You Don’t Need to Choose Only One of Them

Humanism was actually a really vague idea to me when the first time I read it in the McKay textbook. But it is not that complicated, and humanism can somehow be defined as human perfection. It was an alien thought to the old Medieval Age which people mostly believed in God, because it advocated people to think in reason and ethics. Humanism is to make people perfect both physically and spiritually. However, retrieving different ideas, or learning new things on the basis of the information that one already has, can make people perfect as well.

Humanism has diverged into two parts, which are secular humanism and Christian humanism since people have mainly focused on either material or religious life. According to Julie, an OES Upper School teacher, the religious thoughts have a big difference between each other. However, in either of the two parts of humanism, the elements of another side are not absolutely separated. The secular humanist didn’t deny all of the ideas of Christian humanism. The power of church was still great during that time, so they just avoided to talk about religion and mainly focused on their ideas with reason. Also, in Michelangelo’s David, Michelangelo used the form of human body, which is not preferred in religious culture, to express the story in the religion.

People in Renaissance started to meet the ethics, reasons, on the basis of religion beliefs. The situation was, religion was accepted by most people, but the ethics seemed to be more reasonable. The ideas of both sides mixed, which is inevitable when people think. I think this is the action of improving human themselves as well—people take things that benefit them and to promote their understandings to this world in their own ways. Being consistent on the same thing wouldn’t make people improve; taking the ideas that one need could express himself more perfect among others.

As well, there might be two or more definitions to the same thing or idea because people have their own considerations. So that’s why discussion is developed and is important in the society. For example, I received two different explanations of Christian humanism from two different resources. One is from online text resource, and the other one is from a teacher. They have totally different definition: According to Julie, Christian humanism is using humanism as tools for a religious purpose; but according to the book in Google Book, it is using religious doctrines, or practices for human needs.

That made me felt confused. However, as what I’ve wrote, things can have more explanations. I wouldn’t need to cognize only one of them is correct. Mike told me that, both of them would be acceptable, although he would agree with the one that Google Book says. This kind of thinking way makes people see a broader world, and I consider that it is the influence from education and society.

Work Cited

Boccaccio, . “The Story of Griselda.” Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, 2001. Web. 9 Feb 2012.

Chapman, Roger. “Culture wars: an encyclopedia of issues, viewpoints, and voices.” Google Books. M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2010. Web. 6 Feb 2012.

Law, Stephan. “Humanism: a very short introduction.” Google Books. Oxford University Press, 2011. Web. 6 Feb 2012.

McKay, John, Bennett Hill, et al. A History of Western Society. 9th. B. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. 416. Print.



  1. davidz123

    Hi Rogina! Nice Post! I like how you use the example of two different explanations of Christian Humanism. But I don’t really understand what you say about Humanism makes people perfect physically.

    • rogina9993

      Thanks David! Actually, what I mean is that humanism also has the idea to make human’s body perfect. The body is considered as the origin of sin in religious opinions. However, in humanism(especially secular humanism) it considers that body is also part of human, and people should improve it as well as they try to promote their minds.

  2. mollyageofreason

    Hi Rogina! Nice blog! I really like your point that two ideas can be different, but both be right, and that two ideas mixing is “inevitable when people think.” I think that was a really good way to draw a common line between secular humanism and Christian humanism. Like davidz123, I was a little bit confused about humanism making people perfect physically- if you have time, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.
    Thanks, and good job on your blog!

    • rogina9993

      Thank you Molly!:) I think there is no absolute explanation to a certain object in this world. About making people’s perfect physically, it is to make people understand that their body is equal to how they think, so they should also try to make their body perfect,as well. However, I didn’t find any examples on this idea, but I think it is an interesting and a reliable idea.

  3. avaz121

    It is interesting that we both interviewed Julie Sikkink on the same topic! I have learned that secular humanism was devised from the increasing economic power of Italians during the start of the Renaissance. Both Christian humanists and secular humanists focused on the studies around human, except Christian humanists tended to study the connection between human and God. I would like to know how you think two ideas serve with each other?

    • rogina9993

      Hey Ava,
      It is true that Jule would be a really good resource in our study! Thanks for your comment, but I don’t really understand your question–I think the two ideas might have the shared parts, but they might not support each other in some cases. I would like to hear more about your thoughts!

  4. cassandra2014

    Great post Rogina! I really liked how you compared Secular and Christian Humanism. The topics that you covered proved great questions for the reader to ask themselves, like: ‘What do I believe to be true?’. Also, in the beginning, I liked how you included your own history with Humanism, it really gave a personal connection!

  5. rogina9993

    Thank you for both reading and commenting Casey! But actually the question of believing is so hard to answer, and I am still wondering even after researching and writing the post. You give me a deeper question to think about and I think it’s hard to answer it since people also have their own beliefs besides the prevailing thoughts during the time period.
    Thanks again:)

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