Probably, at one time or the other, you must have come across the word humanism or humanists and wondered what it all meant. Maybe a new religion or something of that nature. Well, humanism is anything but a religion. It can be described more like a way of life, majorly among those that do not have a religion. To understand humanism, you would need to know more about it and the beliefs and values of these humanists. Here are some of the most important things you should know about humanism:
We Are Lucky to Be Alive and Should Recognize It: Humanism inculcates this in its beliefs and expects that humanists should understand this. The chances of us being alive, considering the events taking place all over the world, i.e., Hurricane Matthew currently ravaging many parts of the USA after killing no less than 900 people in Haiti, is quite slim. That’s why humanism is the belief that we are lucky even to be born in the first instance, and that our being alive is something we should recognize and as such, make the most out of our lives while still living on earth. Humanism also proposes the argument that that the structure, values, and purpose of life all come from the finite nature of life.
Humanism Does Not Believe in the Existence of an Afterlife: Unlike Christianity, or Islam that believes that there is an afterlife, where people would be rewarded for whatever they did here on earth, humanism believes otherwise. It proposes the notion that life becomes more meaningful and relevant without the presence of an afterlife. That is to say; we would live life to the fullest if there were no afterlife, and that the end of life means it is good because all good things must at one point or the other, come to an end. In essence, humanism is of the view that living forever is not necessarily a good thing. According to humanism, when we believe in the existence of an afterlife, we only end up distracting our attention from the things we should do in this world. On the other hand, where we do not believe in the afterlife, we tend to do things that would impact positively on our environment and the lives of people living around us.
Our Existence Comes to an End When We Die: Just as it does not believe in the afterlife, humanism rather proposes that once we die, our being comes to an end in all totality. As such, we should know that death is a natural part of life. We, therefore, shouldn’t be afraid of death, but rather, we should find ways to discuss it with other people and support each other to cope with our thoughts and fears about death in any way we can. Humanism believes that psychologically, we can face our fears of death if only we get the needed support. We need not fear death unnecessarily, but live life as we should, in a positive manner.
The Lives of Humanists Are Their Responsibilities: At least, that is what they believe. By not following God given rules or laws set down by any religion, humanists take responsibilities for their beliefs, their actions and lives. We humanists believe in humans being a more advanced living being with the capability of sense, reasoning, and understanding. This for them means that our fate as humans should be in our hands as people and not in the hands of any god or left to fate to decide.
Right and Wrong Is A Deep Concern Of Humanism: Humanism is of the view that a moral code needs to be established for people to live in peace and harmony with each other in any society they find themselves. Also, humanists believe that our morality does not come from God or gods, but from within ourselves. As humans with higher ability, we should be able to discern between right and wrong, while living kind and unselfish lives and having a lot of consideration towards others. Through this, they help to influence their society to work out through the codes of conduct they have set down for themselves.
Humanism Accepts Social Responsibility: Among humanists, their responsibilities in the society are seen as theirs, and they believe that all morals of the past, which seeks to prejudice humanists should be rejected. These range from high sensitive issues such as abortion, capital punishment, etc. to other issues concerning religion and moral education taught to their children at school. As humanists, we approach these views based on our concern for the happiness and welfare of people living around us and our neighborhood. Working with others, we will strive to achieve international peace while bringing an end to poverty and hunger in our world.
The Golden Rule Is an Important Value of Humanism: The Golden Rule is also known as the ethic of reciprocity. Humanism believes in this rule and is of the position that we should strive to treat people in whatever way we would want to be treated. We can only receive compassion, consideration, and love of we treat others in the same way as well. Humanism inculcates the Golden rule as one of its very important values because it stems out of the experience and feelings of other people and not just from any religion. It is a universal value that allows everyone think deeply on how their decisions and actions might affect others before making these decisions.
As Humanists, we don’t believe in any Supreme God who decides on our fate and our lives here on earth. Instead, we believe that we are opportune to live one life and after that, it is no more. As such, we should strive to live our life to the fullest here on earth, whilst putting others into consideration when carrying out certain actions. Humanists hold life sacred and carry out important ceremonies as well to mark certain points in our lives: birth and naming ceremony, marriages, funerals etc. We believe these ceremonies should not be held according to any set down rules laid by a religion, but with regard to our wishes and our values.
Photo Credit: Religion-year 10oates