What is Humanism?

Humanists make sense of the world according to reason, experience, and shared human values. We aim to make the best of this life because it is the only life that we have. Humanists do not resort to supernatural or superstitious thinking in making sense of the world.

We support the rights of others to live lives of their own choosing, so long as they do not harm anyone else. We think non-human animals should be treated with respect because they can suffer too. However, the most important thing in life is to increase the general happiness and well-being of humanity.

Humanists believe that morality stems from human nature rather than some supernatural source. However this does not make us relativists or lacking in moral principles. The moral principles we adhere to will be very general such as the golden rule ‘Do as you would be done by’ or ‘Do not cause unnecessary suffering’. We look at the consequences of our actions when working out what to do rather than a religious authority.

We campaign against religious privilege, discrimination and persecution against those with the ‘wrong’ religious belief, or no religious belief at all. We do not burn books (or people), threaten eternal damnation, or take offence at cartoons.

For more information on Humanism see the Humanists UK website.

Are you a Humanist?

Take this short quiz to test whether you are a Humanist…

1: Does God exist?
  1. I am sure there is a God ruling over the universe.
  2. It depends what you mean by God, but I think so.
  3. I don’t know.
  4. There is no evidence that any ‘God’ exists, so I’ll assume that there isn’t one.
2: When I die…
  1. My soul will go to another place where I will be rewarded if I was good and punished if I was bad.
  2. I will survive in some kind of afterlife.
  3. That will be the end of me.
  4. I will live on in people’s memories or because of the work I have done or through my children.
3: How did the Universe begin?
  1. God created it.
  2. It was set up as an experiment by extremely intelligent aliens from another universe, who drop in every now and then to see how we’ re doing.
  3. I don’t know.
  4. The scientific explanations are the best ones available – no gods were involved.
4: The theory that life on Earth evolved gradually over billions of years is…
  1. Just a theory. My religion tells the true story.
  2. Likely to be true, but I think God had a part in it too.
  3. Probably true, because my Science teacher said it was true.
  4. True – there is plenty of evidence from fossils showing that this is how it happened.
5: When I look at a beautiful view I think that..
  1. It must have been designed by God.
  2. It would be a nice place for a motorway.
  3. This is what life is all about – I feel good.
  4. We ought to do everything possible to protect this for future generations.
6: I can tell right from wrong by…
  1. Reading a holy book or listening to a religious leader.
  2. I don’ t really think about it much – people should just do as they like.
  3. Accepting what my parents and teachers say.
  4. Thinking hard about the probable consequences of actions and their effects on other people.
7: It’s best to be honest because…
  1. A) my religion tells me so.
  2. It’s usually against the law or the rules to be dishonest.
  3. People respect you more if you’ re trustworthy.
  4. I’m happier and feel better about myself if I’m honest.
8: Other people matter and should be treated with respect because…
  1. God created us all in his image.
  2. They are useful to me.
  3. They are people with feelings like mine.
  4. We will all be happier if we treat each other well.
9: Animals should be treated…
  1. With respect because they are part of God’ s creation.
  2. However we see fit – they don’ t have souls and were created for us to use.
  3. Kindly because they are sweet and fluffy and nicer than people.
  4. With respect because they can suffer too.
10: The most important thing in life is…
  1. To have a good relationship with God.
  2. To make lots of money.
  3. To preserve the planet for future generations.
  4. To increase the general happiness and welfare of humanity.
Interpreting your answers

This is a more or less serious set of questions designed to help you think about whether you are committed to a religious view of the world, and how this affects your moral beliefs. However, many people have a fairly mixed collection of beliefs, and few are completely consistent, so it is possible that none of the profiles below truly reflects your world view. But they do give an indication of what most humanists believe – and don’t believe.

All or mostly As: You definitely have a religious faith and Humanism is not for you, though you may agree with humanists on some issues, especially if you also collected a few Cs or Ds.

All or mostly Bs: You may have some religious beliefs, or you might still be exploring ideas and not yet made up your mind. Some of your choices are not very ethical – so you’re unlikely to be a humanist!

All or mostly Cs: Your answers are fairly neutral, perhaps a bit dependent on authority or other people or pure emotion. Humanists try to think, and to think for themselves. You may be an agnostic or a humanist or vaguely religious, depending on what your other answers were.

All or mostly Ds: You are a humanist or very close to humanist thinking. Many people are, often without even knowing it! Humanists don’t agree about everything, and you may have collected some other answers too, though if they include As and Bs you’re unlikely to be a humanist.

If you think you are a Humanist we need your support, in campaigns against religious privilege for example, even if its just moral support! Please express your support by joining the Cardiff Humanists group and/or Humanists UK. Thank you.