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Humanism is an attitude to life and to living.
Humanists see no plausible or acceptable reason for believing in a creator god, nor in any kind of omniscient, omnipotent deity or supernatural force which may affect, influence or help our individual or collective lives.
Humanists wish to live in an open, just and caring society, where human rights and human dignity are respected. As humanists, we don't all agree about everything, but we do share basic values and ideals.
As humanists, we expect to live just this one life - the corollary of this is that there is no afterlife and no god.
Since we believe that this is the only life we have, we try to make it as good as possible for everyone. This includes accepting responsibility for those yet to be born. We consider it our duty to help others wherever and whenever we can. We accept that giving such help is not always possible, and indeed not always wanted by some people.
As humanists we believe strongly in life, but we believe even more strongly in the quality of that life. Therefore a person whose quality of life is poor through terminal illness or extreme mental or physical disability, and who wishes to die because they feel that their life is no longer worth living, should, we believe, be allowed to die, possibly being assisted in the process of dying. We accept that such assistance is illegal in this country, but still believe in the desirability of that assistance.
We consider that we are responsible for our own actions, responsible for the kind of world we live in, responsible for conserving the earth's resources and responsible for nurturing the next generation. We find morality in human nature and in human concern for each other, rather than in a divine authority. This means that we do not look to a supernatural being for answers to the problems of living.
We believe that we should help our children to grow up as loving, well-behaved, good and helpful people.
We do these things because being good people, being good to ourselves and to others, is intrinsically the right thing to do. We do not do them because a holy book tells us that a deity says it is the right thing to do.
We believe in looking seriously at the problems of life and considering them in a rational way, but we also find fun and happiness in the joys of living, in enjoying the company of family and friends, and in meeting new people. We regard love and friendship as the greatest sources of human happiness.
We turn to our fellow men and women, to our family and friends for support in times of trouble, hoping to solve our problems together. We also use our own internal strength to solve our problems for ourselves. We acknowledge that many people gain great emotional support and solace from their animal pets and from their deity.
We deplore prejudice and discrimination, on whatever grounds - gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or ability/disability - although most of us acknowledge that, as human beings, we can be subject to these failings ourselves. We fight such prejudice within ourselves where we recognise it. We hate all wanton cruelty and violence and try at all times to avoid them ourselves. However, many of us acknowledge that there can be occasions when violence may be necessary for the greater good.
A lack of religious belief does not make a person a humanist: Humanism is a step beyond atheism. A person can easily be both atheist and secular without being a humanist: Humanism requires the positive desire to help others, to improve the quality of life for others, and the ability to accept that there are people who do have a religious belief, without insulting that belief or that person for their belief.
See also our Constitution
To find out more about Humanism and the Birmingham Humanists group, come along to one of our meetings - there is information about these in the Events calendar.
For more information about humanist beliefs, visit the website of the British Humanist Association at www.humanism.org.uk.
This page was up to date on 20/05/2014.