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What Is Humanism?

Years and years ago, when I was ill with a serious kidney infection and sleeping in fits and starts, I left the TV on after tuning into some cable station that had had some relaxing music on it.  As I woke up, I became aware that there was a panel discussion about humanism.  I thought at first it might be humanists speaking when one defined a humanist as “someone who doesn’t believe something just because someone tells them it’s true or they read it in a book.”

Then I became fully aware that it was an evangelical religious channel, and the person gave this definition without a hint of emotion because they assumed everyone would be horrified at it, even without emphasis.

I can’t imagine believing something just because someone tells me it’s true or I read it in a book.

Since then, I’ve taken that as a pretty good description of “humanism” in the broadest sense of it.

But my preference is for the definition by John Dietrich: “Human responsibility for human problems.”

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