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. If, by some argument or revelation, they come to believe that their god wants them to work against human interests, would they be compelled to comply with their new understanding? We appreciate that religious humanitarians have 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 human reason to human needs.
What's the difference between Humanists and Unitarian Universalists?
The UU affirms seven guiding principles which are roughly equivalent to Humanist ideals stated on our home 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.