1. What is Humanism?
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that — without theism and other supernatural beliefs — affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Definitions of Humanism abound. Kurt Vonnegut, who served for many years as the American Humanist Association honorary president, may have said it most succinctly when he observed that
“. . . being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”
A Humanism world-view means that reason and science are the best ways for us to understand the world. And that dignity and compassion are the foundation for our treatment of others.
Humanism is nontheistic. By this, we don’t mean to say that there is no God. Instead, we say that there is no proof for the existence of one God or any gods, the supernatural, or an afterlife.
Therefore, we take very seriously the idea that, “No deity will save us. We must save ourselves.” We are living the only life we’ll have, in the only world we know. The responsibility for the choices we make is ours and ours alone.
2. What happens at HNCFL meetings?
Humanist gatherings in Ocala are filled with fruitful, meaningful discussions on a variety of topics including politics, religions, economics, science, ethics, and dilemmas of personal and community life.
3. What is the difference between Humanism and atheism?
The simple answer is that atheism is about what one does not believe. Humanism is about what one does believe and how that belief is manifested in day-to-day living. The Humanist position is that there is no proof for the existence of deities, whereas an atheist believes there are no gods. Both Humanists and atheists share the belief that there is no supernatural being or power overseeing, guiding, or responding to requests, meting out punishments or otherwise directing life on earth.
4. What do Humanists believe about the Bible?
Humanists reject the claim that the Bible is the word of God. Humanists are convinced the book was written solely by humans. We believe that, because the writers of the Bible lived in an unenlightened era, the book contains many errors and harmful teachings. By treating this mistake-ridden book as the word of God, humanity has been led down many paths of error and misery throughout history.
In some cases, the errors caused by the Bible have been corrected and the harms done have been stopped. This happened because a scientific approach was applied to problems. Science relies on reason, observation, experience, and compassion rather than blindly accepting religious or secular dogma.
We reject the views of those who say the Bible has infallible answers to today’s problems. As Humanists know, science has proven to be a much better source for answers.
5. Do Humanists want to destroy religion and replace it with secularism?
No. There is no conspiracy by Humanists to force people to reject religion. We do, however, take philosophical issue with beliefs of religious followers. And what concerns us even more is when religious believers attempt to use the power of the government to force their beliefs upon the rest of society. As it has been shown throughout history, no one benefits when religious belief and government powers mix.
We strongly support Thomas Jefferson’s call for a “wall of separation between Church and State.” This ideal can best be reached through a secular government. This would mean a government that neither favors religion, nor discriminates against it.
Humanists of North Central Florida (HNCFL) in Ocala welcomes your interest. Join the conversation by clicking here.