Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives.
It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. Search term:.
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Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Norman, Richard Ethics, Killing and War. Cambridge University Press. ISBN John Cornwell and Michael McGhee. Anthony O'Hear. Norman's work has substantially improved public understanding of humanist thought, both in the UK and abroad.
The impact generated by Norman's research began with articles introducing humanist perspectives on religious debate to a wide audience.
It questioned claims that religions should be identified solely as social institutions. The reach of this impact is demonstrated by the magazine's sales figures, and by online hits specific to Norman's articles:. Read online 14, times up to 31 July [Source A below]. Read online 8, times up to 31 July Sales figures for Vol. The content of these articles was also disseminated via a series of public lectures, which discussed similar themes. The lectures also stressed the need for a better understanding of humanist beliefs in order to help promote dialogue between humanist and non-humanist groups:.
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It has been viewed over times. Norman edited and authored the text for this publication, which was based on the results of extensive group debate between members of the BHA. It is not morally permissible for doctors to grab a healthy person from the waiting room and dissect him for his organs in order to save ten lives. The idea of living in a world where such an act is permissible and can happen to you or your loved ones does far more damage to overall well-being than saving ten lives.
Even though there is an objectively correct moral choice albeit often unknowable , the collective well-being on which morality is based is subject to change over time. An individual or group of people can have an effect on morality if they can influence others' thoughts, feelings, and beliefs on well-being. For example, if society generally accepts that gay marriage is immoral, the idea of gay marriage may have negative psychological effects no matter how irrational they may be on the vast majority of people that result in decreased overall well-being. If a person or group can influence enough people to change their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, then the balance of negative to positive well-being can shift to the point where the moral position changes.
It may be incomprehensible for us today to imagine how an issue such as women's voting rights could have ever even been an issue worthy of debate, but this is because we are putting a moral issue of years ago in today's moral climate. Morality does change over time, but only because our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about the world are constantly changing based on new information being available.
What is Secular Humanism - CFI
Understood in this way, the relativity of morality is temporal only—objective in the moment, but relative over time. Morality is not geographically relative since the foundation of morality, human well-being, is geographically ubiquitous. A tribe living in the jungle that eats their babies as a form of population control may experience a high level of well-being within their tribe, but knowledge of such a practice by the rest of humanity has a deleterious effect on overall well-being.
From a Humanist perspective, the well-being of humanity takes precedence over cultural practices that violate human rights even if these practices might be "free expressions of religion. I have presented examples that generally do not present moral dilemmas—issues such as rape, infanticide, and cannibalism.
Atheism and Humanism Bibliography
As we have seen, despite any objectivity that may exist in a morality grounded in well-being, our inherent inability to know the long term and far reaching effects that an action might have on well-being adds the subjective element to morality, and the reason for moral disagreement. Like it or not, morality is functionally democratic. What is considered moral is a collective reflection of human ideals and values.
It may be the case that our collective moral judgment is one that detracts from our well-being—but we just don't know it—or it may be that the moral majority is in need of an attitude change due to the suffering of an ignored minority. If there is a "moral truth" we should accept, it is that morality is a highly complex issue that cannot be encapsulated in one rule or even ten commandments.
As Humanists, we must never accept "moral truths" including mine without carefully considering the effects they may have on the well-being of all of humanity. Science can certainly inform moral decisions since, although far from perfect, well-being is a measurable construct.
We must practice empathy and anticipate how choices might affect the well-being of others. We need to think both short-term and long-term. Most importantly, we must have the wisdom and the courage to distinguish morality from obedience, and act in accordance with maximizing collective well-being to the best of our ability.