- Religious humanism
Humanism as it was conceived in the early 20th century rejected revealed knowledge,
theism-based morality and the supernatural. Yet most of the founders of the humanist philosophical movement envisioned it as a religion, with the functions, ceremonies, and moral guidance that 'supposedly revealed' religions traditionally provided. In the late 20th century the humanist movement came into conflict with conservative Christiangroups in the United States and " Secular Humanism" became the most visible element of organized humanism.
Cult of Reason( _fr. Culte de la Raison) was a religion based on atheismdevised during the French Revolutionby Jacques Hébert, Pierre Gaspard Chaumetteand their supporters. [cite web | title=War, Terror, and Resistance | url=http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/chap7c.html | accessdate=October 31 | accessyear=2006 ]
In 1793 during the
French Revolution, the cathedral Notre Dame de Pariswas turned into a "Temple to Reason" and many of its treasures were destroyed or stolen. Several sculptures were smashed and destroyed, and for a time Lady Libertyreplaced the Virgin Mary on several altars.
In the 1850s,
Auguste Comte, the Father of Sociology, founded Positivism, a "religion of humanity". [cite web | title=Humanism as the Next Step | url=http://www.americanhumanist.org/publications/morain/chapter-8.html | accessdate=June 25 | accessyear=2006 ] Auguste Comte was a student and secretary for Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon, the Father of French Socialism. Auguste Comte coined the term "altruism".
Humanistic Religious Association
One of the earliest forerunners of contemporary chartered humanist organizations was the Humanistic Religious Association formed in 1853 in London. [cite web | title=Humanism as the Next Step | url=http://www.americanhumanist.org/publications/morain/chapter-8.html | accessdate=June 25 | accessyear=2006 ] This early group was democratically organized, with male and female members participating in the election of the leadership and promoted knowledge of the sciences, philosophy, and the arts.
Ethical Culturemovement was founded in 1876. The movement's founder, Felix Adler, a former member of the Free Religious Association, conceived of Ethical Culture as a new religion that would strip away the accumulated unscientific dogmas of traditional religions while retaining and elevating the ethical message at the heart of all religions. Adler believed that traditional religions would ultimately prove to be incompatible with a scientific worldview. He felt that the vital aspects of religion should not be allowed to fall by the wayside. Religions provided vital functions in encouraging good works. And religions taught important truths about the world, albeit these truths were expressed through metaphors that were not always suited to modern understandings of the world. For example, monotheistic religions were based on a metaphor of an authoritarian monarchy, whereas democratic relationships were now understood to be the ideal.
Initially, Ethical Culture involved little in the way of ceremony and ritual. Rather, Ethical Culture was religious in the sense of playing a defining role in people's lives and addressing issues of ultimate concern. Some Ethical Societies have subsequently added a degree of
ritualas a means of marking special times or providing a tangible reminder of humanistic ideals.
American Religious Humanism
Before the term "humanism" was ever coined or even thought of being integrated into religion it had existed in America in at least an idealogical sense for a very long time. Groups like the
Free Religious Association(FRA) which was formed in 1867 and other less radical groups mainly consisting of extreme forms of early American Protestantssuch as the Unitariansand Quakershad existed from the very first landings of the Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. In 1915, a Positivist defined the term "humanism" in a magazine for the British Ethical Societies. Another Unitarian Minister John H. Dietrichread the magazine and adopted the term to describe his own religion. [cite web | title=Humanism as the Next Step | url=http://www.americanhumanist.org/publications/morain/chapter-8.html | accessdate=June 25 | accessyear=2006 ] Dietrich is considered by some to be the "Father of Religious Humanism" (Olds 1996).
Charles Francis Potterfounded the First Humanist Society of New Yorkwhose advisory board included Julian Huxley, John Dewey, Albert Einsteinand Thomas Mann. Potter was a minister from the Unitarian tradition and in 1930 he and his wife, Clara Cook Potter, published "". Throughout the 1930s Potter was a well known advocate of women’s rights, access to birth control, "civil divorce laws", and an end to capital punishment.
A Humanist Manifesto, also known as
Humanist Manifesto Ito distinguish it from later Humanist Manifestos, was written in 1933 primarily by Raymond Braggand was published with thirty-four signatories. Unlike the later ones, the first manifesto talked of a new " religion", and referred to humanism as a religious movement meant to transcend and replace previous, deity-based religions. However, it is careful not to outline a creedor dogma. The document outlines a fifteen-point belief system, which, in addition to a secular outlook, opposes "acquisitive and profit-motivated society" and outlines a worldwide egalitarian society based on voluntary mutual cooperation.
Fellowship of Humanitywas founded in 1935 by Reverend A. D. Faupel as one of a handful of "humanist churches" seeded in the early 20th century as part of the American Religious Humanism movement. It was the only such organization to survive into the 21st century and is the first and oldest affiliate of the American Humanist Association. [cite web | title=Genesis of a Humanist Manifesto | url=http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/edwin_wilson/manifesto/ch2.html | accessmonthday=May 14 | accessyear=2006 ]
In 1961, Webster's Third New International Unabridged Dictionary defined religious humanism as "A modern American movement composed chiefly of nontheistic humanists and humanist churches and dedicated to acheiving the ethical goals of religion without beliefs and rites resting upon superstition."
