Main Characteristics Of Humanism (Essay Sample)

Humanism is a progressive view of the world that attaches primary importance to humans as the foundation and source of value for human beings as opposed to the belief in supernatural powers. The social philosophy dates its existence from 1400-1650 in Western countries where a secular outlook of human experience gained prominence, due to the belief of the ability to control various aspects of individual’s experiences over the traditional supernaturalism. Various features characterize Humanism’s worldview.

First, Humanism believes in the concept of naturalistic attitude toward the universe. The outlook holds that nature exists because of life, which is an ever altering system powered by matter and energy that exists freely from any mind or perception. It contends that science together with human reasoning forms the basis of interpretation of reality and evolution into the present existing world. The concept also considers fairytale attitudes held by Christians about the existence of a supernatural being recognized for the foundation of nature and everything else in it. According to them, there are no gods hence, entertains notions that God does not exist, nor is there an idea of the existence of God.

Second, Humanists believe in rationalism. Rationalism follows the beliefs that only scientific evidence makes a concept acceptable and accurate. According to them, the world is responsive to a rational investigation whereby individuals in society learn various aspects of the world by applying reasoning and scientific methods, evidence, and speculation. Rationalism embodied knowledge accessible and tested with authority, as opposed to following traditions that to them are rationally unsound or devoid of scientific proof.

Third, Humanist rely on ethics and morality grounded on human values. The philosophy rejects the notion that external powers instilled aspects such as love and respect, and instead establishes that the determination of human values originates from individuals’ experiences and relationships made on earth. Therefore, the moral sphere in their belief develops from the needs and desires people share, interactions and actions people take against others. Religious concepts of fate and predestination are according to them unfounded. Thus, individuals utilize their reasoning, social dynamics, and interactions to propel and evolve their values, beliefs and moral standards in pursuit of happiness, freedom, and progress.

Fourth, Humanism asserts the human ability and responsibility. Human ability is the central propelling force to the Humanist philosophy. Humans, in their view, can change all things in life. Since they are not victims of supernatural beings, they possess power, knowledge, will, and potential of solving their problems. Humans utilize actions, general discussions and scientific evidence to sustain their moral responsibility to make things better.

Fifth is the feature of contrast. Humanism believes in adopting divergence views from other people. According to them, the foundation of building their identities is on being nontheistic, which comprises of concepts of atheism, agnostics, and deists. Humanists believe since the belief in God is outstanding, holding alternative beliefs that determine their unique identities, resulting in happy, joyful and fulfilled lives.

Humanism goal is a life of personal fulfillment. The idea that supernatural power does not exist and the subsequent afterlife, means individuals have one life to live. Therefore, Humanists embrace this and live by making the best through achieving self-fulfilling goals, serving oneself, celebrating, traveling and making all dreams come true. The aim is not to waste time and life with a notion that an afterlife may exist that one can further embrace life but enjoy the present to the fullest.

Humanism philosophy diverts from the everyday reality of belief in a supernatural being associated with Christians. It does so by popularizing the concept of humankind characterized by naturalism, rationalism, contrast, ethics grounded in human values, and strive for personal fulfillment.

related articles