What is Humanism

The British Social Attitudes Survey (2018) found that 52% of Britons are non-religious. Many people, even if they do not call themselves humanists, have humanist beliefs and values. Organised Humanism is the tip of a very large iceberg.


Roughly speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:

  • trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic).
  • makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals.
  • believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.

However, definitions abound and there are longer and shorter versions. The fullest definition to have a measure of international agreement is contained in the 2002 Amsterdam Declaration of Humanists International.

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