American Religious Humanist organizations that have survived into the 21st century include the HUUmanists, formerly the Friends of Religious Humanism, and the Humanist Society, formerly the Humanist Society of Friends.
Religious humanism is distinguished from
Jewish humanism, Christian humanism, Muslim humanism, existentialist humanism, and secular humanism.cite book |last=Murry |first=William |title=Reason and Reverence: Religious Humanism for the 21st Century |year=2007 |publisher=Skinner House Books |location=Boston |id=ISBN 1-55896-518-1 | chapter=Why I Am a Religious Humanist | pages=p1 ]
In the past, humanist versions of major religions, such as
Christian humanismand Humanistic Judaismhave arisen. In addition, many Dharmic religions like Hinduism, Buddhismand other Asian religions and belief systems like Confucianism, that focus on human nature and action more than theology, were always primarily humanistic. Currently, however, humanism is dominated almost exclusively by secular humanism. This has given rise to a newer version of humanist religions which are similar in philosophy to secular humanism. Secular humanists and revealed religious humanists primarily differ in their definition of religionand their positions on supernatural beliefs. They can also diverge in practice since religious humanists endorse religious ceremonies, rituals, and rites.
Christian Existential Humanism, related to the work of the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, features a humanist perspective grounded in Christian religious belief; where humanity is something to be celebrated, but not as a replacement for the divine.
The humanist approach to Buddhism shares the fundamental principle of analysing and evaluating the tradition according to natural, human values, but the particular interpretations and results various Buddhist humanists come up with will naturally vary. Most Buddhist groups are more or less humanistic anyway, but there is also a particular modern Chinese Buddhist organisation that calls itself 'Humanistic Buddhism'.
The teachings of the modern Chinese Buddhist thought of
Humanistic Buddhismencompass all of the Buddhist teachings from the time of Gautama Buddhato the present. The goal of Humanistic Buddhism is the bodhisattvaway, which means to be an energetic, enlightened, and endearing person who strives to help all sentient beings liberate themselves. Humanistic Buddhism focuses more on issues of the world rather than on how to leave the world behind; on caring for the living, rather than the dead; on benefiting others, rather than benefiting oneself; and on universal salvation, rather than salvation for only oneself. [cite book|title=Humanistic Buddhism for Social Well-Being: An Overview of Grand Master Hsing Yun's Interpretation|Author= Ananda Wp Guruge|first=Ananda Wp|last=Guruge|Year= 2003|Publisher=Buddha's Light Publishing|id=ISBN 0971749523]
Other Buddhist scholars are exploring a humanist method of analysis and evaluation of the Buddha's teachings based exclusively on the pre-sectarian early texts, which were probably mainly composed pre-300BCE. The focus of this form of humanistic Buddhism is analysis of the implicit authority theories contained in the different stages of evolution of Buddhist tradition, and critiquing the misunderstanding and misuse of religious 'authority' to justify abuse of individuals. It also re-emphasises value-pluralism, which is a humanistic way of reasoning about ethics.
Many medieval Muslim thinkers pursued
humanistic, rational and scientific discourses in their search for knowledge, meaning and values. A wide range of Islamic writings on love poetry, historyand philosophical theologyshow that medieval Islamic thought was open to the humanistic ideas of individualism, occasional secularism, skepticismand liberalism. [Lenn Evan Goodman (2003), "Islamic Humanism", p. 155, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195135806.] Certain aspects of Renaissance humanismhas its roots in the medieval Islamic world, including the "art of "dictation", called in Latin, " ars dictaminis","and "the humanist attitude toward classical language."citation|last=Makdisi|first=George|title=Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West|journal=Journal of the American Oriental Society|volume=109|issue=2|date=April-June 1989|pages=175-182]
Fellowship of Reason
Sea of Faith
* [http://humanist-society.org/ Humanist Society]
* [http://www.huumanists.org/ HUUmanists]
* [http://aeu.org American Ethical Union]
* [http://www.spiritualhumanism.org Church of Spiritual Humanism]
* [http://www.spiritualhumanismforum.com Spiritual Humanism Forum]
* [http://www.HumanistHall.net/ Fellowship of Humanity]
* [http://www.HumanistFellowship.org Humanist Fellowship]
* [http://www.HumanLight.org HumanLight]
* [http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Humanism/Religious_Humanism/ Religious Humanism at the Open Directory Project]
* [http://kitoba.com/pedia/Christian%20Existential%20Humanism.html Why Christian Existential Humanism?]
* [http://www.templeofearth.com The Temple of Earth]
* [http://www.huumanists.org/rh/ Religious Humanism: The Journal of the HUUmanists]
* [http://www.humanismtoday.org/vol12/hoertdoerfer.html Religious Humanism: The Past We Inherit; The Future We Create]
* [http://www.sofn.org.uk/Conferences/religious%20humanism.htm What on Earth is religious humanism?]
* [http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1874 Theism and Religious Humanism: The Chasm Narrows]
* [http://www.croftpress.com/david/religion/sermons/2003-09-16/ The Founding of the Humanist Church and the History of Religious Humanism]
* [http://transfigurism.org Mormon Transhumanist Association]
* [http://www.americanhumanist.org/humanism/whatis.php/ What Is Humanism?]
* [http://www.thinkhumanism.com/ ThinkHumanism]
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