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.”
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>.