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What does ‘humanism’ mean to humanists?

What does 'humanism' mean to humanists? Watch a collection of answers to the question.
For me Humanism is about leading an ethical life using evidence from science and from my own conscience and own experience and just living as good a life as I possibly can. To me it’s very simple actually, it’s just being good without god. Humanism is an ethical life stance for people who don’t have a religion. It is ethical in that it attaches great value to the welfare and flourishing of other people and indeed other life altogether. The promotion of human rights is part of this. That idea, that notion that people really are equal and deserve this minimum of dignity and of equal treatment. For me Humanism is sort of atheism plus!
To me, Humanism is a non-religious philosophy, and it’s, for me, very much about kindness and empathy. Put simply, Humanism is about love. It’s about the love we have for our friends, for our family, and the love of life, and that love of life is at the foundation of our beliefs, that we only have one life and we should enjoy it. For me, Humanism is a set of values and ways we think about the world for people who want to think about the world rationally.
Humanism is a system of thought that gives a priority to humans and we understand that we are here to work and to help each other and we are not looking for another type of life in a superstitious or imaginary world. Humanism is a way of realising that if we only have one life, if we’re only here once, then actually that leads to a lot of inspiring answers about how we should behave and how we should spend our time. I think, to me, Humanism is, is a worldview whereby you’re sceptical, rational and you try to incorporate moral thinking into everything you do. Naturalistic, that is to say don’t believe in the supernatural or afterlife or gods, ghosts or anything like that.
the core values of Humanism are empathy, compassion, reason and evidence. Humanism is the relation between people instead of the of the relation between god and people. It’s a way for me to express what I am rather than what I’m not, it’s the promotion of equality and celebrating diversity and all the, you celebrate all the richness of life really. As human beings we have everything within ourselves and amongst each other to really make something very beautiful out of life.

Watch the video of different humanists (filmed at a range of conferences and other events) answering the question ‘What is humanism?’. This should hopefully give you an introduction to how humanism is commonly understood amongst those who use the word ‘humanist’ to describe themselves.

Before you watch the video, write down five words that you associate with humanism, five things that the word ‘humanism’ means to you. Keep an eye out for these words as you watch the video and make a note of any other words and phrases, including those that you were not expecting to hear.

Use the comments below to discuss the video with the other learners.

  • How many of the words you wrote down could you find in the film?
  • Did anything surprise you?
  • What similarities and differences were there between the humanist responses?
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Introducing Humanism: Non-religious Approaches to Life, with Sandi Toksvig

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