Humanism is a non-religious ethical philosophy of life that emphasizes human rights and respect for all humans and the environment. A Humanist creates a more humane and responsible world through rational and reasonable thought processes, a respect for the scientific process, and empathy for others.
More specifically, The Ontario Humanist Society defines Humanism as having the following principles:
- Humanism aims at the full development of every human being.
- Humanists uphold the broadest application of democratic principles in all human relationships.
- Humanists advocate the use of scientific methods, both as a guide to distinguish fact from fiction and to help develop beneficial and creative uses of science and technology.
- Humanists affirm the dignity of every person and the right of the individual to maximum possible freedom compatible with the rights of others.
- Humanists call for the continued improvement of society so that no one may be deprived of the basic necessities of life, and for institutions and conditions to provide every person with opportunities for developing their full potential.
- Humanists support the development and extension of fundamental human freedoms, as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and supplemented by UN International Covenants comprising the United Nations Bill of Human Rights.
- Humanists advocate peaceful resolution of conflicts between individuals, groups, and nations.
- The humanist ethic encourages development of the positive potentialities in human nature, and approves conduct based on a sense of responsibility to oneself and to all other persons.
- Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can only be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings.
- Humanists affirm that human beings are completely a part of nature, and that our survival is dependent upon a healthy planet that provides us and all other forms of life with a sustainable environment.