Humanism is the perspective that humans are the starting point for all ethical, moral and intellectual inquiry.

  1. Why Humanism
  2. History
  3. See Also
  4. References, Notes and Other Reading
  5. About This Page
An artistic rendering of the international ‘Happy Human” logo of humanism and humanist organizations.

Why Humanism?

Humanists International’s minimal statement on humanism declares that it is a “democratic and ethical life stance that affirms human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. Humanism stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethics based on human and other natural values in a spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. Humanism is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural view of reality.”


While a more detailed history of humanism will be outlined in this section soon – at, it our perspective that humanism is an inherent trait of humanity that has always been a part of the human condition throughout all of its cultures. During many period of human history and within various cultures, non-humanistic and even anti-humanistic perspectives have been undeniably more dominant; however, these perspectives do not obliterate humanism’s persistence.

As the human condition and the societies and cultures in which humans have lived have evolved over time, so too has the expression and application of humanism. The expression and application of humanism in the times of Cicero, Erasmus, Spinoza, Kurtz or Hitchens was each to its time. Based on this perspective, at, when we refer to humanism that was contemporaneous to the times when considering past events and contemporary applied humanism when referring to current events and aspirations for the future.

The Amsterdam Declaration

The 2022 Annual General Assembly of Humanists International assembly marked the 70th anniversary of the first World Humanist Congress (see our article) and launched an updated version of The Amsterdam Declaration – a set of agreed-upon principles of humanism. The Declaration bears four key items:

  1. Humanists strive to be ethical.
  2. Humanists stive to be rational.
  3. Humanists strive for fulfillment in their lives.
  4. Humanism meets the widespread demand for a source of meaning and purpose to stand as an alternative to dogmatic religion, authoritarian nationalism, tribal sectarianism and selfish nihilism.

Humanist Canada

According to Humanist Canada (founded in 1954), “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life based on a profound respect for human dignity and the conviction that human beings are ultimately accountable to themselves and to society for their actions. It is a secular worldview that affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical and meaningful lives. Many people are Humanist without even knowing it. Humanists are motivated by ethics, compassion, and fairness, and guided by reason and scientific inquiry. We are inspired by history, art, music, literature, and the beauty of the natural world.

Oranyu Congregation for Humanistic Judaism

The Oranyu Congregation (founded in 1969) declares that “The foundation of ethics is not God. The foundation of ethics is human dignity, human survival and human happiness. Ethical behavior consists of relationships between people. Some people behave well without believing in God and some people who believe in God do not behave ethically.

See Also

References, Notes And Other Reading


About this Page

This page was most recently updated on 15 December 2022.

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