Practical Values for Living
‘Humanism is about the world, not about humanism’, wrote one of the founders of modern humanism, Harold Blackham, in 1968, emphasising its capacity to look outwards. In many countries, humanism supports secular, non-traditional values and developments that help to improve lives, for example human rights, the education of girls and family planning.
Some of the things that humanists value include reason, education, personal autonomy and equality of opportunity. Like most other people, they value honesty, kindness, love, friendship and families, but unlike some, they are often very accepting of non-traditional families. A humanist would think it worthwhile to debunk harmful beliefs or superstitions, as humanists do in India, for example, or to fight discrimination against minorities or gay people, as they have done in many places. These general models of “worth” are exemplified in the lives of individual humanists, some of whom have been very distinguished in their fields and can be read about on various humanist websites. Humanists are just as likely to work in the “caring professions” or to do voluntary work or give to charity as religious believers.