Beliefs and Society

The impact of humanist beliefs on people’s lives may be considerable and life-changing or relatively uncomplicated, depending on family and social background. To be a humanist in a very traditional family or a society where atheism or agnosticism is not understood or tolerated will be hard or even dangerous, as it once was in Europe. A humanist who has once been a devout believer may feel alienated from family and community and rather isolated. In some societies (e.g. the USA), atheists, agnostics and humanists can be distrusted and discriminated against in various ways.

Others find that their humanist beliefs are acknowledged and respected, even widely shared, and that “open” societies can be as accepting of Humanism as they are of religions. A humanist society would put more stress on personal autonomy and responsibility than on tradition.

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