"Humanism is a dynamic and religion-free way of life that affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical and meaningful lives, aspiring to the greater good of humanity. Humanists are guided by reason and scientific inquiry, inspired by music and art, and motivated by ethics, compassion and fairness". Humanist Association of Canada (HAC)
"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. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality."
- IHEU Minimum Definition of Humanism:
- To promote education, understanding and development of the principles of Humanism
- To defend and promote policies and practices consistent with these principles
- To provide opportunities for Humanist service, study and socializing
- To lend assistance to other organizations when their objectives coincide with ours
- To offer and provide members and non-members with meaningful, dignified ceremonies, free of supernatural implications, at significant times such as marriage and death. HAT Constitution: Section 3 - Declaration of Principles(i) Freedom of Inquiry: Every individual should be free to inquire into any and all areas of thought, to explore, to challenge, question or doubt. Without freedom of inquiry, we lose the ability to improve the human condition.
(ii) The Use of Reason: Reason provides a common standard against which we can test our perceptions. Without reason there is no valid tool for making judgments.
(iii) Knowledge: The only thing that can be called knowledge is that which is firmly grounded in human understanding and empirical verification. Without human comprehension and verification we lose our connection with the natural world around us.
(iv) Creativity: Human creativity is essential to the ability to solve problems, expand knowledge, and fulfill our cultural needs.
(v) Fallibility: Human knowledge and human ethics have changed over time and will continue to change. Without acknowledging fallibility we risk descent into dogma.
(vi) The Natural World: The physical world is the world in which our ethics must operate, rather than in any imagined Utopian societies or afterlife. Because the physical world is the only one of which we have empirical knowledge, it is irrational to sacrifice benefits in this world for supposed gains in imaginary ones.
(vii) Human Ethics: Ethical decisions should be made in the context of real people, real situations, real human needs and aspirations and the consideration of real consequences. Humanism combines personal liberty with social responsibility. It affirms the dignity of every person, the right of the individual to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others, and the need for community. Without this context we risk the worst excesses of ideology.