Declaration of Modern Humanism

Humanist beliefs and values are as old as civilisation and have a history in most societies around the world. Modern humanism is the culmination of these long traditions of reasoning about meaning and ethics, the source of inspiration for many of the world’s great thinkers, artists and humanitarians, and is interwoven with the rise of modern science.

As a global humanist movement, we seek to make all people aware of these essentials of the humanist worldview:

Humanists strive to be ethical

We accept that morality is inherent to the human condition, grounded in the ability of living things to suffer and flourish, motivated by the benefits of helping and not harming, enabled by reason and compassion, and needing no source outside of humanity.

We affirm the worth and dignity of the individual and the right of every human to the greatest possible freedom and fullest possible development compatible with the rights of others. To these ends we support peace, democracy, the rule of law, and universal legal human rights.

We reject all forms of racism and prejudice and the injustices that arise from them. We seek instead to promote the flourishing and fellowship of humanity in all its diversity and individuality.

We hold that personal liberty must be combined with a responsibility to society. A free person has duties to others, and we feel a duty of care to all humanity, including future generations, and beyond this to all sentient beings.

We recognise that we are part of nature and accept our responsibility for the impact we have on the rest of the natural world.

Humanists strive to be rational

We are convinced that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human reason, and action. We advocate the application of science and free enquiry to these problems, remembering that while science provides the means, human values must define the ends. We seek to use science and technology to enhance human well-being, and never callously or destructively.

Humanists strive for fulfilment in their lives

We value all sources of individual joy and fulfilment that harm no other, and we believe that personal development through the cultivation of creative and ethical living is a lifelong undertaking.

We therefore treasure artistic creativity and imagination and recognise the transforming power of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts. We the cherish beauty of the natural world and its potential to bring wonder, awe and tranquillity. We appreciate individual and communal exertion in physical activity, and the scope it offers for comradeship and achievement. We esteem the quest for knowledge, and the humility, wisdom and insight it bestows.

Humanism meets the widespread demand for a source of meaning and purpose to stand as an alternative to dogmatic religion, authoritarian nationalism, tribal sectarianism and selfish nihilism

Though we believe that a commitment to human well-being is ageless, our particular opinions are not based on revelations fixed for all time. Humanists recognise that no one is infallible or omniscient, and that knowledge of the world and of humankind can be won only through a continuing process of observation, learning and rethinking.

For these reasons, we seek neither to avoid scrutiny nor to impose our view on humanity. On the contrary, we are committed to the unfettered expression and exchange of ideas, and seek to cooperate with people of different beliefs who share our values, all in the cause of building a better world.

We are confident that humanity has the potential to solve the problems that confront us, through free enquiry, science, sympathy and imagination in the furtherance of peace and human flourishing.

We call upon all who share these convictions to join us in this inspiring endeavour.

Agreed at the General Assembly, Glasgow, 2022

Humanists International

With thanks to Sarah Bakewell, author of Humanly Possible, published by Chatto & Windus, London, 2023, pp. 371-3.

error: Content is protected !!