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   A Brief Statement Of The Humanist Viewpoint

         Humanism stands for the furtherance of human values and the building of a more humane society through an ethics based on human perceptions and capabilities without linking it with any supra-human entity, that is, on assessments made in a spirit of reason and free enquiry.

2. The following may be considered as further corollaries to the humanist viewpoint:

(1)         Human ethics needs no external sanction, and has its springs in the innate sense of values which are an intrinsic part of human nature. Though human nature and Nature itself, include both selfishness and even cruelty on the one hand and selflessness and compassion on the other, human values refer to the latter and humanist ethics believes in promoting these.

(2)         Humanism believes that there is a close link between its two core values, human self-reliance and human compassion, as the spirit of free enquiry, which is part of human self-reliance, alone can genuinely promote human values.

(3)         The scientific spirit of free enquiry, in its true sense, would include the acceptance of uncertainties (rather than of dogmas, rigidities or views held with aggressive certainty) and would therefore generate greater humility, tolerance and compassion and thus lead to furtherance of human values and of a more humane society.

(4)         Experience shows that dogmas of all kinds, particularly religious dogmas in our context, fail to rise to the humane requirements of many situations and ultimately tend to negate compassion.

(5)         The spirit of free enquiry would require that all evidence, whatever be its nature, must be examined by the method of reason and free enquiry. Humanism, therefore, believes in the use of reason, free enquiry and free thought in the service of compassion and human values.

(6)         Humanism believes in the development of ethics on a non-theistic basis in which human beings are considered to be free and responsible without referring to powers considered to be of higher importance than human beings themselves.

(7)         "Theism" in its conventional sense involving the existence of an unquestionable but approachable entity which consciously intervenes in, controls or influences human affairs is not considered compatible with humanism. However, any metaphysical beliefs of individual humanists in a non-conventional theism, different from the above, would be, by definition, neither in contradiction with, nor a part of, their humanist life-stance.

(8)         Irrespective of whether it is better to describe humanism as a religion or not, on which humanists may differ (as it would depend on how the word 'religion' is defined,) humanism supports the principle of secularism in the sense of separation of religion from state affairs and parity amongst people holding different religious views, including those who do not believe in any religion.

(9)         Humanism believes in the freedom of the individual, including the right of self-determination and the full realization of each person's talents.

(10)         The desirable goal of promoting human values and a more humane society would include a number of elements, some of the more important being

- greater tolerance and compassion and greater feeling of oneness, and commonality not only amongst humankind but within the entire environment and the ecology of Nature

- Some degree of altruism, comprising a certain generosity of the heart towards others

- promotion of justice and fair play particularly through the spirit of democracy, including respect for majority opinion as also the protection of pluralism and the reasonable rights of minority groups

• • Concern for human rights in keeping broadly with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations. November 1997


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