President's Welcome 2016

Humanism is a richly varied philosophy, and each Humanist has their own unique perspective. In this respect we are no different from any other human beings. One way we do differ, though, is that we accept our humanity in both its limitations and its potentials. As far as we can tell, there are no gods to help us. Human ingenuity, curiosity, learning and goodwill are all we have to work with. Humanists base their judgments in honest examination of shared human experience. Humanism respects the free individual, accountable to society - dependent on the natural world, yet also responsible for it.

The path of Humanism can be traced through the millennium of ancient Greek thought from Thales to Hypatia, as well as parts of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese and Indian thought. Indigenous hunter-gatherers tuned to their environment, their bodies, their companions and their human needs, also epitomise the Humanist approach. But as a distinctive movement, Humanism has its roots in the conscious individualism of the early Renaissance, and its flowering in the freedom, civility and enterprise of the modern Enlightenment.

Some faces of the history of secular moral values

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Protagoras
Protagoras
490 BCE
Hypatia
Hypatia
350
Erasmus
Erasmus
1466
Copernicus
Copernicus
1473
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
1561
Galileo
Galileo
1564
John Locke
John Locke
1632
Voltaire
Voltaire
1694
David Hume
David Hume
1711
Adam Smith
Adam Smith
1723
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
1724
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
1745
Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham
1748
Mary Wollstonecraft, the title of her book back in the 1780s is still current today!
Mary Wollstonecraft
1759
Sophie Condorcet, wife of French philosophe Marquis de Condorcet, a leading Parisian lady who hosted salons for the philosophes hammering out what we know as Enlightenment values today
Sophie Condorcet
1764
Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
1809
Thomas Huxley
Thomas Huxley
1825
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
1872
Karl Popper
Karl Popper
1902
Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
1941
AC Grayling
AC Grayling
1949
Defending the tolerant secular state
Promote the free open society
Promote the values of the Enlightenment
Promote the scientific world view
Promote general and scientific literacy
Support evidence based policies
Promote social equity

The Humanist Society promotes a non-religious non-supernatural world view and supports a number of issues which certain (fundamentalist) religious interests and prominent pro-active individuals with deep religious convictions oppose including abortion law, drug law, euthanasia law reforms and unaccountable allocation of public monies to religious organisations. These religious interests illegitimately want to compel certain values in the public space when society as a whole wishes to be rid of those restrictions. It is part of the movement which argues that the state and religion should remain separate. More...

 

While we appreciate the struggles of our ancestors, their architecture and their craftsmanship, we feel that humanity got lost in the savagery of the Dark Ages, and the superstition of the Middle Ages. But the rise of Renaissance 'Humanitas' allowed the fullest development of human virtues - both modern human qualities like understanding, benevolence, compassion, and mercy and traditional character traits like fortitude, judgment, prudence, eloquence, and honour. Human art and science flourished again.

Then, after the bloody distractions of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation had run their course, Enlightenment values of human rights, rule of law, equality, scientific inquiry, aesthetics, cosmopolitanism, transparency, civility, optimism, and inclusion laid the basis of the modern Humanist project.

Despite these 'western' origins, Humanists also welcome the contributions of diverse communities and cultures from around the world, where these make humanity central in their customs and valuations.(read more here).   More... (updated article Sep 2016)

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John Bell AHOY 2016

John Bell

Actor

Australian Humanist of the Year 2016

List of previous AHOYs

 


Humanist achiever's awards
These are given to members who may not be well known in the wider world who have made significant contributions to the Humanist movement in Australia

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