experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.

–The Humanist
Official publication of the American Humanist Association

The Philosophy of Humanism
by Corliss Lamont

  1. Humanism believes in a naturalistic attitude toward the universe and considers all forms of the supernatural as myth.
  2. Humanism believes humans are an evolutionary product of nature; that the mind is a function of the brain and there is no conscious survival after death.
  3. Humanism believes humans possess the potential power to solve problems through reasoning.
  4. Humanism believes humans possess genuine freedom of choice and action and therefore are masters of their own destiny.
  5. Humanism believes in a morality that holds as its highest goals: happiness, freedom and progress for everyone irrespective of nation, race or religion.
  6. Humanism believes the individual attains the “good life” by continuous self-development, significant work, and activities that contribute to the welfare of the community.
  7. Humanism believes in the development of art, the awareness of beauty, and the appreciation of loveliness so that the aesthetic experience may become reality.
  8. Humanism believes in democracy, peace, and a high standard of living based upon a foundation of a flourishing economic order.
  9. Humanism believes in reason and the scientific method, democratic procedures, parliamentary government, freedom of expression and civil liberties.
  10. Humanism believes in unending questioning of basic assumptions and convictions, including its own. Humanism is a developing philosophy open to experimental testing, newly discovered facts, and rigorous reasoning based upon the belief that humans can build an enduring citadel of peace and beauty upon this earth.

Humanism is a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in people, so that all people may have the best in life. Humanists reject all supernatural and authoritarian beliefs and believe that we must take responsibility for our own lives and for the community and world in which we live. The humanist life-stance emphasizes rational and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, and the need for tolerance and cooperation.

–The International Humanist and Ethical Union

  • Humanism is democratic. It aims at the fullest possible development of every human being.
  • Humanism seeks to use science creatively, not destructively.
  • Humanism is ethical. It affirms the dignity of man and the right of the individual to the greatest possible freedom of development compatible with the rights of others.
  • Humanism insists that personal liberty is an end that must be combined with social responsibility in order that it shall not be sacrificed to the improvement of material conditions.
  • Humanism is a way of life, aiming at the maximum possible fulfillment, through the cultivation of ethical and creative living.
  • The primary task of humanism today is to make men aware in the simplest terms of what it can mean to them and what it commits them to.

–Statement from the Declaration of the Humanist Congress in Amsterdam, August 26, 1952

Humanism contends that human beings are a part of nature, that they have emerged as a result of continuous evolutionary process, and that all their values–religious, ethical, political, and social–have their source in human experience and are the product of their culture.

Humanism affirms the inherent dignity and worth of every human being and is dedicated to the search for meaning and values for humankind through reliance upon reason, intelligence and the scientific method.

Humanists practice the art of living, of being human, and making full use of creative and intellectual resources to enhance the quality of their lives. Their goal is the good society and the achievement of human happiness.

–The Utah Humanist
November 1994