The Humanist Manifesto III August 13, 2007Posted by Joe in Humanism.
The Humanist Manifesto is apparently in its third version since the original in 1933. All three version are available on the AHA website.
So the question is: do I agree enough with the manifesto to consider myself a Humanist.
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.
Bingo! I am in complete agreement here. The methods of science are the best ways to gain knowledge of the universe.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
I agree that humans are the result of unguided evolutionary change, but I do not think that humans are “an integral part of nature”. I don’t believe we are of any inherent significance at all. Nature did and will do just fine without us.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
I’ve never though of ethical values being derived from human needs or interests, but I certainly see some truth to it. I don’t understand how ethical values can be tested by experience.
Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
It seems to me that fulfillment can come in many ways, but this is certainly one of them.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.
These I believe are the bases for human morality. We need and want to live with one another, and to be able to do so requires maintaining positive relationships between individuals and groups. It is these ideas that make Humanism a positive philosophy that says much more about what it means to be human than any religion.
The last bit is worth quoting:
Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals. The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.
We are responsible for our mistakes and our victories. We have ultimate responsibility for the present and future of human society. We must learn from the lessons of the past and do what we can to improve the world of the future.
I guess I am a Humanist.