The mission of the Stanislaus Humanists is to advance Humanism, an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in supernatural forces. Humanists advocate for equality between naturalists and supernaturalists and strive for a society guided by reason, empathy, and our growing knowledge of the world. Stanislaus Humanists encourage people to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good.
What is Humanism?
Humanism is a worldview which holds that reason and science are the best ways to understand the world around us, and that dignity and compassion should be the basis for how you act toward someone else. Humanism is naturalistic. By this, we don't mean to say that there is no God. Instead, we say that there is no proof for the existence of God, any gods, the supernatural, or an afterlife. We are living the only life we'll have in the only world we know about. The responsibility for the choices we make is ours and ours alone. Below are the basic principles of Humanism:
The following is taken from the American Humanist Association's guiding document, Humanism and Its Aspirations.
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.
Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.
Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life's fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.
Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
Humanism and its Aspirations, also known as Humanist Manifesto III. Humanist Manifesto is a trademark of the American Humanist Association-© 2003 American Humanist Association.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Are Humanists trying to destroy religion and replace it with secularism?
No. There is no conspiracy by humanists to force people to reject religion. We do take philosophical issue with beliefs of religious followers. However, what concerns us even more is when religious believers attempt to use the power of the government to force their beliefs upon the rest of society. As it has been shown throughout history, no one benefits when religious belief and government power mix. We want a government that neither favors religion nor discriminates against it. For our government to best serve the diverse needs of the American people, it must remain neutral in matters as personal as religion.
What's the difference between secular humanists and religious humanists?
While many religious people have adopted the term "humanist" to describe themselves, this is confusing because they still believe that moral choices must be grounded in obedience to a nonhuman authority. We appreciate that these religious humanitarians have very similar goals, and we consider them valuable allies in building coalitions and collaborating on joint projects. However, Humanists believe that the ultimate grounding of moral choices must be the application of reason to human needs. So the term "secular humanism" is redundant and confuses people into thinking there is another type of Humanist.
What's the difference between Humanists and Unitarian Universalists?
The UU affirms seven guiding principles which are roughly equivalent to Humanist ideals stated at the top of this page; however, you will find a difference in the tone and emphasis between the two groups. Both the UU and Humanists will not allow any hurtful or hateful speech to be published from their lecterns or presses. The UU, however, encourages and honors beliefs and traditions that only seem to be supported by claims of ancient authority and usage. Humanists tend to challenge such beliefs and traditions and ask for reasonable arguments and sound evidence to support them. Because of this difference, you'll find that the atmosphere of UU congregations feels a bit more like a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. Humanist groups feel more like an academic group devoted to secular learning and pastimes.