If someone asked you for a quick definition of humanism, would you be ready? Say you’re wearing MHA’s Happy Humanist t-shirt while getting on an elevator. A stranger asks you to explain. Are you ready? You’re only going to the fourth floor. Unless the elevator gets stuck, you’ve only got about a minute. Ninety seconds tops. So do YOU have your elevator pitch down and ready to go?
Saying MHA is a secular organization and we believe in Good without God is not a bad start. But now you’re down to 74 seconds. So what else can you say? Here are a few quickie definitions you can use while staring at the door on the way up.
Humanism is a philosophy of life that seeks to understand the universe through science, reason, and experience. We derive knowledge from observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. As secular humanists, we reject the existence of a supreme deity or afterlife. However humanism attempts to transcend the divide between the religious and secular, preferring to focus on the world of human experience.
We believe that as humans, the sole responsibility for making the world a better place lies with us. No one else controls our destiny. We’re committed to capitalizing our time spent on earth, as we only get one shot at life.
As humanists, we are concerned with the well-being of all. Humanism stands for the building of a more just, humane, and compassionate society. We gain fulfillment by serving humanity. We are committed to diversity, and willing to respect those with differing, yet humane views. We seek to serve the needs of all human beings regardless of culture or ethnicity. We strive to build meaningful relationships with others, even if their philosophies differ from our own.
Humanism champions the equal enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society. We maintain that it’s a civic duty to participate in the democratic process, and a planetary duty to protect nature’s integrity, diversity, and beauty in a secure and sustainable manner.
MHA is a community of non-believers who have come together in support of these beliefs. We believe in doing good for others, regardless of belief. We actively work on behalf of charitable causes. We provide food for the homeless and books for the incarcerated. In some respects, we do resemble a church community. The main difference is we don’t believe in the supernatural or practice any rituals. There is no temple where we gather.
Do any of these definitions resonate with you? Feel free to add some of your own. Let’s talk about Humanism!
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