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Secular Humanism

Secular humanism is that branch of Philosophy that advocates the use of Reason, Compassion, scientific inquiry, Ethics, Justice and equality in addressing issues of a worldview centred upon human beings. The term was originally coined in the 20th century to make a clear distinction from "Christian humanism".

Secular humanism is distinguished from the broader category of humanism in that the secular humanist prefers free inquiry over dogmatic wisdom—upholding the scientific method for inquiry, while rejecting revealed knowledge and theistic morality, though not necessarily faith. Secular humanism has appeal to atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, rationalists, skeptics, and materialists, as well as to some Buddhists and Confucians.

Its basic tenets may be simplified as:

* Humans have value and can solve human problems;
* Science, free speech, rational thought, democracy, and freedom in the arts go together;
* There is nothing supernatural.

__Secular humanism today__

Secular humanist organizations are found in all parts of the earth: India, China, Australia, Europe, North America, etc.

The largest humanist organisation in the world (relative to population) is Norway's Human-Etisk Forbund, which had over 69,000 members out of a population of around 4.6 million in 2004, though this is partly attributable to a unique set of Church-State relations.

In certain areas of the world, secular humanism finds itself in conflict with religious fundamentalism, especially over the issue of the separation of church and state. Secular humanists tend to see religious fundamentalists as superstitious, regressive and close minded. Fundamentalists see secular humanism as a threat to the values they say are set out in the Bible and the Qur'an.

__Modern and historical references__

The term secularism was created in 1846 by George Jacob Holyoake in order to describe "a form of opinion which concerns itself only with questions, the issues of which can be tested by the experience of this life."

The earliest use of the phrase "secular humanism" was in the Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins. In the 1961 decision, Justice Hugo Black commented in a footnote, "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others." Such footnotes, known as obiter dicta, are simply the personal observations of the judge, and hence are only incidental to reaching the opinion. It was later clarified by the court that the term does not refer to a religion.

The term was seized upon by religious fundamentalists, often to cast humanists as anti-religious.

By the 1970s the term was embraced by humanists who, although critical of religion in its various guises, were deliberately non-religious, as opposed to anti-religious, which means that it has nothing to do with spiritual, religious, or ecclesiastical doctrines, beliefs, or power structures. This understanding of secular Humanism is the most common today.

Historical, and possibly infrequent academic usage of secular Humanism, is related to the writings of pre-Socratic philosophers. These writings were lost to obscurity until Renaissance scholars rediscovered and translated them into modern language. Thus the term humanist can mean a humanities scholar (who may be hostile to Secular Humanism and The Enlightenment), Renaissance intellectuals, and those who have agreement with the pre-Socratics.

__Secular humanism manifestos__

There are now ten Humanist Manifestos and Declarations:

* http://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto1.html
* http://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto2.html
* http://www.secularhumanism.org/intro/declaration.html
* http://www.iheu.org/modules/wfsection/article.php?&articleid=281#globale...
* http://www.iheu.org/modules/wfsection/article.php?&articleid=6
* http://mhec.humanists.net/HUMNISM.HTM
* http://www.secularhumanism.org/manifesto/index.htm
* http://www.secularhumanism.org/intro/affirmations.html
* http://humaniststudies.org/humphil.html
* http://www.americanhumanist.org/3/HumandItsAspirations.htmNike React Element 87