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What is Secular Humanism definition. Secular Humanist

Updated on January 28, 2011

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Secular Humanism is not a religion. To be a Religious Humanist, one must believe in something that is not directly provable in the known world. Secular Humanist is a strand of Atheism.

An extract from the Council of Secular Humanism:

Secular humanism begins with atheism (absence of belief in a deity) and agnosticism or skepticism (epistemological caution that rejects the transcendent as such due to a lack of evidence). Because no transcendent power will save us, secular humanists maintain that humans must take responsibility for themselves. While atheism is a necessary condition for secular humanism, it is not a sufficient one. Far from living in a moral vacuum, secular humanists “wish to encourage wherever possible the growth of moral awareness and the capacity for free choice and an understanding of the consequences thereof.”

Secular humanism emerges, then, as a comprehensive nonreligious life stance that incorporates a naturalistic philosophy, a cosmic outlook rooted in science, and a consequentialist ethical system. That is the definition I offer.

Human happiness and social justice without the need for deities are the larger goals of Secular humanism. Their ethics are based on human experience. This means that morals can be examined and have their real world consequences evaluated. Needless to say, it is a belief system which depends greatly on empathy. The laws and limits of a Secular Humanist society are based upon the individual and social benefits they provide, and the consequences of the relevant actions.

Atheism denies that meaning to life was ever imposed from above. Theists of course, claim the opposite. Secular Humanism claims that humans must create a collaborative meaning to life from below; from themselves rather than a deity.

In conclusion: Secular Humanism sits somewhere between Nihilism and Theism.

  • Nihilists believe morals come from humans, but there is no reason one ought to follow them.
  • Theists believe morals come from deities, and one ought to follow them
  • Secular Humanists believe morals come from humans, and one ought to follow them (for different reasons to theists).


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    • WoW Guide Master profile image

      WoW Guide Master 6 years ago

      Atheism is simply not believing in the presence of a deity; at least from a known religious point of view. If your a Secular Humanist, then you are also Atheist. If you are Atheist, you are not necessarily a Secular Humanist.

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      Baileybear 6 years ago

      Very well explained. So it would be better to call myself a secular humanist than atheist?