- 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 issued in 1980 by the Council for Secular Humanism’s predecessor, CODESH. It lays out ten ideals:
- Free inquiry as opposed to censorship and imposition of belief;
- separation of church and state;
- the ideal of freedom from religious control and from jingoistic government control;
- ethics based on critical intelligence rather than that deduced from religious belief;
- moral education;
- religious skepticism;
- a belief in science and technology as the best way of understanding the world;
- and education as the essential method of building humane, free, and democratic societies…
“As an organized movement, Humanism itself is quite recent – born at the University of Chicago in the 1920s, and made public in 1933 with the publication of the first Humanist Manifesto. [Ed. note: the first and second manifestos are available in the supporting material 5.]…
“Secular Humanism affirms that with the present state of scientific knowledge, dogmatic belief in an absolutist moral/ethical system (e.g. Kantian, Islamic, Christian) is unreasonable. However, it affirms that individuals engaging in rational moral/ethical deliberations can discover some universal “objective standards”…
“Atheists, agnostics, deists, pantheists, and rationalists are those thought to be supporters of Humanism, although they may not always be. However, these beliefs are occupied with metaphysical issues, addressing questions of existence, while Humanism ignores such metaphysical matters and has its focus on ethics.” 6
It all sounds so reasonable and innocuous, doesn’t it? Why not explore and attempt to define morality and ethics outside the realm of spirituality and religion, especially when religions throughout the world don’t entirely see eye-to-eye on these things?
Unfortunately, well funded and heavily promoted movements that deny (or attempt to minimize) the existence of God are never innocuous, nor are