What is Humanism?

The past week, my age of reason class has frequently been pondering a similar question, “What is humanism?”

At first, I didn’t have the slightest clue. Without any background information, I was left confused and very incapable of answering the question. As the week progressed, we began reading numerous passages and pages about Humanism.

As we continued reading I started to understand the concept of humanism. With this small amount of information, I saw humanism as a contradicting belief or practice that people followed.

It was hard to understand that not only were there different variations of Humanism, but I didn’t take into consideration that each piece of writing has a different point of view. But as I continued discussing with my class and reading on, I found that Humanism did make sense as a practice.

   “Humanism seems weird, and I don’t really know that much about it. I know the practice involves knowledge and education, but other than that I don’t know much about it at all.”

These are words from an interview I conducted with Nicole Inskeep, 12’. I asked her what she knew about Humanism, and at the time, she knew just about as much as I did.

Humanism is a practice-not a religion- that is knowledge and education based. There are a few sections of humanism: secular and Christian humanism.

Secular humanism is a more recent type of humanism. It evades all types of higher power, and it is a goal to be the “perfect human”. They use ancient texts from Greek and Roman times.

Christian Humanism is much like secular Humanism, but believers of Christian Humanism use Christian texts to model after being the “perfect human”.

When I first started learning about Christian Humanism, it seemed extremely hypocritical and contradicting. According to Jeaneane D. Fowler,

            “Humanism has emerged as a positive alternative to the regnant religiosity and spirituality in the world. “

At first I was puzzled knowing that people who practice humanism claim that they don’t believe in any higher power, and yet Christian Humanism discusses and strives to be religious figures. But Christian Humanists don’t believe these religious necessarily exist, but they do see them as “perfect” human figures.

After the week of reading passage after passage and page after page, I can most definitely say that I can answer the what seemed simple question of: “What is Humanism.”

Works Cited

Fowler, Jeaneane D. Humanism: Beliefs and Practices. Sussex Academic, 1999. Google Books. Sussex Academic Press. Web. 15 Feb. 2012. <http://books.google.com/books?id=z5k5A0_nFogC&gt;.

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6 comments

  1. austin0907

    It’s really cool that you were able to find a lot of different pieces of information about humanism. There has been a lot of criticism in the political world about people being humanists and the way you have described it does not make it sound like a bad thing. Do you know why there is this contradiction?

    • morgigglez

      Thanks Austin!
      I appreciate you taking the time to read my post. I think there is a contradiction in the “good and bad” of Humanism because for some, it would seem to be difficult to not see humanism as a religion. Especially Christian Humanism-considering Christian Humanists use higher power figures as their role models. But the contradiction mainly exists because these Humanists don’t believe in god-but use god as a role model.

  2. ottol808

    You gave very simple and clear definitions for the reader to understand! I agree with you that humanism doesn’t really have a true definition and in the end you have to answer a question with a question. How did ancient texts helped in achieving the “perfect human” ?

    • morgigglez

      Hey Otto,
      Thank you for commenting on my post! I think these ancient texts helped achieved the perfect human by using higher power people or god-like figures as role models. I would be interested in other opinions as to how the texts helped achieved the perfect human as well. Thanks again for posting!
      -Morgan

  3. dan1418

    It’s a really nice blog to explain what is humanism but can you explain more what is prefect human and why do they want to be?

    • morgigglez

      Hi Dan! Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post! I think that humanists thought the “perfect human” was someone who was extremely well rounded. Perhaps a good modern day example would be a prodigy of some sort.Humanists wanted to be the perfect human because when striving to be perfect, people end up portraying the best person they can possibly be.

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